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 Shrubs Questions

Non-toxic evergreen shrub around duck pen
September 10, 2015 - I live in Zone 6a, and am looking for a non-toxic evergreen shrub to use around our fence that pens in our ducks. It doesn't have to be native to our particular state. I have 74 feet of fence on th...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers over roots in Roeland Park KS
June 18, 2013 - Large Hackberry tree (aprox 50+years) roots are popping up above ground making mowing under/around it impossible. Is there a plant, ground cover, something I can plant, or cover the roots with that w...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in the Southern California desert.
October 16, 2007 - We are located in southern California in Lake Havasu. I'm trying to landscape sloping areas. I have arrow weeds (Pluchea sericea) and want to get rid of them permanently. How can I achieve this or...
view the full question and answer

Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
January 03, 2014 - I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hour...
view the full question and answer

Hollies not retaining leaves in Tulsa
August 10, 2008 - I have Little Red Hollies that have lost their leaves, some areas being bald. They are also not full - you can see through them. These were planted in this condition Spring of '08 and have been wat...
view the full question and answer

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