Saturday, March 18, 2023

GardenDC Podcast Episode 142: Hydrangea Care and Pruning

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with Lorraine Ballato, author of Success with Hydrangeas, all about hydrangea care and pruning. The plant profile is on the St. John's Wort and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events in the What's New segment. We close out with Dr. Allan Armitage who shares the Last Word on Gardening with Hydrangeas.

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SHOW NOTES: 01:16 Meet Lorraine Ballato, author of “Success with Hydrangeas.” 01:46 “I’m not what’s known as a heritage gardener.” 03:20 How Ballato got into gardening after retirement. 05:52 “Zone 6 plants for me become compost.” 07:35 How does Ballato trial hydrangeas? 08:30 Zone envy – don’t we all have it. 12:00 Giving away plants – you can still visit them. 13:15 Different types of hydrangeas and what Ballato is looking for when trialing them. 17:54 Ballato’s main focuses: temperature and stem strength. 19:01 “Even if the plant you buy only flowers for the current season… enjoy it for the first season as if it were an annual.” 23:29 Macrophylla Hydrangea – the illusive blue flower. 26:00 Your soil should be moist down to the second knuckle. 27:10 Using 10-10-10 contributes to pollution because plants aren’t going to use all of that nutrients. 29:40 “Treat them as if they were in their natural environment.” 30:37 What hydrangeas love the sun? 33:10 “If you want to hide an eyesore… put a climbing hydrangea on the ground.” 35:35 Climbing hydrangeas don’t disturb anything – but trellising might not be strong enough to support them. 39:50 “Sane pruning.” 40:10 Rebloomers were introduced to the marketplace in 2004. 42:27 Dead-heading a re-bloomer stimulates flower production along the length of the stem. 43:11 If your hydrangea looks dead, scratch it with your fingernail. 44:00 Observe your hydrangeas for a few years before working on them. 51:21 Flower color is affected by soil chemistry, regardless of what color it was when you bought it. 53:35 “I would trade my big blooms for the hardiness.” 53:55 Large flowers usually aren’t on strong enough stems. 54:43 “Size isn’t everything.” 55:57 All of Ballato’s favorite hydrangeas. 58:58 How to dry hydrangeas. 1:00:36 Dying and painting dried hydrangeas 1:01:49 “The stuff on the internet makes me crazy.” 1:03:31 St. John’s Wort: this week’s Plant Profile! 1:05:43 Garden updates: Grape Hyacinth are blooming & spring has sprung! 1:06:24 Upcoming events: Spring Garden Party at Tudor Place; White House Spring Garden Tour; Gloucester County Daffodil Festival; American Landscape Institute Scholarship Program. 1:08:36 “The Urban Garden” by Kathy Jentz and Teri Speight 1:09:36 “Groundcover Revolution” by Kathy Jentz 1:11:00 Dr. Allan Armitage shares the Last Word on “Gardening with Hydrangeas”

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

~ GardenDC Episode 60: Hydrangeas with Andrew Bunting

This episode is archived at: 

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

And be sure to leave us a 5-star review on your favorite podcast platform plus share us on social media with #GardenDC, so other gardeners can find us too!

Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Editing and Show Notes: Jessica Harden


Lorraine's book, Success with Hydrangeas, is available for order at
Note this link is connected to our Amazon affiliate account and this podcast may earn some pennies from your purchase but it will not affect your purchase price.

Episode Review: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
"The hydrangea episode was fantastic. I learned so much. I have grown hydrangeas for MANY years, but can’t wait to implement your guest’s suggestions. Excellent podcast. Thank you."
04Ry via Apple Podcasts · United States of America · 03/25/23

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