December 4, 2008

Experiment on replanting Hydrangea


As the young garden gets older, year by year the plants are changing sizes and shapes. Flowerbed carefully planned and planted one day becomes a mess - this is natural and happens in every garden everywhere the world. If you see it happening in your garden, it doesn't mean that you are a lousy gardener! This only means, that your garden needs redesigning approach again :) And this is what you do, as soon as possible. Beacuse the later you do it, the more difficult it gets.
You just take pencil and make some arrangements on the paper again :) When Autumn or Spring arrives - thats the best time to move plants - this is what you've heard, right?
I made transplanting in all possible months - so I feel like an expert now. Somebody said, that expert - this is somebody, who made all possible mistakes in his field...

Today I would like to share a picture with you - it shows the difference between Autumn and Spring transplanting of Hydrangea macrophylla. Both were bought together and planted together 3 years ago - I prune them pretty heavily every year.
When that particular bed, one year ago was in the need of reapproach, I decided this spot is perfect for Hydrangea, as they love sun in the morning and shadow in the afternoon.
Before transplanting both looked exactly the same. Hydrangea on the left was moved in the Autumn - in October. Hydrangea on the right was moved end of March/beginning of April following year. The soil was prepared in exactly the same way, at the same time.
You may judge the difference by yourself!
Left one, was thinking entire season whether she liked moving or NOT. I was expecting kind of reaction... but no... no growth, no flowers, no bye bye...
Same with majority of other plants - it may be treated as general rule, but there are always exceptions, that prove it. One of them is Robinia (mophead) - that should be moved in the spring only - it has difficulty to adapt in the cold.
Majority of plants, planted or transplanted in the Autumn, are at least 1-2 months ahead of those planted in the Spring, because even if the upper part of the plant is dormant, the roots keep growing - they stop only when soil gets frozen.
If you want your plants to grow best in the next season, it is much better to move them in the Autumn - they have much better start in the coming growing season, as they don't loose time on adaptation and roots in new place are already established.
What about your transplanting adventures?


chaiselongue said...

Yes, autumn is definitely the best time for planting shrubs and trees. It's interesting to see the comparison in your photos. The French saying is that St Catherine's day, 25 November, is when trees take root. Here, in our Mediterranean, climate the winter is the only time when the soil is damp, so roots have time to grow deep before the dry summer. All our trees and shrubs have been planted or transplanted in autumn for this reason.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Interesting experiment Ewa.

Gail said...

We transplant in the fall and into early winter in Tennessee. We get good rainfall then and the plants develop a nice root system to with stand our very hot an dry summers. Ewa, I wish the garden centers here would have more plants then but they still put the best plants out each spring!

Your garden looks lovely and I would love to have enough moisture to keep a hydrangea like yours alive!


Claude said...

I transplant everything I can in the autumn, as a rule... except for the cacti and succulents. They won't survive the winter if their roots are damaged... beautiful pics, as usual...

Victoria Cummings said...

I've had really bad luck with hydrangias, and I love them so much. I'm going to try again this year. But my Christmas cactus is blooming again and I thought of you. You gave me such good advice not to move it. It just goes and goes every year, right on schedule!

Kate said...

Transplanting and most planting, here in South Australia, is also best done in autumn and even winter so plants can settle in before the heat of spring and summer put too much stress on the roots.