Growing Together: Endless Summer or endless bummer? Readers weigh in on popular hydrangea
The results are in. Several weeks ago I asked readers to relate their experiences with Endless Summer hydrangea. Few plants have received such national publicity since Wave petunias. But does Endless Summer live up to its marketing campaign, and ...
The results are in. Several weeks ago I asked readers to relate their experiences with Endless Summer hydrangea. Few plants have received such national publicity since Wave petunias. But does Endless Summer live up to its marketing campaign, and is it suited to our region?
Let's hear from those who have tried it, and then we'll summarize.
• "I've been bamboozled by the beauty of Endless Summer hydrangea. If they come back at all in the spring, they form a small bush with no flowers."--Audrey Reinhart, McVille, N.D.
• "My two plants were beautiful the first season. By the third year one died and the other produced only greenery. I'm disappointed I only had one good year. Wouldn't buy it again to plant but maybe to enjoy in the pot for the season if the price is right."--Carol Schmitz, Fargo
• "I planted an Endless Summer eight years ago. I haven't had much luck with it. The first year it bloomed a little, but it's gotten smaller and hasn't had any flowers for the last two years. I'm disappointed and don't feel it's winter hardy."--Mary Ann, Borup, Minn.
• "I agree with the new name 'endless bummer.' It only bloomed the first year I planted it. The following years there were only a couple of blooms."--Carol Krogh, Fergus Falls, Minn.
• "I've planted them three different times and each time they lasted only three years, even though I used acid fertilizers. As much as I love those blue blossoms, I wouldn't plant them again. The ones I've seen in my neighborhood in the past are no longer around either." -- Sharon Fritz, Fargo
• "The first summer it was beautiful with its blue blossoms. The next year I applied acid fertilizer but got only a few dirty lavender-pink blossoms. I moved it twice hoping more sunshine would help. A year ago I dug it up and threw it away."--Virginia Becker, McHenry, N.D.
• "We got our plant in 2009, and it's only blossomed once or twice since with flowers that are small and dwarfed. It's on the east side of the house in partial sun. It has survived every winter, but last summer it had no flowers. It's not a very good choice."--Dick Sinner, Casselton, N.D.
• "It's more appropriately called 'Endless Problem.' Ours was planted on the south side and well-protected in winter. It survived two or three years, but never grew beyond a few inches, so I discarded it. I would rather put my effort into something that provides a better reward."--Gerald Van Amburg, Moorhead, Minn.
• "In 2005 We planted three on the west side in full sun with plenty of mulch around them. In fall we pile mulch over the base of the plant after the first freeze. Each winter the stalks die back, but regrow each spring, giving more blooms than the previous year."--James and Angela Schiltz, Fargo
• "I purchased two when they first came out. They survive winter but always die back to the ground. The first few years there were many flowers but now there are just a few each year. The plant gets quite big, and the leaves are really nice. They're in shady spots and that's maybe why there are few flowers."--Lori Keller, Barney, N.D.
• "I've grown Endless Summer for years and each spring buy two plants to keep on my patio. I replant them in larger containers, keep well-watered, treat regularly with Miracid and they bloom profusely. In fall I plant them in the flower garden and cover. We live in town with shelter from trees and hedge plants so there is protection." -- Marlene Scott, Carrington, N.D.
• "We haven't lost any for over five years and now have many buds awaiting bloom. Our beds have 4 to 6 inches of cypress mulch. Each fall we cut them to the ground and cover with 6 inches of mulch. In spring we uncover after we believe there won't be a freeze. We fertilize with Osmocote and Miracid. The beds have soaker hoses which give plenty of water. The plants are on the east and north side of our home."--Richard Anderson, Fargo
• "I've had Endless Summer since 2004. It's never reached the mature size stated on the tag, as it dies to the ground each winter even with leaf cover. I'm overall satisfied with it."--Michelle Vidger, Fargo
• "My experience has been very positive. I planted eight in 2007, mulch them with bark and water consistently with bed irrigation sprinklers. They didn't flower for a few years because I might have over-fertilized them." -- Maureen Greenwood, Fargo
Everyone enjoyed Endless Summer the first season of purchase, but the above-ground branches haven't survived winter for most people unless they are covered in the fall with mulch.
Readers who accomplished successful yearly blooms watered profusely (hydrangea means water-loving), mulched soil to maintain moisture, fertilized with Miracid, planted in protected locations and covered plants with protective mulch each fall.
It's important for gardeners to be aware that such care is required for best results. If less labor-intensive, fully-hardy hydrangeas are desired, there are other choices.
I feel another gardening column coming on. In the meantime, thanks to all who helped compile a good evaluation of Endless Summer.
Kinzler worked as an NDSU Extension horticulturist and owned Kinzler's Greenhouse in Fargo. Tune in to his weekly radio segment at noon Wednesdays on WDAY Radio 970. Readers can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
He also blogs at http://growingtogether.areavoices.com .