Endless Summer Hydrangea

November 11th, 2006

Endless Summer HydrangeaI really like big mop head hydrangeas. They’re hard to beat for pure vibrancy and size of blooms.

One of the problems with these though is that they’re just barely hardy here where I live, and further north they are not hardy at all, at least not enough to bear blooms.

See, the problem is that most mop head hydrangeas bloom on old wood, last years growth, and while their roots can survive the cold weather here, the stems usually do not. So the plant comes back year after year with nice rich foliage but never blooms.

Until now anyways. One of the most popular new introductions of any species in the past few years has been a new hydrangea called Endless Summer. This mop head hydrangea has a very long bloom season, it reblooms, and it can bloom on both old and new wood. Take this all together and it means that this will bloom for you no matter where you live.

The blooms on Endless Summer will be pink normally, but can be a true blue in acidic soil. They can also be as large as a foot across. After the blooms fade they still stay a rich burgundy color as you can see in the picture.

Hydrangeas do best in shade or light sun, the further north you live the more sun you can get away with, and if you can get away with sun I recommend doing so. Like other plants sunlight will encourage growth and blooms in hydrangeas. Hydrangeas have very high moisture requirements, especially when exposed to sun or heat. This is partially why people often plant them in the shade. The good news it that it is really easy to read hydrangeas, if they aren’t getting enough water their leaves start to wilt almost instantly, so you have a very obvious cue on when to act. I also do not recommend planting them in a container, they really need a permanent spot in the ground.

In the winter you can leave it be, but for extra protection try surrounding it with a wireframe cage filled with hardwood leaves lightly packed. Also, be careful, in the winter and early spring the stems are extremely fragile and may seem dead, but they aren’t (not always anyways). They’re just dormant. If there is no new growth on the stems by June, then you can assume the stems died. However even when the stem dies the root lives on and your plant is still alive. So, if you’re not seeing buds by June, follow the stems all the way to the ground and prune them off where you see buds start (often near the ground in leaf litter there will be buds on stems that are dead further up), or, if no buds at all, just prune them a few inches from the ground. But do not fear, undoubtedly already new stems are emerging from the soil. The lesson to be learned here is that where you live the hydrangea top growth is not hardy, and you need to offer it winter protection. Try a leaf cage.

The only thing I can think of to improve on this variety of hydrangea would be leaf variegation, it scores a 11 out of 10 in every other category. If you don’t have one yet, get one, you can find them at most garden centers (including Lowes or Home Depot) as well as online (though you tend to get significantly smaller ones when ordering online).

4 Responses to “Endless Summer Hydrangea”

  1. contrary1  Says:

    I’ve decided Hydrangeas are one of my top 10 plants in the have to have category. Love them for the easy (almost none) care, as well as the lovely display of blooms each year.

    I have many starts, but no big plants here in my new garden……..can’t wait for my baby plants to grow up and make a blooming hedge on my north side.

  2. The block paving man from essex  Says:

    I use Hydrangeas as borders in peoples paved front gardens. The lovely colours break-up the somewhat commercial look of the paving that people choose these days. As you said in your article, they are great in areas not always in sunlight all day long and bring alot of pleasure to the house owner. The funny thing is that most of the people who specify these are older people. I think they’re great, anyhow! By the way, great Blog, Regards Martin.

  3. ikea  Says:

    In Virginia, my Endless Summer develop a very interesting green and deep maroon color in the fall. They make excellent dry flowers at that point for the fall and the holiday season. Just clip them and air dry for a week in a cool area.

  4. Trela Rott  Says:

    Why did I not find you sooner?!?!?! Ok, so my dead “sticks” every year just means I need to winter protect my little hydrangea. He’s nearly five years old, but barely gets taller than my knees. I always get at least three or four good sized (bigger than my fist by quite a bit) blooms, but they’re late, so obviously all on new growth.

    You’re a hydrangea genius! I love it, but was afraid to get more since this one never really excelled. Fear no more!


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