I am tired of my mop heads blooming so late with so few

(Zone 4b)

We have "Blushing Bride" and another unnamed "Endless Summer" hydrangea.

For a year or two we were getting a wonderful display of flowers but the past couple of seasons they have been sparse.

I think it is mostly due to the fact that old wood gets killed because of the cold winters we have experienced lately and so we wait for the new growth to put out blooms.

Are there any new varieties of macrophylla that are hardier or at the least bloom sooner on new wood? (Smaller size would be great as well).

(I love my 'Bobo' (hydrangea paniculata) as it blooms only on new wood before mid July)

Hobart, IN

'Endless Summer' is supposed to bloom on new wood as well. Mine got killed back to the snow line this winter so I am waiting for it to regrow before expecting any blooms. That one sometimes needs some "encouragement" from a dose of phosphorus. After this past nasty winter, I'm considering some burlap cages next winter.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Not so far, apparently making them bloom hardy is quite difficult. The rebloomers are what I would consider "root" hardy to Zones 4-5.

ES originally was advertised as good on Zone 4 when released for sale but many people complained of no blooms in Z4-5 until July-ish. I think the only way to "get" blooms from rebloomers' old wood is by adding winter protection. Climbing hydrangea, paniculatas and arborescens would be the ones I would plant in Z4. Then I would sprinkle Mac rebloomers: the Endless Summer Series, Forever & Ever Series, the smaller Let's Dance Series (but ck the zones as most again are advertised as Z5), etc. and add hardy rhodies to make sure I get earlier blooms.

Note: you could add some early flowering paniculatas like Quick Fire and Pinky Winky but their blooms start white and fade to shades of pink instead of starting pink/blue. Invincibelle Spirit and Bella Anna are arborescens whose blooms start a shade of pink, fade to other shades of pink, then a sandy color and brown.

(Zone 4b)

Quote from luis_pr :
ES originally was advertised as good on Zone 4 when released for sale but many people complained of no blooms in Z4-5 until July-ish. [/quote]

July-ish?! There would be no complaint from me if that were the timeline in my area.


Quote from luis_pr :
think the only way to "get" blooms from rebloomers' old wood is by adding winter protection.


That may well be the case but with so many things to do at the end of season and given their size and shape it wont get done. (But maybe I should wrap one of my two as an experiment).

[quote="luis_pr"]Note: you could add some early flowering paniculatas like Quick Fire


I love QF and have one. But I really want an early blooming mophead. (What about the Everlasting series of hydrangeas...do we know if they are superior to ES? http://www.plantsnouveau.com/plant/everlasting-hydrangeas/)



Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

I hear you about the winter protection. It is a pain. I do no protection whatsoever here and I understand that I will have to suffer from lack of bloomage sometimes. This year for example.

I have heard that the Everlasting Series have a good selection but they appear limited to mail order as I have yet to find them locally anywhere, big or small plant nurseries. An acquantance has Harmony, Opal and Revolution. No complaints but most originated in Europe for the cut flower industry so that always worries me from a winter hardiness perspective. However, like I said, no one has posted complaints so all I can say is no one seems to be complaining and they may be ok to try.

Have you checked out H. Mac Bloomstruck? It has the usual hardiness. Its claim to fame is that you can end up with blooms of different colors. Not quite sure I understand how that would occur if you keep the soil around the plant at the same pH so it must somehow be very sensitive to minute differences in soil pH (how would one ever do that as a wholesaler???)

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

I wrapped my Forever & Ever hydrangea in layers of burlap all around and over the top and it was buried in snow all winter in my zone 5. All the branches died and growth is only from the bottom this year. I deliberately waited until May 31 for signs of life on the branches but no luck so I pruned them out.



Hobart, IN

My 'Annabelle', 'Blue Billow' and 'Limelight' all did pretty well but 'ES' and oak hydrangea 'Snow Queen' suffered a lot.

(Zone 4b)

So here is our "Endless Summer" as of today.

It is 4 foot by 4 foot with 4 blooms in total :(

Not enough bang for the buck.

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Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Get rid of it and plant a hardier type of hydrangea for your zone. No reason in being disappointed every year...

(Zone 4b)

I agree hcmcdole and there are so many that would work and do work but none that are colorful macrophylla. The years that it does work kind of tides us over for the lean years ;).

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

All (or most) macrophylla were hit hard this winter even in the southern states. Oh well, next year...

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I hedged my bets by waiting until desperate retailers reduced the price on 'Endless Summer' to $6 from $26. I bought two. One did not make it through the winter, but the other did and has a few blooms.

My oakleafs, after two winters, have finally put on some size (but not much) and look healthy. I have two Snow Queens and a Snowflake. It's weird. When I was in Lake County with full blasting sun my oakleafs and Endless Summer did much better. I put soaker hoses around them but they were on the south side of my property and did well in as much as 90 degree heat. By June they were outrageous!

Now I have them in more shade with better soil (the clay based alkaline soil of the plantings in these pictures was only amended once) and they sort of putter along.

Bummer. I should have dug them up and taken them with me!

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Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Very nice looking hydrangeas there. Yes, oak leaves do very well in sun and also the paniculatas. My oak leaves are still young but they have really put some size on in 1 to 3 years. My Snow Queen with bloom head is around 9 feet tall. My Snowflake is small but such beautiful spires. Ellen Huff is probably one of the best bloomers for me. Ruby Slippers is a stunner and Little Honey is exactly that - small but a honey of a plant. Alice so far is disappointing, Munchkin is very small and the bloom heads I was not impressed with (first year to bloom after planting last year). Hopefully in a few more years mine will get some size on them.

