It is the last day of September and my Endless Summer Hydrangea are still producing new blooms. This year was a fantastic year for Endless Summer Hydrangea. I have several of these shrubs around the yard, some planted 5 years ago some just last year. They have bloomed sporadically at best most years and while I have been tempted to replace them, even not in bloom they make a nice shrub with little pest damage. Yet this year they all bloomed abundantly. So why I ask? This year I decided to stop pampering them — they received no supplemental water or fertilizer. Our spring was cold but I saw no frost damage on the Endless Summer Hydrangea which almost always seem to get nipped by frost in spring. And this was not just happening in my yard. I noticed my neighbours had the same experience. It will be interesting to see what happens next year.
So what did I learn? In northern climate gardening, Endless Summer needs to be protected in early spring. Even though it is very hardy I think our typical late spring frosts damage the blossom growth by setting the plant back too severely. So this fall I plan on mulching the bottom foot or so of my Endless Summer hydrangea and leaving them protected until the chance of spring frost is well past. They also seem to prefer a bit of tough love, so no more fertilizing or watering. And if I’m lucky enough again to have such a proliferation of blooms, I’ll deadhead throughout the season to encourage even more blooms.