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Instructions: Pee Gee Hydrangea

Care Upon Arrival
Bare-root plants need special care upon arrival. Please read the following instructions to help your new plant get off to a good start.

The plant you have received is in semi-dormant condition, and it is normal to see little or no visible growth. Upon arrival, open the packaging and check to make sure the roots feel moist. If they are dry, sprinkle the roots with water until they are moist but not soaked. If you have any questions about the appearance or condition of your plant when it arrives, please call us as soon as possible. The plant's roots should not be exposed to wind or sun. If the ground is still frozen, or you are not ready to plant, soak the roots in a bucket of lukewarm water for up to 24 hours (no longer).

Remove the plant from the water and wrap the roots in damp newspaper. You can then delay planting for a week or two if you keep the roots moist and in a dark, cool place where the temperature is above freezing. If the weather is warm, it is best to plant immediately.

Do not store a dormant bareroot plant in a warm place, such as in your house, for more than a week or so. Warm temperatures will cause the plant to come out of dormancy, making if more susceptible to damage by cold spring weather than plants kept cool (ideally 35 to 40 degrees F).

About the Variety
The Pee Gee Hydrangea is a fast-growing shrub noted for its impressive display of large white flowers, which appear in late summer, when very few other shrubs are in bloom. The flowers are excellent for dried flower arrangements. In fall, the foliage turns to a bronze color and flowers fade to a pinkish-bronze. This shrub is recommended for zones 4-8.

Hydrangea Care
For best success, here's how to care for your new hydrangea:

  • Plant in partial shade.
  • Use plenty of organic matter when planting.
  • Water frequently until well-established.
Choosing the Planting Site
This hydrangea grows 8 to 10 feet high, making it an excellent plant for borders, a foundation planting, or to provide a backdrop for other flowering plants. Pee Gee Hydrangeas prefer a partially shaded location or a northern exposure. They can tolerate full sun only in areas with cooler summers.

Growing in a Container
In Zones 5-8, this hydrangea is suitable for growing in a large container, as long as it has good drainage. Tall plants need heavier soil to keep them from tipping over. Add some sand to the bottom of the container if overall weight is not an issue. To help reduce watering chores, consider self-watering planters. Do not use regular garden soil or topsoil for containers. It tends to become compacted and will not drain properly. Use potting soil that is made for pots and planters. Always pre-moisten the soil before putting it in the planters. If your mix contains sphagnum peat, you’ll find warm water works best. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, be sure to drain the container of any excess water before winter sets in.

Drainage
Good drainage is characterized by the soil's ability to retain sufficient moisture to nourish the root system while still being able to drain off excess moisture. Hydrangeas will not thrive in soggy or overly dry soil. Before planting, dig a hole about 24 inches in diameter by 12 inches deep. Fill the hole with water. If the water has not drained after one hour, amend the soil to improve the drainage or select another location.

Planting
1. Dig a planting hole approximately 12 inches deep and 24 inches wide. Hydrangeas prefer loamy, well-drained, acidic soil (pH 4.5 to 6.5) enriched liberally with organic matter. We recommend adding compost to the planting hole.

2. When planting, place the top of the root ball level with the surface of the hole. The top layer of roots should be a few inches below the surface. Prune broken or damaged roots. Trim long roots instead of bending. When filling in with soil, it is important to water thoroughly, but do not flood, and avoid compacting the soil around the root system. The idea is to remove air pockets, yet keep the soil porous.

Pruning
Keep each branch pruned back to the second node from the base of each branch. This will encourage a much bushier plant and keep the branches from drooping.

Watering
Deep watering once a week is far better than frequent light watering. Thorough watering encourages deep root growth, making the plant less susceptible to drought stress. Be sure to water your hydrangea regularly during the summer. Water more frequently during dry weather to keep the leaves from wilting.

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