During St. Louis summers the fluffy white or pink flowers of panicle hydrangeas are easy to spot in many home landscapes.
Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are native to Japan, China, and eastern Russia where they grow on sparsely wooded mountain slopes and valleys. In the wild they can reach up to 15 feet tall with a shrubby or tree-like growth habit. Panicle hydrangeas get their name from the shape of their inflorescence, which are made up of both showy, sterile florets and smaller fertile florets. Careful breeding has resulted in the development of a myriad of cultivars, including dwarf and pink-flowering selections.
If you are considering adding panicle hydrangeas to your yard, the Kemper Center for Home Gardening recommends the following cultivars:
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’: A classic, late-blooming selection that can get quite large, reaching 8-12 feet tall. The open panicles are white and mature to rose pink.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’: Another classic panicle hydrangea that can reach 10-25 feet tall. The large, dense panicles emerge white before maturing to pale pink, but tend to flop. Also sold under the name ‘Pee Gee.’ Newer, more compact cultivars are recommended for smaller spaces.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’: Possibly the most popular cultivar available today, the creamy white blooms mature to chartreuse-green and then rose-pink. Mature plants will reach 6-8 feet tall with an equal spread. The blooms are held on sturdy stems that do not flop as badly as other cultivars. Plant of Merit.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Interhydia’ PINK DIAMOND: The blooms emerge white before maturing to shades of deep pink. Mature plants will reach 5-10 feet tall with an equal spread. The blooms are held on sturdy stems that do not flop as badly as other cultivars. Plant of Merit.
Once you’ve selected your variety of panicle hydrangea, the Kemper Center for Home Gardening also offers these tips on basic care:
- Light: Panicle hydrangeas can handle more light than most hydrangeas. They prefer full sun to part shade.
- Soil: These hydrangeas grow best in well-drained, medium soil but they take well to urban environments with poor soil.
- Water: Medium (water twice a week if no rain.)
- Pruning: Prune stems as needed in early spring before growth emerges.
- Temperature conditions: : Panicle hydrangeas bloom on new growth, so they are not affected by cold winter temperatures in the same way other hydrangeas are
Public Information Officer