Admire blooming trees and shrubs. May is bloom time for southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). These flowers give so much, and we need to do so little for them in return. I like to pluck a magnolia bloom and float it in a bowl of water near where I read or enjoy the garden at the end of the day. It lasts but a day, but what a day it is. The Endless Summer hydrangea is the first hydrangea to bloom on old and new growth, with the ability to rebloom all summer long. I planted my Endless Summer in 2005. To encourage reblooming, cut the blooms for drying or to put in vases for a fresh arrangement. This will also encourage the plant to set new buds.Prune rhododendrons and azaleas right after flowering.
Fertilize sustainably. To encourage flowering, use a fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus.Fertilizer’s three main ingredients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or NPK.
- 10-10-10 means there is an equal proportion N, P and K.
- Hydrangeas like a low N and a high P; thus a combination of 10-40-10 would be ideal.
My general rule of thumb to remember what the numbers mean is to start with the first number and apply from the top of the plant to the bottom. As such, N is for the green, P is for the bloom and K is for the root or up and down and all around.
To refresh your understanding of pH, it refers to the acidity of the soil and is measured by the number of hydrogen ions present in the soil. It’s a logarithmic scale based on the power of 10. As such, a pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than pH of 7. Thus, even a little change in pH can make a big difference.
- A pH of 7 is neutral.
- A pH lower than than 7 is acidic.
- A ph higher than 7 is alkaline.
Most plants like a pH between 6.5 and 7. Hydrangeas like it more acidic than most plants.