Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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 Planting Questions

Would like a small tree for yard in Las Vegas, NV.
May 31, 2013 - would like a small tree with root system that grows down not spread on surface. Had raywood and medesto ash tree both died of desease. Diagnosed by arborist. Stated that these trees to big for my yard...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in my Nuttall Oak tree in Moore, OK.
July 23, 2009 - I had a Nutall oak tree planted; it is 5 inches in diameter and about 24 feet tall. It was planted in March of this year, leafed out ok; now since June 20th I have had a large quantity of the leaves t...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Possibility of camas being raised in Edmonton, Alberta
September 18, 2007 - I live in Edmonton, Alberta, and wish to find out how "Camassia (leichtlinii white) will fare in this zone.
view the full question and answer

Why does newly transplanted Brazos Penstemon look bad
June 09, 2015 - I bought Brazos penstemon from a nursery as well as several other drought resistant plants. I have noticed new buds on the salvia and blanket flower and changes in leaf color on the kaleidoscope, but...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.