Endless Summer hydrangea blooming well this year

– Posted in: Hydrangeas

This year, my Endless Summer hydrangea is blooming abundantly.

This year, my Endless Summer hydrangea is blooming abundantly.

After complaining about the lack of bloom on my ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea last year, I thought I’d better put in a good word for this shrub now that it is living up to expectations. It is growing vigorously and has a lot of flowers on it.

What I did differently

As I mentioned earlier this year, I covered the shrub with fallen leaves in late autumn. I made sure they filled the center of the plant and covered the surrounding soil to a depth of six inches. I did not remove these leaves until I was certain the last frost had passed. New growth had already begun under the leaves. (I also saw some vole tunnels, which I filled in. The shrub didn’t seem to have been harmed.)

When I removed the leaf mulch this spring, I also fertilized with Shrubs Alive! Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants, to try to enhance the blue color of the flowers. I think they are bluer than when they last bloomed, though not as blue as in the marketing photos.

I also made sure the hydrangea had better weather this year. Seriously, the weather can have a major impact on the performance of these shrubs, and there’s not much you can do about it. This was a good year for hydrangeas, and I’m thankful for it.

Unfortunately, the ‘Forever & Ever Double Pink’ that I fell in love with seems to have expired. After its stunted growth last year and its very weak growth this spring, I’m wondering if it had a virus. On the other hand, the original Forever & Ever Hydrangea (a single pink) had never bloomed for me before, and it now has buds on it. You win some, you lose some.

They’re still high maintenance

The same caveats still apply. They need their mulch in winter, they need their water in summer. Not too hot, not too cold. Ju-u-ust right. Like Goldilocks.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

Comments on this entry are closed.

vanessa j. December 15, 2011, 3:01 pm

Just happened up on this site and am thankful for the posts and comments about ES. It is a picky thing and pink is not really my fave in a garden but they are beautiful so I tried one bought from Home Depot (2010) here in Wisconsin. Kept in a pot all summer. Almost lost it to an infestation of something. Treated it and put it in the ground in September 2010.

Spring 2011 began to bud. June– had one flower green. By August 2 large pink blooms but only on old wood. New wood had nothing but huge beautiful leaves. Also, my garden bed gets mostly afternoon sun. ES wilted on hot afternoons but revived with watering or cooler temps. It loves the rain and is beautiful and happy in the light shade and morning light.

By late Summer when it’s really hot here it wilted everyday and continued to wilt-revive. Wilt-revive. It got about 3 ft. tall by the end of summer. Both blooms and leaves were huge. Healthy and strong. Just can’t deal with the wilting and nowhere else to place the thing in my very tiny garden bed. I love Hydrangeas but this one–I don’t know.

I may move it to the other end where I have a narrow border garden just off the patio. It’s really so lovely…will wait to see what it will do in 2012. Thanks for posting about this picky lovely thing. (Smile)

Kathy Purdy December 15, 2011, 3:32 pm

Vanessa, you might enjoy Hydrangeas in the North by Tim Boebel. He tells you how to prune and winter over macrophylla hydrangeas for the best results. He did a lot of experimenting and his advice comes from what he learned.

ANA JULIETA September 20, 2009, 11:38 pm


Ruth Annunziato August 9, 2009, 9:19 pm

My 4 year old Endless Summer is 4Ft. wide x5Ft. high with fantastic green leaves, but not 1bloom in August! I unknowingly pruned the whole plant back in the spring. I plan on mulching 6″ worth of leaves in fall, with hopes of beautiful blooms next summer. What do you think? Will I have flowers next season?

Kathy Purdy August 9, 2009, 9:29 pm

Ruth, you don’t say where you live, and that makes the biggest difference. Since it blooms on new wood, cutting it back in spring should not have left you bloomless. However, I had blooms last year and also don’t have them this year, and I didn’t cut back the old wood until the shrub had sprouted and it was clear which stems were dead. I think the lack of heat this summer is what caused the lack of bloom. If next summer is warmer, you should have blooms, provided you fertilize and water regularly. That is my best guess.

KIM June 25, 2009, 3:49 pm

This is my second year with a all summer long hydrangia that i got from a online greenhouse. Im very impressed it has grown twice the size that i planted it-about 2.5 feet all around, and it has about 8 blooms that are just starting to grow. I live in Angola NY-a suburb of buffalo-we have very harsh winters and short summers-im very supprised this plant has preformed so well. It gets only am and sunset sun-durring the hottest part of the day its sheltered by pine tree, I believe thats why its has preformed so well.

Chris August 3, 2008, 11:46 am

I’m doing a photo diary of mine this year. Taking a picture a week, just to prove all the naysayers wrong, it can be a wonderful shrub. After it finishes blooming, which for me will be when we get our first hard freeze, I’ll finish it and blog about it.

naturehillsnursery July 30, 2008, 10:04 am

I also am a big fan of the endless summer hydrangeas. I have 7 of them planted in several different beds. This year I’m having the opposite effect. Blooms have been smaller and not as plentiful.

