The Q&A Archives: "Endless Summer" Hydrangea, also Silver Lace Vine

Question: Two quetions. Endless Summer hydrangrea, I have had for two years. This year new growth was frozen off, no flowers. Should I mulch with straw for winter???
Silver Lace vine needs pruning, how far can I prune and still have about 15 feet in growth for next year?
Our area is zone 5, in northeast Kansas
Thank You

Answer: Endless Summer is unique in that it blooms early in the summer on the old growth from the year before, and hopefully again later in the season and into the fall on the new growth -- if the new growth is robust and strong. So even if it is killed back to the ground by winter weather or if spring frosts ruin the earlier set of flower buds, then it should still be able to bloom later in the season on the new growth. Sometimes it takes a new plant a year or two to settle in and become fully rooted and begin growing at its best. To encourage healthy blooming growth you need to make sure the soil stays evenly moist (like a wrung out sponge) and provide ample nutrients. An annual top dressing or two of good quality compost along with an organic mulch over the root area will help. You may also want to use a general purpose slow release granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 per the label instructions. This plant also needs some direct sun to bloom -- morning sun or very bright dappled light all day. As far as winter protection, apply a generous mulch over the root area and site the plant in a spot with shelter from the wind. If you want to try to protect the previous year's branches, you could try placing a cylinder of wire mesh around the plant and fill that with nonpacking insulating material such as dry straw or oak leaves. You can wrap the outside of the cylinder with burlap and put plastic over just the top to try to keep it as dry as possible. (Leave space for air circulation so moisture does not build up inside on warm days.) Wrap the plant in late fall after it has gone dormant. In the spring, gradually remove the insulation materials but keep them handy in case a frost threatens. Good luck with your hydrangea!

Silver lace vine is a very vigorous grower once it is established. In the late winter or early spring trim it back to the ground. This removes winter damaged stems and encourages dense new growth. It will easily and quickly regrow 15 feet or more in a season once established. It blooms on the new growth of the summer, so do not prune it during the growing season.

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