Hydrangeas forum: pinky winky hydrangea

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Aug 22, 2016 12:53 PM CST
Have just recently purchased a pinky winky panicle hydrangea in july. planted it right away and watered it regularly. It was doing fine for about a month and now it

is all dried up like it was extremely stressed because of the very warm summer. I love it and hope it is not dead. Did I plant it at the wrong time of the year? It was doing

very well until the 90 degree weather hit. It gets mostly east and west sun and some shade.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Aug 23, 2016 7:27 PM CST
Now can be a very stressful time to plant water sensitive plants like hydrangeas. Paniculatas like PW are probably the most sun tolerant hydrangeas but, plant any hydrangea in the middle of the summer and one needs to reeeeeally check it often. Between the hot sun, dry winds, lack of rain and the high temperatures, there is a lot out there now that can cause problems.

You did not say where are you but, in the southern states with really hot summer like Texas, consider placing it in a location that gets afternoon shade instead. Some people try to temporarily help the plants by covering them with umbrellas or chairs during the summer in their first summer in the garden.

To start, I would extract the plant and dump it in a bucket of water. Leave it there for several hours and then replant it. This will re-hydrate the root ball and not cause much of an issue to the roots. Then it becomes a waiting game to see if the plant produces new growth now or waits until next year. I had one that decided to wait until Spring leaf out time so, maybe, yours might survive. Now you cannot easily tell if it is dead but if you do not get leaf out by mid-to-late May in Spring 2017, the plant did not make it. You could try scratching some of the stems to see if you "see green" but, what you need to find out is if the roots are ok and that can be a difficult.

Make sure that, going forward, the plant is mulched at all times with 2-4" of organic mulch up to the drip line. Do not use rocks around the base of the shrub. And make sure that the soil is as evenly moist as possible... meaning no period of dry soil then wet soil, then back to dry soil, then wet soil, etc.

If you notice that the new leaves are wilting, that is fine as long as the leaves recover on their own by next morning. If you notice that new leaves are browning from the edges inwards, the plant needs water.

To determine if the soil needs water, during the early morning hours, use a moisture sensor or insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4" and water if the soil feels dry or almost dry. Each time you water, use about 1.5 gallons of water (1g in Spring, Fall or Winter). Water the soil -not the leaves- from the root ball outwards. When the Fall temps arrive, give them 1 gallon of water. Once the plant goes dormant, give it 1 gallon of water every 1-2 weeks (but stop if the soil freezes where you live). Then resume watering in Spring 1 gallon after you notice leaf out.

PW is an excellent choice. Hope it makes it!
[Last edited by luis_pr - Aug 24, 2016 11:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Aug 23, 2016 7:35 PM CST
Hi Daisy46, Welcome!
I think luis_pr has given you great advice! Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky®) is a gorgeous Hydrangea and I hope your plant survives to provide you with many years of enjoyment!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

Sep 1, 2016 2:17 PM CST

It has not gotten new leaves but I did scratch the branches and they are green. I have continued watering it about a gallon a day. I hope it has just gone into early

dormancy. It was doing fine for about a month when I first planted it. We live in the eastern US summer was hotter than usual this year. Thank you for all the info.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Sep 17, 2016 12:59 PM CST
Sounds good but do not water it that much (daily). Use the finger method to determine when to water. During the next 2-3 weeks, do this:

"To determine if the soil needs water, during the early morning hours, use a moisture sensor or insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4" and water if the soil feels dry or almost dry."

Each time that you water the plant, make a note in a wall calendar. After 2-3 weeks, review the calendar's notes and determine how frequently you had to water (every 2/3/4/5/etc days for example). Then set the sprinkler to water 1.5 gallons on that same frequency (every 2/3/4/5/etc days).

Use the finger method for 2-3 weeks if temps change 10-15 degrees and stay there. Eventually, reduce the amt of water per watering to 1 gallon in the Fall. When the plant goes dormant, you can reduce it further to watering once a week or once every two weeks (probably depends if it is dry or wet). Stop watering if the soil freezes and restart when it has warmed up in the Spring. When you restart, make sure the mulch is still 2-4" deep and use 1 gallon of water per watering again.

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