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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer'
BIG LEAF HYDRANGEA
Pronounced: hi-DRANG-gee-a mak-row-FILL-la
Sunset zones: 3b-9, 14-24, H1.
USDA zones: 4-9.
Heat zones: 9-6.
Height: 4-6 feet (1.2-2 m).
Width: 8 feet (2.5 m).
Spring to late summer.
In the maritime Northwest where soils tend to be acidic, H. 'Bailmer' produces the blue mopheads--a cluster of small flowers. While young shrubs produce flowers 4-6 inches in diameter, older shrubs give blooms as wide as 8-10 inches. Liming our acidic soil will produce pink flowers.
Deciduous, coarsely toothed, dark green, eight inch long leaves.
Rounded, deciduous shrub.
Full sun to partial shade; afternoon shade is best.
Rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Side dress with compost and manure. Add a complete organic fertilizer to the soil in spring.
Softwood cuttings in early to late summer.
Minimal pruning works best for hydrangeas. Pruning them too much may increase the size of the flowers, but the stems will be floppy. The best looking Hydrangea macrophyllas are the ones that don't have pruning attention. If you need to prune, cut all canes that are flopping on the ground back to the base, and prune crossing canes. Pruning will not help reduce the size for long. If the shrub is too big for its space, move it to a new location where it can grow to its potential glory.
Rainy Side Notes
The first repeat bloomer made this a popular hydrangea in colder areas. Here in the Northwest where our mild winters won't damage old wood, the flowering season is extended. Endless SummerTM blooms on new wood and old wood. This means it has a longer flowering period. Blooming in spring, it will flower again in fall. Michael Dirr recommends, "For continuous color, the gardener might remove one half the inflorescences, allowing the remainder to dry on the plant while the new shoots are producing flower buds for the later show."
This mildew resistant hydrangea was originally discovered in a St. Paul, Minnesota garden by a Bailey Nursery employee, Vern Black. Dirr, who named the bush Endless SummerTM, suspects it was originally bought as a florist potplant and planted out in a Minnesota garden. Bailey Nurseries, after field testing the shrub, introduced it in 2003. It is now being used to breed further remontant hydrangeas such as 'Blushing Bride', a white mophead that turns pink as the flower ages.
Photographed in author's garden.