How to care for climbing hydrangea?
WShe asks: This is a beautiful coconut scent. It can be a climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomaly subsp. Necklace), and what a good plant. It is an amazing self-contained climber that does not require roping and is therefore worth its weight in gold.
There is a lot you can do with climbing hydrangea. I covered the south-east facing wall of the house, where it blooms from ground level to the bedroom windows, but it would also work on a north facing wall. You can grow it into a tree if you wish – its little aerial roots are as happy to be able to bark as they are to a wall.
I have seen it growing under trees as a ground cover: it may have been cultivated A few feet from its intended host tree to get a better, wetter start in life, but it wandered across the country, as well as up the tree, and was allowed to pile up in gorgeous, waist-deep waves. It can be a wonderful sight and there is no reason why you can’t plant it as a forest ground cover.
Wherever you plant it, it is the most generous and vigorous of the climbers, and is always covered in June with sheets of white, sweet-smelling flowers.
I know what you’re thinking. Vigorous means spreading, and it’s true that climbing hydrangea doesn’t mess around. But it can be easily managed and kept elegantly on the wall of the house.
My method is to shorten many of the multi-headed flowering growths in summer, as soon as the flowers have faded, and cut them back into the canopy to a pair of green buds. Meanwhile, other green, non-flowering branches will form between them, bearing next year’s flowers. The shoots you cut this year will sprout and lead to flowers the following year. It is a case of setting up a growth turnover so that there is always more flowering wood.
If you don’t prune it, it will likely flower well, even if the flower clusters are a little smaller; This is what happens with unpruned hydrangea bushes – smaller flowers on larger plants. And they are growing up. Much bigger. Which may not be what you want.
Climbing hydrangeas can build a mighty wall of branches more than a meter deep, suffocating the plants below or blocking the path down the wall. Although you may like the idea in principle, it may end up housing so many bird nests that you won’t be able to sleep with the window open to the noise of the dawn chorus. That’s why you have to prune it regularly. However, even with regular pruning there will come a year when the plant becomes so chunky and bloated that it needs an overhaul. I gave one ten years ago, and it’s owed another.
Imagine cutting an old shrub back to the ground so it can grow again. In a sense, this is what you do with climbing hydrangea, except that instead of cutting it back to the ground, you cut it back to the wall, leaving an array of stems attached flat to the wall. It’s a messy winter job. Growth will be strong next year and you will be without flowers for a season. I prefer to perform rejuvenation pruning immediately after June flowering, not cutting as hard as in winter; The response is not quite as strong as after summer pruning. You can now trim the worst bulges to keep them looking neat until winter pruning.
Yes, I cut the canopy off the wall completely, but not so hard as to leave it leafless. Silly parts of weak shoots are cut while all large branches, flowering or non-flowering, are cut to a few leaves at a height of approximately 20 cm. It sounds wild and it is, but the plant quickly re-establishes itself and still has time to make some flowering buds for next year.
Winter is a good time, every year, to take a look at the growth of the plant’s surroundings, cutting or peeling its stems from windows and removing those that have crept behind drain pipes or into window frames.
Question: You wrote that agapanthus plants can be left in the same pots for years. Now I’ve heard that they should be potted regularly. Is it true?
a Agapanthus does not mind being pot bound. But, like everything else in the pot, they will slowly starve and stop flowering if not fed well, so keep the flow of liquid tomato food going through the summer.
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Penstemons and diascias will bloom continually, as long as you keep cutting off the spent flower stems that emerge from a few promising buds.
The lilies have shot their arrows, but don’t forget them. Place it in a cooler location and continue the liquid feeding until the foliage falls. Tomato food (high potash) is good. While you’re at it, feed the agapanthus and clematis planted on the walls.
Rambler roses are beautiful but sinister. Put on your gloves and tie off some of this year’s new tall shoots of growth, cutting off some of the densely flowering growth.
Lavender plants may flatten and twist in heavy rain when they are covered with flower stems. Kill them at the right time to reduce weight in the rain.