During this time of year the best laid plans of deliveries of plant material comes to fruition. Back in July and August I consult with suppliers and everyone here at the greenhouse about when to have certain plant shipments made. A careful web of days and weeks of spaced out deliveries means some planting is assured on a timely basis every week. Then reality strikes and the shippers send things when they want to and suppliers back things up and double ship, some plants come in as frozen wonders. If only there was a flavor as frozen azalea popsicle as a kid.
So in the midst of all of the frenzy, the hydrangeas came as dormant canes. They have now begun their forcing schedule to be happy house plants for Easter. We separate the pink from the blue canes because they get different treatments to maintain their colors. After careful potting, they get adequate space on the bench because they will get big in a few months. We have to keep them wet because they are rather “unforgiving” as dry roots can easily damage them. In the same note if we over water, they can become chlorotic and leach out nutrients too fast. So I put on my “eagle eyes” every day and make sure the hydrangeas are happy. This week we give the blue plants a treatment of aluminum sulphate and some ammonium nitrate. This will be done every couple of weeks from now on to assure that the blue color shows up nicely when coming to someone’s home. The blue plants cannot get any phosphorous, so we make sure that when watering other plants we leave the blue ones alone with clear water. Pink hydrangeas seem to be happy with phosphorous and being in acidic soil, so we maintain that program for them. Just about this weekend they will be allowing us to peek at their new flower buds.