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Hydrangea hell -help!

(24 Posts)
Sounbelievablydull Mon 15-May-17 21:45:47

Good evening,
We completely stripped out overgrown garden two years ago following some building work.
I had a fantasy of growing billowing hedges of white hydrangeas interpreted with other white plants such as roses,
The roses are doing ok I think but the hydrangeas are a disaster several plants have died ,I'm now down to one very sad looking Annabelle ,two climbing cheapie from Tesco which are looking ok very small but still alive, and three shrubs which look awful as if autumn has already been here.
We water them so I don't think it's drought, I really thought that these were easy plants but we are struggling, we are in London so clay soil but it is all good quality top soil , south facing garden. Where am I going wrong?

GingerKitCat Mon 15-May-17 21:55:43

Too much sun? I thought hydrangeas were shade plants, somebody correct me!

HeyMacWey Tue 16-May-17 09:54:56

I had an Annabelle which just withered and eventually died - no idea why. Bought from crocus. Ended up getting a refund on it.

The cheap vanilla fraise from home bargains, on the other hand, is thriving.

I wonder if the popularity of the Annabelle has caused it to fail to thrive.

venys Tue 16-May-17 16:08:17

I think hydrangeas are acid loving plants so you need to adjust the soil with something like ericacious compost or sulphur chips and fertilise with a specialist ericacious fertiliser. It would probably help to be away from the roses in this case. Although tbh I am new to the world of soil pH levels - I had a hydrangea but haven't been able to garden for the last 2.5 years so I discovered this a bit late and it has died.

venys Tue 16-May-17 16:11:17

OK I might be wrong about having to have the soil acid and it depends on the cultivar but it certainly helps to water with rain water.

aircooled Tue 16-May-17 17:43:16

I have two rampant Annabelles - they are in a slightly shaded border (afternoon sun) where the soil never gets too dry. Perhaps yours are too hot? Try again, they're wonderful - popular for good reason.

Sounbelievablydull Tue 16-May-17 20:22:55

I am so besotted with the idea of them I'm going to give them another go no matter what

Mermaidinthesea123 Thu 18-May-17 07:27:37

I've given up with them now, I supposedly have the perfect growing conditions for them but they are not having it.

EdithWeston Thu 18-May-17 07:29:19

Billowing hedges in London? Wow!

I have a happy white hydrangea in poorish quality clay, but it was here when I moved in, so I don't know what the cultivar name is. I think you'll have to just keep trying with bought ones.

Or start spying on your neighbour's gardens and scrape an acquaintance with any who have surviving hydrangeas, so you can ask for cuttings.

And get a copy of the Yellow Book and visit local open days. Interesting for ideas anyhow, and sometimes there are plant sales.

PenelopeFlintstone Thu 18-May-17 07:33:53

I don't know what's wrong with yours but just wanted to say that I adore them too but where I live it's far too hot even though the shops taunt me by selling them and I've tried 3 times but they've all died sad

sunnyhills Thu 18-May-17 07:54:54

We can have billowing hedges in London grin

MissWilmottsGhost Thu 18-May-17 08:00:02

I also thought hydrangeas preferred shade. Aren't they woodland plants?

Elphaba99 Thu 18-May-17 08:15:07

They only prefer ericaceous compost if they are blue flowering varieties. I'm thinking too much sun - my climbing hydrangea thrives in a (quite dry) very shady spot. Rarely gets any direct sun but goes great guns regardless.

Sounbelievablydull Thu 18-May-17 08:29:30

Admit it you are envious of my vision of billowing hedges!!! Bloody Chelsea flower show put highly unrealistic notions in my non gardening mind!!
I'm going to try again !!

sunnyhills Thu 18-May-17 08:57:29

Sound - I don't know if this is anyway relevant but I know that hydrangeas are thirsty .

I have a bit of trouble with mine ( shady ,London ,ammended clay soil ) wilting at the first sign of dryness .

When I was mulching it I think I saw little roots near the surface of the soil and I think it might be down to my partner's watering style which is a bit light handed .
You have to really soak the soil as a gentle sprinkle only wets the surface and then you end up with surface roots as opposed to nice deep roots .And then they're prone to wilt .

Anyway that's my theory .

WellErrr Thu 18-May-17 09:00:47

Climbing hydrangeas prefer shade but normal ones should be ok in the sun.

They are VERY thirsty plants however.

Do you have any pictures of yours? How do they look? Wilted leaves? Leaf drop? Brown?

GingerKitCat Thu 18-May-17 13:07:33

I give mine a big watering can full quite regularly. Whenever I'm pottering about on the patio in the evening. It's in the shadiest corner but it still dries out if there's no rain as it's fairly close to the fence.

I inherited it in a big concrete pot and thought it would enjoy being in the sun. It HATED it! I nearly killed it grin

EdithWeston Thu 18-May-17 14:22:26

When I lived in London, the garden behind the (terraced) house was about 20x20 plus side return. No where near enough room for any billowing.

And yes, envious of those who can afford properties in London with bigger gardens. But in a nice way IYSWIM, not begrudgingly.

Sounbelievablydull Thu 18-May-17 15:41:19

I really wasmeaning to joke re the envy !
Very average semi here but surely we are all allowed to dream of billowing???

SweetChickadee Thu 18-May-17 15:46:15

I too dream of billowing, but sadly am in cold climes and the growing season is about 10 minutes long. So I need my patience.

interesting about them not liking too much sun. I was considering moving one as I thought it wasn't getting enough and is vvveeerryyy slow growing. I shall leave it alone.

thanks grin

dailydance Thu 18-May-17 15:56:14

Partial shade and lots of water. My ex stupidly planted my climbing hydrangea in full sun.... so far it's surviving but I am surprised. I recommend buying from a decent nursery / garden centre though. I haven't bought from Tesco but did purchase a few plants from b&q because I felt sorry for them and wanted to try to get them healthy again... they are awful quality and none survived sad

TheNoodlesIncident Sat 20-May-17 23:20:19

Feed feed and feed. Lots of water, they do wilt fast. I've read that morning sun is good, afternoon sun may be too strong, so if you have an east-facing elevation it may help. Roses are very greedy hungry plants too, so improving the soil with addition of well rotted manure, compost, organic matter is all good - it will help them all be happy. But rich soil is key.

But lots of food and water is essential.

sunnyhills Sun 21-May-17 12:25:58

Would chicken pellets be ok Noodle ? Or would fish.blood and bone ( eek ) be better ?

TheNoodlesIncident Tue 23-May-17 22:36:12

I would add both sunny. Also give grass/lawn feed in spring (high nitrogen will boost leaf growth) and subsequent feeds of tomato feed (high potassium will boost flower growth).

Hydrangeas planted in too sunny a spot tend to develop yellowy leaves, shady areas will promote more chlorophyll growth thus greener leaves.

Roses do prefer more sun, but you can't really overfeed roses and they also want lots of organic matter in the soil, so farmyard manure, rotted horse manure etc.

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