Keeping Hydrangeas Happy in the Heat with Mike Darcy

July 20, 2018

With temperatures of 90 degrees and up, many plants will be stressing for moisture and the motto in my garden is water, water, water! I like to water in the morning before it gets too hot and even with high temperatures, early mornings are very pleasant and I enjoy the quietness.

There are plants in my garden that have wilted leaves even though I know there is moisture in the soil. These wilted leaves are a signal that the plant is transpiring more water than it can absorb.

While it is a temporary ‘fix’, I tend to spray the foliage of wilted leaves with water on these hot days.

If leaves are wilted for too long, they may get scorched and once scorched, they will be that way forever. This is a good time to assess your placement of plants and those in full sun that seem to wilt quickly might be more suited to a shadier location.

There are many hydrangeas in our garden. I have nourished and cared for these plants all year and I look forward to when they bloom, which is now. I want to make certain they have adequate moisture so that I can enjoy the flowers and keep the leaves from scorching.

Two key words that I think of at this time of year are ‘hydrate hydrangeas’! Hydrangeas need plenty of moisture and they are quick to let a gardener know this by their wilted leaves.

My garden is probably like many others in that I have hydrangeas in locations where they should not be and when we have heat waves, like now, I give them some extra care because I love their magnificent flowers. I have visited gardens where they are planted in full sun but my experience is that they perform much better when protected from the afternoon sun. Hydrangeas tend to be shallow rooted and when the soil dries, the plant can become stressed quickly. They like a humus rich soil and a mulch of compost can be helpful. A good mulch available in bags is Black Gold Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Mix. This has an ingredient called coir which is a natural fiber that comes from the coconut shell and is a byproduct of the processing of coconuts. It has extremely good water retention qualities and my experience with using it has been very positive.

There are many hydrangeas available and right now, three in particular that are looking good in my garden now are:

Hydrangea Quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’ is in full bloom with upright white panicles of single blooms. This is a group of hydrangeas that are often referred to as ‘oakleaf’ because of the shape of the leaf which also provides beautiful fall color.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ has large ball-shaped clusters of white flowers. I have heard this being called snowball plant and with good reason. This is quick to wilt on these hot days but it is worth some extra care.

Hydrangea Aspera ‘Sargentiana’ is a large shrub, my plant is 8 ft tall, with very unique flowers. The flowers are like a lacecap type with purple blooms in the center surrounded by white flowers. Very fuzzy leaves and stems that peal revealing a copper bronze color.

This is a good time of year to visit gardens and observe where hydrangeas are planted and how well they are surviving the summer. There are many more than what I have mentioned and that is for another blog!

We would love to see your Happy Hydrangeas, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag Wilco Stores.