En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 24, 2012

From: Traverse City, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Care for non-native hybrid hydrangea from Traverse City, MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We just planted some new Hydrangea (Summer Beauty) that we bought at a local nursery. The plants are about 3' tall with blooms on the stalks. The blooms appear to be top-heavy as most all the stalks are lying on the ground. We know we'll need to cut them back to 2"-3" this fall..but we want to enjoy them this summer. Any suggestions?


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which they grow natively. There are two hydrangeas native to North America, Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea) and Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea). Neither is native to Michigan.

We searched on the Hydrangea microphylla which is apparently the base plant for your bushes. It originated in Japan and Korea. We found one indication that the hybrid 'Summer Beauty' had been developed in Holland, but no documentation.

Anyway, since we obviously cannot help you much, read this United States National Arboretum website Hydrangea Questions and Answers. When we scanned the article, we saw no reference to weak stems and blooms lying on the ground, but perhaps you will get some leads from that article. Our personal belief is that the bushes are suffering from transplant shock. They may have been in the pot in the nursery for too long, or in too much sun, or damaged when they were planted. You might even consider pruning off the weak stems; since this plant apparently reblooms pretty vigorously, it might pull out and get some healthy blooms and stems later in the summer.


From the Image Gallery

Wild hydrangea
Hydrangea arborescens

Oakleaf hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia

More Shrubs Questions

Shrub with red two-globed berries
June 15, 2012 - I am looking for the name of a red berry with 2 globes attached to each other on a plant with small soft oval shaped leaves.I live in Maryland and they are maturing now. These bushes are in the park ...
view the full question and answer

Dead or Dormant Chile Pequins in Corpus Christi
November 12, 2010 - We have 4 chile pequin and 5 chiltepin plants growing our yard. All were thriving beautifully until we took a 12-day vacation in late July. There was little rain during that time but overall this y...
view the full question and answer

Diseased non-native red tip photinias from Richmond VA
April 08, 2014 - Our red tip trees have a while substance on the bark at the base of each tree..look like some kind of fungus or mold, but we don't know how to get rid of it. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping trees and shrubs non-toxic to dogs from Monticello FL
March 08, 2013 - We're landscaping and need advice on large and small evergreen trees and shrubs that are native to or will flourish in North Florida. We plan to put in a treeline (large and semi-large trees) as wel...
view the full question and answer

How to Control Pests on Plants for Sale
May 15, 2014 - I am renting a closed spot at a flea market, and am having trouble with several infestations at once, and I am not sure how to control them. I am currently having trouble with aphids, whiteflies, and ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center