GardenGuru July 25, 2008, 3:43 pm

After reading your post and seeing your photos I am convinced that my next plant will have to be hydrangeas. They are so beautiful! I’m currently working on a liriope garden. I’ll let you know as they start to bloom.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter July 22, 2008, 3:20 pm

Both my ES & ‘Penny Mac’ are loving this cooler wetter weather. They both look better than ever, but ‘Penny’ is still outperforming ES. I had no idea flower heads were supposed to get that big.

dlyn July 22, 2008, 2:38 pm

Mine is 4 years old and taller than it has ever been before – about 3 feet and still climbing, but it has no flowers so far this year. I haven’t checked it in a few days so I don’t want to say it still has no buds because for sure if I do it will be plastered with them the next time I check. I can’t remember how late it was getting buds other years, so not sure how it compares. I’ve never given it any winter protection and of course it dies right back to the ground. I have been fertilizing it with Miracle Grow for acid loving plants in hopes getting blue flowers – not ideal but it’s what I have on hand. Lots of time for it still to bloom of course, so I will check back in if it does. I have my eye on a “Limelight” – any experience with one of those anyone?

tedb July 22, 2008, 6:51 am

The Endless Summers I take care of are doing pretty well up here in Wisconsin, but the hydrangea that is doing really well is Blushing Bride (an offspring of Endless Summer).

I treated all the macrophyllas almost exactly like Kathy described. The Blushing Brides started blooming a month ago, the ES are just starting now. I also like the color of BB better – white flushed with blue or pink. They are shorter, a little over 2 feet, a negative for me.

The superior performance comes despite being in a spot that is a bit too shady and too dry, and they are only on thier second year. As Bernadette mentioned, hydrangeas often need a season or two to settle in before blooming well.

Dee/reddirtramblings July 21, 2008, 10:20 am

I love the closing line. They ARE just like Goldilocks, and it’s far too hot for them in my part of Oklahoma. I still am trialing three of them. I’ll let everyone know next year.~~Dee

Bernadette July 20, 2008, 9:43 pm

This is year number 3 for my endless summer. I guess this is indeed the “leaping” year. It looks great after a harsh winter in the Chicago area. Lots and lots of flowers.

Cindy July 20, 2008, 11:54 am

Kathy, I’ll say they’ve having a good year … wow, just gorgeous! Hydrangeas do grow here, although they don’t attain the massive size of those in cooler climes. I found a Forever & Ever Double Pink at Lowe’s for $2 on clearance. The plant was not only healthy but thriving. It had no blooms (unlike the rest) but I figured those would come. It’s been 2 months and I’m still waiting! It’s in a pot and I have fed it once. Any ideas for me?

Kathy Purdy July 20, 2008, 5:39 pm

Cindy, you wouldn’t call my Endless Summer massive. It’s probably about 3 feet tall. As far as your hydrangea, it just might be too darn hot for it. In your Texas climate it might be a spring and fall plant, with a summer dormancy. The Forever & Ever website seems to recommend a lot of fertilizer and a lot of water for all their hydrangeas, but a hydrangea in Texas is surely a special case. Why don’t you contact them through their website to see if they have any suggestions? Tell them Kathy sent you.

Kim July 20, 2008, 10:15 am

I am feeling ashamed I’ve dissed Endless Summer in the past. I’m not brave enough to try it (and I secretly prefer oak leaves and lace caps) BUT yours is gorgeous and worthy of praise. And I’ll admit I feel a bit of “I would like to have that” in my garden. It’s beautiful. Thank your for sharing yours (and your tips for success).

Robin Wedewer July 20, 2008, 7:42 am

I’m glad to hear you’re having better success with these this year. This is the second year with ours (5 of them). I have to say they are beautiful, although I’m always torn when to deadhead. The flowers tend to fade to a dull pink and look less lovely. I’ll probably deadhead since I am now convinced that new flowers really will grow.

Gardening Examiner

Kathy Purdy July 20, 2008, 5:33 pm

Robin, I know you grow them in Maryland. Do you have to spend a lot of time watering them?

Pam/Digging July 20, 2008, 4:01 am

There are precious few hydrangeas here in Austin. Yours is very pretty. I’m glad it’s a good year for them. I saw a whole garden of hydrangeas at Chanticleer recently and was bowled over. Look for my post about them on Monday.

I’ll do that, Pam.

Blackswampgirl Kim July 20, 2008, 12:14 am

It sure does look happy, Kathy! I admit that while I gave my one hydrangea away (no way to keep it happy in my lean, well-draining soil and sunny yard) I like to see them well in bloom in other people’s gardens. And it looks really good in yours!

Thank you, Kim. I have to confess I’m pleasantly surprised!

Gail July 19, 2008, 11:55 pm

Goldilocks won’t find the perfect garden bed for her Endless Summer Hydrangea! They need too much coddling! They are lovely as are a lot of the non native hydrangeas…sigh!


Carol, May Dreams Gardens July 19, 2008, 11:24 pm

My Endless Summer hydrangea is having a good summer, too. Much better than last year. But, I don’t do anything to acidify the soil so it is bright pink.

Kathy Purdy July 20, 2008, 5:30 pm

Carol, my soil is naturally acid. Blueberries grow wild up in our field. But the Endless Summer was blooming neither blue nor pink that first year, and I suspected it was because it was planted near the foundation of the house. I had a half-off Gardens Alive coupon, and decided if I was going to fertilize the hydrangea, I might as well get the acid fertilizer.

perennialgardenlover July 19, 2008, 11:18 pm

I love your Endless Summer Hydrangea. But then again I am crazy about hydrangeas period. What a lovely bloom. You’re right, they are picky about the moisture, picky about the heat, just picky. lol They are worth it for those blooms though.