by Millie Davenport, Horticulture Extension Agent, Home & Garden Information Center, Clemson University, 2007
Hi, I'm Millie Davenport and I'm here in the Backyard Habitat Garden of the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson which is near the koi pond in the gardens. You'll notice there's a backyard habitat garden. This is a hydrangea we're looking and we'll look at a couple of different hydrangeas today. This one is a native hydrangea. This is the smooth hydrangea. This is a native to southeastern South Carolina as well and it has really small, little flower heads to it. This particular one is the straight species arborescens. It's the most cold hardy of the hydrangeas that we grow in South Carolina. It's a really nice addition that you would grow in a shady area, very fertile soil, moist conditions definitely. Now, we've walked back up to the caboose area or the parking lot area of the South Carolina Botanical Garden. I wanted to show you some freeze damage or cold damage on a bigleaf hydrangea. Now these are not native to South Carolina or the southeast. They are actually native to the Japan and Korea area. This particular one got hit pretty hard by the freeze and they are very sensitive to winterkill. A lot of times people call and ask about why their hydrangeas are not blooming. That's a big question and unfortunately it can be because of winterkill. Another problem with hydrangeas not blooming is basically if you prune them at the wrong time. So once you do get your hydrangeas and say you do have a lot of blooms on them, you want to make sure you prune those right after they finish blooming, within a month or so after they finish blooming but definitely before August 1st. Working with the Home & Garden Information Center we get lots of questions about changing the color of your bigleaf hydrangeas. If you want to change the color of your hydrangea you'll need to get a soil test first so that we know the actual starting pH of your soil. Now to adjust that pH you'd definitely need to give us a call, once you do know the pH of your soil, at the Home & Garden Information Center, our number is 888-656-9988. We're available from 9-1 Monday through Friday. Or you can actually view information about changing your pH on your own at our web site at www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic.
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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.