Little Honey, Ruby Slippers, Snowflake, Ellen Huff, Snow Queen

This message was edited Jul 24, 2014 8:33 AM

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I was surprised when I read Michael Dirr's book that the oakleafs do so beautifully in Georgia, I think in shade?

I purchased a snowflake for my new home in 2012. It surprised me by blooming as a small plant; then it took last year off. It is just starting to put on some size. Up north we are often sold other hydrangeas that people claim are Snowflake. I got what I think is an Alice that way, and it was quite nice, but not Snowflake. It is my favorite hydrangea of any kind. You have a wonderful collection! Ellen Huff is new to me.

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Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Snowflake was found somewhere in AL and no other double blooming oakleaf has been discovered. Amazing... They (whoever they are) say to buy Snowflake in bloom so you know you have the genuine article.

Oakleaf does good in sun here as well. I have mine in partial shade/sun.

Here are some in full sun at a church in our county seat (first 3)

fourth one is probably Harmony at Wilkerson Mill (June 2011)

fifth one is Snowflake at Wilkerson Mill



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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh my goodness! What incredible oakleafs.

I forgot to mention that I think one of the reasons my original ES bloomed so well was that it was next to a wall, and I kept a soaker hose around the base and watered it every week. Forgive the mess in the second picture - it shows the location well - which was south. And I burlapped it in winter. The effect was probably that of raising it's zone from 5a to at least 6a, especially with all that brick. I got this despite deadheading it in the spring

Also, it was a gift from the marvelous young man who built my hardscaping. He was only 26, but he wanted to be independent and this was his first major project after working for others. He ran over schedule and felt badly, and this was his thank you.

As you can see from the first pic, in September, it was quite big. I took good care of it, but it made me think ES is a piece of cake to grow, and it really isn't.

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Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Very nice ES! The young guy did a great job by giving you this gift. Our landscaper was so bad (never kept his word on when he would show up next) we fired him and then he sued us...

My ES must be in the wrong place - it hasn't done much in 3 years. I think the giant trees are just taking too much water... At least Blushing Bride did well last year, Lady in Red and an old blue one that I have no ID for in the same bed, Lilacina, Penny Mac, and Wedding Gown (a small plant to begin with but bloomed nicely after a year). Oh well, next year?

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, wow! talk about nice hydrangeas. Georgia looks like the sweet spot for those plants. And the lovely blue you get in your presumably acid soil. Who needs ES when when they have hydrangeas like yours?

Thank you for sharing your gorgeous pictures!

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Some years they are great, this year not so hot... Maybe next year.

(Zone 4b)

Quote from toni5735 :
I wrapped my Forever & Ever hydrangea in layers of burlap all around and over the top and it was buried in snow all winter in my zone 5.[/quote]

I have already removed a 5 year old ES due to lack of blooms the last several years. But my partner agreed to the removal provided I keep and for the first time, winter protect the remaining mop head "Blushing Bride.

In the picture I took this past week it is about 4 feet by 4 feet. How does one burlap this hydrangea? If one completely encases it in burlap then the weight of the snow will for sure break many of the old wood branches thereby defeating the purpose of protection.

[quote="toni5735"] All the branches died and growth is only from the bottom this year. I deliberately waited until May 31 for signs of life on the branches but no luck so I pruned them out.


And still with your burlap you didnt get (m)any blooms?!

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Hobart, IN

To use burlap, drive some tall stakes and staple the burlap to the stakes. Leave the top open. Some folks put fall leaves inside to help with the insulation.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi rouge21, I can't say that wrapping the F&E in burlap wasn't helpful, in fact, after removal of the burlap in spring (when I usually think it's safe in Chicago, hint, it's not) my hydrangea looked good with at least half the stems showing buds. The long, long winter and heavy snow did not crush or break any stems at all. The problem was and always is those late spring cold snaps that fry the buds. It's a catch 22, spring comes on strong with temps. in the 80's and everything starts to leaf out so I uncover the hydrangea and then whammo, it's in the 30's again and the buds are shot. I could go and cover/uncover it everyday, but honestly, that's not going to happen! :) I'm content to get what I can and it does always leaf out so it fills in the space nicely.

In answer to your question, I got exactly 2 whole blooms this year! The bush reached about a 2 1/2 ft. diameter after being pruned to the ground. The best year was 2012 when we had a very early and warm spring; lots of blooms.

The first 3 pics are this years blooms; the last one is from 2012. I'm sorry, you'll have to look thru the cleome that "volunteered" up in front of the hydrangea but I didn't have the heart to remove it. :)

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(Zone 4b)

'toni', I must have missed this last post of yours. That is a beautifully planted garden you have...love that last photo. Thank you.

(Zone 4b)

Did that today 'cindy'. (If it doesnt lead to more blooms from old wood, I will remove it and replace with...not sure what.)

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Hobart, IN

Admittedly I gave up on "old wood only" hydrangeas several years ago (due to laziness on my part) but I do have to wrap a couple of hollies, a Hinoki cypress and a Pieris japonica this winter as they're still recovering from last winter. Sigh.

(Zone 4b)

As I have told my partner this is the last shot for this "Blushing Bride". I dug outs its neighbor ES this past early August and replaced it with the much smaller "Tuff Stuff". As well we are so impressed with "Bobo" that we have 10 of them out and about around our property...an outstanding compact hydrangea with sure fire blooming.

Powder Springs, GA(Zone 7b)

Try Phantom too. Great bloomer the very first year and put on considerable growth. This year it didn't grow so much tall but did put on more shoots and plenty of blooms - full sun.

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