Bailey Nurseries stopped by the office this week to show garden editors some of the latest varieties and provide tips to share with readers. A big seller for the company is reblooming hydrangeas. These showy plants bloom from late spring through fall and look great on country properties. Here are some tips to keep them blooming at your place:
1. Don't overfeed hydrangeas. If you add too much fertilizer or "bloom enhancers" the effect is more dark green leaf production with fewer flower buds.
2. Stop fertilizing after August 15th, as plants need to slow down and acclimate for winter.
3. Don't over-water. Although hydrangeas are named after Hydra, Greek for water, your plants will form large leaves, lots of green growth and few flower buds if over-watered. It is normal for plants to wilt in the heat of the day. Give them a long drink every couple of days and leave it at that.
4. In northern states, hydrangeas need more sun -- 6 hours a day in Minnesota, for example. In southern states, the plants need more shade, especially from the hot afternoon sun.
5. To change the flower color on bigleaf hydrangeas from pink to blue, you have to alter the pH of your soil. Bailey sells pelletized garden lime to make the blooms pink and pelletized soil sulfur to make hydrangeas blue.
6. Panicle hydrangeas bloom in mid to late summer. Below is the Vanilla Strawberry variety. Happy gardening!