The Dos (and a Big Don’t) of Pruning Repeat-Blooming Hydrangeas

There is so much to love about hydrangeas. Showy blooms, cottage appeal, what’s not to love? But add in those brand-new varieties with blooms that keep on hitting all summer long, like the grand finale at a fireworks show, and you’ve got some happy gardeners. While their bloom cycle is certainly appealing, the fact that they make it a little easier on their caretakers by blooming on both new and old growth makes them no-brainers. That means you can be a little more prune-happy and things could still fare okay. 

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That being said, knowledge and restraint will get you far with this Southern-favorite flower. Give your reblooming hydrangeas their best shot at the ultimate summer floral show by pruning with care—not to mention at the right time. There are limits, after all, to even the most forgiving of varieties. 

Do: Prune in the Late Winter and Shape at the End of Summer 

Reblooming hydrangea varieties like ‘Limelight,’ ‘Endless Summer,’ and ‘Twist-n-Shout’ don’t discriminate when it comes to where their blooms originate. Old wood, new wood, it’s all the same if you’ve got that reblooming magic. For that reason, they aren’t as finicky with their pruning as the popular ‘Nikko Blue’ and other once-a-season bloomers that can miss out on their highly anticipated floral show if you prune too late. Reblooming hydrangeas should be pruned at the tail-end of winter or early spring in order to encourage lots of new growth. 

It will be time to give your hydrangea a little more attention once the summer starts to wane. “At the end of the blooming season, be sure to remove dead buds and stems, as well as shape the entire hydrangea while pruning,” says Dan Stuppiello, division merchandise manager of Live Goods at The Home Depot. Your get-ahead plan will make all the difference when next summer rolls along.

Do: Prune Flowers at the Right Spot 

Take stock of your stems before you get out the shears. According to Stuppiello, old blooms that have faded should be cut back just above new buds, so that you don’t lose any future blooms in the process. You’ll be rewarded with healthier flowers that are ready for their own moment in the sun. In order to keep the blooms coming, Stuppiello also recommends fertilizing. “An all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer is good to use in the spring,” he says. And in response to the ever-popular color question, he shares: “Small amounts of sulfur will turn the bloom a deeper blue or pink color, however sulfur will not change the color of a true white hydrangea.”

Do: Cut Weak Stems

It’s not all about the blooms. Weak stems, dead branches, and browned-to-a-crisp leaves have all got to go as soon as they’re spotted. As for blooms that have their best days behind them, you should go ahead and take care of those too. “For these types of hydrangeas, it’s encouraged to prune almost immediately after their flowers have faded,” says Stuppiello. He recommends trimming just above the new buds to ensure you keep getting that season-long bloom time you’re after.

Don’t: Guess Which Variety You Have

Rule number one in caring for your hydrangeas: Know what you’re working with. “It’s important to cater to the needs of your hydrangeas and follow the plant tag instructions to ensure optimal growth for the following season,” says Stuppiello. You should be aware of what type and variety of hydrangea you have in order to best suit its needs—starting with where it’s planted. Know your zones, stay in your lane, and whatever you do, just make sure you’ve done your hydrangea homework.

Article by Patricia Shannon for Southern Living©

Source: The Dos (and a Big Don’t) of Pruning Repeat-Blooming Hydrangeas (msn.com)

24 Genius Gardening Hacks You’ll Be Glad You Know

This collection of gardening and landscaping handy hints will give you effective new techniques to get the beautiful garden and backyard you’ve always wanted.

Saving Soil with Old Cans

For deep planters, fill the bottom with old cans and plant pots. The cans and pots improve drainage and create air pockets for better aeration and healthier soil.

Micro Greenhouse

Do you have a hard time starting seeds or cuttings? Try soda bottle greenhouses. Cut the bottom off 2-liter soda bottles and remove the labels. Each seed gets its own micro greenhouse! Remove the greenhouses once the seeds have germinated and cuttings are rooted.

Healthy Plant Hydration

Water settling at the bottom of pots can lead to root rot. To combat this problem, cut up old sponges and put them in the bottom of the pot. The sponges retain moisture and create necessary air space. They also help prevent water from flushing out the bottom. The sponge acts as a water reserve and keeps soil moist longer.

FAMILY HANDYMAN

Click source link to view all 24 garden hacks!

Article by Elizabeth Flaherty for Family Handyman©

Source: 24 Genius Gardening Hacks You’ll Be Glad You Know | Family Handyman

How to Clean That White Residue From Your Terracotta Pots

When deciding what type of container is best for growing your plants, you’ve probably at least considered traditional unglazed terracotta pots. They’ve long been a staple of at-home gardening, and for good reason: They’re relatively inexpensive, can be reused, and are porous, allowing for an exchange of air and water.

But they also have a tendency to develop white stains on the outsides of the pot. And while some people consider that part of their rustic charm, others find the film unsightly and want to get rid of it. Either way, here are a few ways to remove the white residue from the insides and outsides of terracotta pots.

© Photo: jax10289 (Shutterstock)

What is the white residue on the outside of terracotta pots?

The white film or crust that forms on the outside (or inside) of clay terracotta pots is soluble salts. Hard water (which includes most tap water) contains salts and minerals. When you use it to water your plants and it eventually evaporates, it leaves behind these salts and minerals as a white residue—kind of like what happens on shower heads.

Meanwhile, if you have softened tap water, you can still see that white stuff on the outside of your terracotta pots. But in this case, it’s likely caused by your soil fertilizer, which contains minerals. Because these clay pots are porous, the minerals from the soil seep through the pot and can appear as residue.

How to clean the white reside from terracotta pots

If you really want to thoroughly clean the pot, your best bet is to do it when the pot is empty. Otherwise, depending on the condition of the plant, you may want to consider removing it from the pot for the cleaning process—especially since there are probably also soluble salts on the inside, too.

Here are three common methods:

Vinegar

Make a solution of one part vinegar to 20 parts water. Soak the pots in the solution for about 30 minutes, then scrub any white spots and residue. Rinse thoroughly with plain water, then allow the pot to dry.

Bleach

Make a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, and use it to scrub the inside and outside of the pot. Rinse thoroughly with plain water, then allow the pot to dry.

Baking soda

Make a paste of baking soda and water and use that as a spot treatment to scrub off the white residue.

Is it OK to leave the white residue on the pot?

While it’s always a good idea to remove the white film that forms on the inside of a terracotta pot (to prevent the soluble salts from getting into the soil), leaving the residue on the outside of the pot is generally fine. According to an article in Horticulture Magazine, “salts on the outside of the pot will not harm the plant.”

Article by Elizabeth Yuko for Lifehacker©

Source: How to Clean That White Residue From Your Terracotta Pots (msn.com)