Our History With Endless Summer
We owned our Endless Summer hydrangeas before we bought our house. We had just moved to Georgia from Minnesota, and had a temporary housing situation that ended up lasting a year and a half. In the meantime, I started working at a local nursery and Debbie reminded me several times how much she loved hydrangeas (there’s no subtlety in our relationship). Easter of 2004 I brought home three beautiful 5 gallon Endless Summer hydrangeas (now marketed as ‘The Original’), knowing that they would not have a permanent home for a while and hoping for the best.
At first they struggled because we didn’t have a great spot to plant them, so we planted them in a less than great spot, watered religiously and coaxed them along. A little over a year after planting them, we bought a house and transplanted them at the worst possible time of year. We watered religiously again, and they survived. Two years later, we admitted that two of the three had to be moved because they were not thriving. We moved those two again. All are now doing extremely well with minimal routine maintenance.
Why We Love Them
From the start, I was amazed at this mophead hydrangea’s ability to bloom. “Normal” mophead hydrangeas bloom in spring to early summer on the previous year’s growth, called old wood. When the blooms have finished, the plant can be deadheaded and you wait for another year for more blooms. Endless Summer hydrangeas bloom on old wood too, but they also produce flowers on the current year’s new growth. This means that you get the big show in the spring/early summer, and then more blooms as the season progresses.
This year was especially interesting. The winter of 2013-14 was colder than normal for this area, and our Endless Summer hydrangeas experienced significant stem (old wood) dieback. The photos in another post from Spring showed beautiful foliage without a hint of bud. They were taken after we had removed the dead wood. A normal mophead would have had to wait another year for a chance to bloom, but not these. We saw blooms in the early-mid summer, and now in October they are blooming again!
On the other hand, in our extreme heat and drought years of 2007 and 2010, our Endless Summer hydrangeas struggled with bloom production on new wood. But the old wood flowers in the ensuing springs were amazing! So it seems that this ability to bloom on both old and new wood is a benefit in normal years, and in difficult years it can mean the difference between blooms and no blooms for the entire season. Also, it is important to note that I have never had powdery mildew on them, and only a very little superficial fungal spotting…which in the Southeast is an amazing thing in itself.
Since I bought those three hydrangeas ten years ago, I have become aware of Endless Summer’s more extensive listings. The line includes a white mophead that matures with a pink blush (‘Blushing Bride’), a pink to “periwinkle” colored lacecap (‘Twist and Shout’), and a more compact pink-or-blue mophead that may be more prolific than ‘The Original’ (‘Bloomstruck’). All of the plants in this line have the same tendencies for blooming and disease resistance. Although I am, by my nature, averse to fashionable branding and anything tending toward trendiness, I have found the popularity of these hydrangeas to be completely warranted. If you are considering planting hydrangeas, you could not go wrong with Endless Summer.
A Final Note
With all of that off my chest, back to business…Just becaues I said this hydrangea is awesome and that I have abused mine doesn’t mean that you should do it too. Plant your hydrangeas in dappled sun, or morning sun/afternoon shade. Provide them with plenty of organic matter at planting time and through the liberal use of mulch. Fertilize with food for acid loving shrubs when new growth starts in spring and once or twice during the growing season. Lime will turn blue hydrangeas pink (about a cup of pellet lime per foot of height yearly). Aluminum Sulfate will turn pink hydrangeas blue (one pound per 3 feet of height applied around the dripline and watered in thoroughy). Always have soil tested before manipulating pH, you could screw things up unintentionally by acting on ignorance.