Southerners have long had a love affair with hydrangeas. Those big pom-poms of blue or pink blossoms of the most commonly recognized ‘mophead’ hydrangeas bring back memories of spring time in grandma’s garden. One of the most enchanting things about this plant is that its bloom color depends on the soil – and you can control what color you get.
You can continue the love affair in your own garden and get more enjoyment out of these beauties with new varieties that will re-bloom and can put on a show from spring to fall. The Endless Summer® hydrangea is the first repeat blooming mophead hydrangea, available in three varieties.
Endless Summer Hydrangea Traits:
- Requires filtered sun to partial shade
- Grows 3-5 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide
- Blooms spring and summer. Remove spent flowers to have repeat blooms.
- Blooms on this season’s and last season’s growth
- Flower color depends on the soil pH (blue in acidic soil, pink in alkaline soil)
There are three varieties of Endless Summer Hydrangeas:
- ‘The Original’ in blue or pink (though pink is hard to achieve in our region)
- ‘Blushing Bride’ in pure white that matures to pale blue or pale pink
- ‘BloomStruck’ in vivid purple or rose-pink
How to Plant Hydrangeas:
Step 1: Find the Right Spot
In the south, hydrangeas can’t tolerate too much hot sun. Allow for 2-3 hours of morning sun and dappled sun or shade in the afternoon. If your hydrangeas get intense sun in the afternoon they may wilt a bit in the heat, but they should revive when the temperature cools down for the day.
Step 2: Plant in a Nutrient Rich Soil
Good soil has a huge effect on your hydrangeas’ successful growth and bloom production. Properly prepared soil provides the nutrients necessary for plants to establish a strong, healthy root system. It also drains well so that the plant gets enough water to thrive, but not so much that the roots could drown or rot.
Our dense Georgia clay needs to be amended with a good planting mix, like Pike Planting Mix, in a 50/50 ratio. Doing this will break up that dense soil so roots can grow more easily and water will drain better. When planting, add in some organic starter fertilizer, like E.B. Stone Sure Start, to give your newly transplanted hydrangeas a head start in healthy growth and to prevent transplant shock.
Did you know that the flower color of some hydrangea varieties can depend on the soil pH? Blue to purple blooms occur in acidic soil and pink blooms in alkaline soil. In most parts of Georgia we tend to have a more acidic soil (though coastal areas with lots of sand may have a more alkaline soil). This means our hydrangeas will usually bloom blue. You can add minerals to your soil to affect the color of your blooms! To enhance the soil acidity for deeper blue flowers, incorporate aluminum sulfate into your soil mixture. If your heart is set on pink hydrangeas, your best bet is to grow them in containers where you can easily control the pH level of the soil with dolomitic lime to get rich pink flowers.
Step 3: Water Regularly, Fertilize, and Prune Sparingly
Hydrangeas prefer moist, but well-drained soil—not wet. Overwatering can cause your hydrangeas to produce less flowers. Put them on a watering schedule so you’re less likely to overwater. The best time to water is in the morning or evening when it’s not so hot. Adding mulch around the plant is a great way to conserve water and regulate ground temperature. Mulched plants typically can go longer periods of time between watering than non-mulched plants.
Feed with a general purpose fertilizer a couple times a year – but before the fall, which is when hydrangeas go into a dormant period.
You can prune hydrangeas to give them shape, but wait until AFTER the spring bloom. However, because Endless Summer hydrangeas bloom on new and old growth, pruning too much can take away potential flowers. To help these re-bloomers actually do that, you should deadhead them regularly (meaning remove spent flowers so new ones can appear).
Step 4: Sit back and enjoy the show!
These blooming beauties will do their thing for months. And since you can use them as hedge borders, to flank your entryway, or as focal points in containers, you can plant them all over your property!
Contact your store for more information