Contact Us Host an Event 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
1 rating

Friday - July 09, 2010

From: Saratoga Springs, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Soils, Shrubs
Title: Plants to replace hydrangeas in a wet area in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Smarty, Two years ago I planted 4 Endless Summer Hydrangas in front of the front porch of my summer cottage on Saratoga Lake. The first year they struggled the second they are limp. Can you give me a Hydranga that would be able to withstand lake front winds as well as extreme cold? I tried protecting the plants,but to no avail. I want something that flowers and is strong. The soil is good, but does get a abundance of water since we're by a natural spring.

ANSWER:

The Endless Summer hydrangea is a variety of Hydrangea macrophylla, a native of Korea and Japan.  Since our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America, we can't really be of much help with your Endless Summer hydrangea except to tell you that although it likes moist soil, it also like well-drained soil.  There are two native hydrangeas—Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea), native to the southeastern US, and Hydrangea arborescens (wild hydrangea), which is native to New York and most of the eastern part of the US.  It does grow in moist soil, but, again, it needs to be well-drained. So, I don't think you are going to be able to use hydrangeas there unless you can find a cultivated one that can tolerate having constantly wet feet.  Nonetheless, I can recommend a few New York native shrubs that that can tolerate an excess of water and do bloom.

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Rosa palustris (swamp rose)

Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)

Kalmia polifolia (bog laurel)

Ledum groenlandicum (bog Labrador tea)

Rosa acicularis (prickly rose)

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet)


Hibiscus moscheutos

Rosa palustris

Kalmia angustifolia

Kalmia polifolia

Ledum groenlandicum

Rosa acicularis

Spiraea alba

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Which plants are resistant to dog urine in Ashmore, IL??
May 21, 2012 - Which native plants are resistant to dogs urinating on them?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Ilex x attenuata (Savannah holly)
July 31, 2014 - Is it hard to take a savannah holly out of my front yard? Do the roots grow down deep or are they more shallow? I can only take a 36-40 rootball circumference because of surrounding established shru...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for constant rain
June 24, 2008 - We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

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