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The Endless Summer Hydrangea in Florida

Line of The Original Endless Summer hydrangea
Brian Harfe

Hydrangeas have been a staple of landscapes throughout most of the United States for decades. While most hydrangeas only bloom on “old growth” (the part of the plant that made it through the winter) the Endless Summer varieties of hydrangeas bloom on both old and new growth. The ability to bloom on stems that are currently growing greatly increases the blooming season. Endless Summer hydrangeas begin to bloom in Northern Central Florida during mid-May. While they continue to bloom throughout the spring, summer and fall (until the first frost), the bloom are intermittent after the first flush of flowers in spring.

All four varieties of Endless Summer hydrangeas grow well in north central Florida but they do not grow as high or as wide as has been reported for colder climates. They enjoy part shade and while they will grow and flower in almost full sun, they will wilt in the mid-summer sun (and then recover as the temperatures cool in the evening).

The varieties:

Original” – Flowers are pink, blue or a color in between depending on the pH of the soil the plant is grown in (see below). Mature plants can reach 4.5 feet tall.

Blushing Bride” – Flowers open as almost pure white before fading to a soft pink (the “blush” in the name). This variety can obtain heights of up to 5.5 feet in North Central Florida.

Twist-n-Shout” – This hydrangea is classified as a “lacecap” hydrangea. Lacecap hydrangea flowers have an outer ring of showy sterile flowers surrounded by an inner core of smaller fertile flowers.

Bella Anna” – the newest Endless Summer release (can be difficult to find at local retails). Flowers are magenta-pink.

Pink or Blue flowers? The color of flowers on the original Endless Summer hydrangea can be pink or blue depending on the pH of soil. To obtain blue flowers the pH should be between 5.0 and 5.8 while a soil pH of 6.5–7.0 will result in pink blooms. The pH of the soil can be controlled by adding sulfur (to decrease the pH) or lime (to increase the pH). In general, it takes ~2 growing seasons to completely change the color of blooms. In the Gainesville, Florida area most big leaf hydrangeas planted in untreated soil will produce flowers that are more pink then blue due to the high lime content of the soil.

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