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Hydrangea paniculata Polar Bear not thriving.

I bought this a few years ago for a bright enough, but shaded corner (ie no direct sunlight) where I needed a shrub of a particular size.  I am astonished at how poorly it has come on, and am wondering if it is actually in the wrong place.  I thought hydrangeas were OK in a shaded spot, and in fact it isn't more than a few feet from a lace cap hydrangea which does fine.  Does it need more sun do you think?  I thought I had done my research thoroughly but it isnt happy.  I put in a bag of stable manure into the area before planting as it's a rather dry spot by a fence, and about 10 feet from a conifer.  Any ideas?  I could probably repot it into a container given it has barely grown and is spindly and leggy.  thank you 

Posts

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,966
    I think the dryness is the problem. Hydrangeas need lots of moisture [ hence the name ]
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,897
    I think it might be dry too, especially if there's a conifer nearby as well as the fence and the other hydrangea. 
    They need lots of moisture until well established, then they can manage a bit better, but it might just be the wrong plant in the wrong place. The paniculatas should also be cut back quite hard in late winter/early spring, so you might be able to revive it if it's still viable. The flower in a different way from your other one   :)
    Have you got a photo? 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I can take one tomorrow.  So now two people have mentioned the dryness, and I feel a bit foolish for not considering that properly. I think the situation is quite tricky if it needs moisture, my other hydrangea is at the front of a bed and will pick up any rain going.  I was going to wait to cut it back till I did the other one, usually late March or so, but perhaps I will do so this week and give it a good soak. I have to say we've had a very dry summer autumn and winter down here too on top of the conifer/fence situation.  I was actually told that the whole hydra/water thing was a myth and they didn't like too much water, so that has set me straight!.  Thank you Fairygirl, and Punkdoc.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,504
    The leaves of H. Paniculata show signs of dehydration very quickly by wilting.  Last summer I was watering mine twice a day when it was very hot and dry. If you know the weather’s going to be hot and dry, water your plant in the early morning in preparation, and again later on in the day if necessary until your plant’s roots are well established and it has developed more tolerance to lack of water.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    Yes the name Hydrangea comes from the shape of the seed capsules rather than an affinity for water, however they do appreciate moist soil. My H. 'Limelight' struggled in my garden as the soil dries out too much - there was a lot of competition from perennials all around them too. Happier in containers now where I can ensure they get enough water.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,897
    I also used to think it [hydra in hydrangea] was water until some years ago when someone on the forum corrected me about the seed shape @Loxley :)
    The fact you've had long spells of dry weather will certainly have affected it adversely @adamadamant, but if you can get it thoroughly moistened , and cut back, hopefully it will recover. It may never do well though, because of the other factors.
    I don't know where you've heard that myth, but if they didn't like plenty of water, they'd die out here in the west instead of growing like weeds  ;)

    Is there any chance you could move it somewhere better too, and find a different shrub for the space?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,504
    edited February 2023
    I've got two H. paniculata Limelight in my garden. They are only 4m apart, in the same bed, but one gets more sun than the other and is competing with more shrubs.  The other is in shade all the time and has less competition.  I had to water the first one sometimes twice a day during last year's heat and drought while the other one, although much smaller, didn't seem to need that much extra watering. Interestingly, the browned flowerheads on the first one have successively fallen off during winter whist the other plant has retained all its browned flowerheads. 

    One of the sources I was looking at earlier mentioned that the Japanese call hydrangeas ‘Ajisai’ which means ‘the water drinker’. This name comes from the fact that hydrangeas require a lot of water.

    From my experience, yes they do, depending on the age and size of the plant, the soil, aspect and competition nearby!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


  • Well thank you all, I will either cut back and water now, or just cut my losses and put it in a pot, which I do have and could use. A day's pondering will help. 
    A phrase in our house is 'Gardeners are such nice people', which is based on a comment made by a friend who had started volunteering at a big garden and was loving the people, despite differing ages and other interests her colleagues had.  It is true! I have always had such positive and kind feedback on here.  In fact I am now resolved to make this comment in a thread everyone can see.  Thank you again!
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,897
    Your comment is appreciated @adamadamant ,  and I'm sure all the other contributors will feel the same  :)

    I hope you get a suitable solution though. Always a pity if something isn't working well. The pot is probably the best route to go down. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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