Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Will It Be An Endless Summer?

This is a picture of Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer and was taken from White Flower Farm web site at http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/ W.F. describes as follows: "Endless Summer has brought the joys of Big leaf Hydrangeas to countless gardeners in cold climes who could never enjoy their blooms before. Unlike many of this group (Hydrangeas), Endless Summer™ blooms on new wood, so it flowers even where icy winters kill older branches to the ground. "

This is a picture of my Endless Summer Hydrangeas during the spring blooming season.

I've had some successes and some failures planting hydrangeas. The successes are priceless for what they do - beautiful flowers, nice shape and foliage, and most have berries for the birds to eat in the winter. The failures are well - money I've buried in the soil - so to speak...

Hydrangeas sometimes border on not being cold hardy in Zone 5. Cold winter temperatures, ice and wind storms can all damage or kill some hydrangeas. Endless Summer has survived my mostly Zone 4 (because of exposure to winter wind). Several times it has been damaged but the fact it blooms on both old and new growth means it survives.

I don't usually cut/prune my Endless Summer back unless there has been disfiguring winter damage. When the pruning is done in the early spring - blooming is late or sometimes sparse that summer. The spring blooms come from buds that overwinter on last year's stems. Early or late freezes can cause no flowers in the spring/summer months.

Continuous or endless, in this case, means it blooms mostly in the spring on old growth and those flowers hang on the plant (beautifully I might add) until the fall set of flowers come on the new growth. It isn't like a petunia that does produce an endless supply of new flowers day after new day. It is advertised as blooming from June through September.

You will notice my Endless Summer is pink and White Farm's is blue. This is caused by the different nutrients in our soils. Blue flowers grow in acid soils - pink in alkaline. Aluminum sulfate will lower pH if blue flowers are desired. Lime will help make pink flowers. Check out your commercial fertilizer to make sure it's right for spring fertilizing.

Another plus for this hydrangea is the form and size of the flowers. Flowers are up to nine inches and the snowball variety. Mine start out a green/cream color, slowly start turning pink and eventually turn brown and wilt. It is recommended the flowers are picked (deadheaded) to keep the plant blooming. I pick a few but really like to leave the flowers on my plant until they turn brown. Pick and put in a vase with no water and they will dry with color.

Endless Summer, termed a big leaf hydrangea, only gets to be about 3-5 foot tall and about 3-4 foot wide. It makes an excellent specimen plant. I've seen them planted in mass and it's really stunning.

Endless Summer likes full or partial sun. They will wilt on hot summer afternoons in full sun, but, perk up later in the day. I recommend situating in afternoon shade to insure all day beauty. They need lots of moisture but not sitting in wet soggy soil. On dry or drought summers, they must be watered regularly. I also recommend planting in a somewhat protected area and mulch heavily. Hardy to Zone 4.

Others comments: They do well in woodland settings and the deer do not eat them. They will probably bloom blue in woodlands.

My experience: I've never had deer, insect pests or mildew on my Endless Summer. Some years it's seriously beautiful and other years it's average but not ugly. Are the good awesomely beautiful years endless - maybe that's a stretch out here on the hill. But, I find I endlessly enjoy those awesomely beautiful flowers.


  1. Diane: That's my endless summer hydrangea! It was really fun to see it on your blog. The hydrangea was amazing this year, and I was glad to be able to share it with White Flower Farm and with you. nr-litchfield

  2. Wow - this is great to see what a small world we have (small garden world). Your hydrangeas is so very beautiful, no wonder WFF used it in their advertising. What are your secrets to such a beauty? Thanks for sharing. Diane