En Español

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 Non-Natives Questions

Non-flowering mimosas in Texas
July 08, 2008 - I have two mimosa trees, about 3 years old. Both were grown from volunteer seedlings. Neither have flowers nor have they produced seed pods. Are they too young or do they need a source of pollenation...
view the full question and answer

Non-native bamboo for a privacy fence in Smithville, TX
February 16, 2010 - I am considering planting bamboo along my privacy fence inside my back yard. I like the informality of it and durability. Is it safe for children and pets?
view the full question and answer

Non-native bermudagrass dying under non-native globe willow in Granbury TX
July 14, 2010 - We have a beautiful globe willow in our back yard with bermuda grass. All the grass is thinning out or dying under the tree. What can we do, is there another glass we could use that blends well with...
view the full question and answer

Is Hibiscus coccineus still considered native in Dallas, TX?
July 15, 2011 - Is Hibiscus coccineus still considered native?. I recently was told by someone with the Native Texas Plant Society that it was no longer thought to have crossed the Sabine naturally. Thoughts...
view the full question and answer

Illegal to remove an orange blossom from ground in Florida from Atlantis FL
March 28, 2012 - Is there any law that prevents someone from removing an orange blossom from the ground in Florida?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center