Silver Dollar Hydrangea

Planting & Care for Hydrangea Plants/Shrubs


  • These shrubs need damp soil high in organic matter.
  • Improve poor soil areas by digging in plenty of well-decayed manure or compost a few month ahead of planting.
  • Hydrangeas can be planted March-November.
  • Pick a spot that has dappled sunlight or morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • Make sure they are sheltered from frosty winds, which will damage blossoms.

Opening Plant Material

  • Completely saturate all container plants by putting in a larger container of water until stops bubbling, then remove the plant from the container.

Opening Plant Material

  • Bare Root – Cut open the bundle (top and roots are tied) and separate all the plants. Soak roots in buckets of water until planted. Each plant type will be labeled separately for identification. Do not expose the roots to sun. They should never dry out. Keep roots covered. All bare-root plants must be trimmed when planted.
  • Containers – Completely saturate all container plants by putting in a larger container of water until stops bubbling, then remove the plant from the container.

Planting Bare Root

  • Dig a hole at least 6″ wider and the same depth as the root mass. The crown or graft of the plant should be slightly higher than ground level where it was grown at the nursery.
  • Trim off the broken roots and branches.
  • Place fertilizer packets in hole (if purchased). Do not place other fertilizers in the planting hole. *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer.
  • Spread the roots and fill halfway with soil, then water until soil settles completely saturating the soil and planting pit.
  • Re-adjust plant and fill the hole with the rest of the soil.
  • Back fill the balance of the soil and water well.

Planting containers

  • Lilac Shrubs can be planted in March-November
  • Dig a hole no deeper than the depth of the container and 6″ or more wider on the sides.
  • Slide plant from pot by tapping on the bottom of the pot.
  • With shovel or knife trim bottom 2″ off of the root ball for plants in plastic containers.
  • Rotate the plant to the proper position. Never lift or move plants by the tops.
  • Place the root ball in the hole.
  • Adjust the plant height so the root crown is slightly higher than the ground.
  • Place fertilizer packets into the bottom of the hole (if purchased). *Use Our Recommended Fertilizer
  • Back-fill the hole with soil, making sure the top of the root ball is visible and slightly higher than the soil around it.
  • Firm the soil around the plant. Water well to settle soil around the root ball.
  • Water frequently when newly planted.

Pruning – After Planting

  • Bare Root – Prune ALL bare root plants to reduce transplant shock and ensure success. Pruning should occur either before or as soon after planting as possible. All pruning should be done with a sharp pruning shears.
  • Containers – Although it is not essential for container plants to be pruned after planting, a light pruning to remove any broken branches during shipment and improve shape will help the looks of your new planting.

Pruning – Through-out the Season

  • Follow these pruning tips for your specific type of hydrangea:
  • Hydrangea macrophylla – Cut off spent flowers in spring and remove crowding shoots.
  • Hydrangea paniculata – Prune stems to within two buds of the base in late March.
  • Hydrangea petiolaris – Cut out unwanted shoots when flowers fade. Remove a third of older stems in sping.

Watering – After Planting

  • Plants typically take approximately 6 weeks to establish new roots in your soil. During this period, water plants as often as every 2-4 days at the start and at least a minimum of once per week.
  • Beyond the 6 week establishment period, water once per week, unless rains occur.
  • Stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

Watering – Through-out the Season

  • After the first season, plants should only be watered during extended periods without rain.
  • How do you know if your plants need water? The easiest way to tell is to touch the soil around the roots. If it is moist, there is no need to water. If it is dry, give it a good soaking with the hose end (no nozzle) watering the soil only, not the leaves.
  • Stick your finger into the soil around 3” to check soil moisture.

Go to our “Plant Features & Video Tab” for more information and tips on this plant.

Pistachio Hydrangea is a unique hydrangea variety. Unlike many other hydrangea varieties, Pistachio Hydrangea offers a unique look. The lime-green flowers are adorned with scarlet red trim and a dark purple to blue center. The trifecta of flower color sets this hydrangea apart from its counter parts. The flower blooms mid summer and continues through fall. This plant is a compact grower and works well in a wide variety of plantings. If you are looking for a unique plant with beautiful eye appeal, check out Pistachio Hydrangea.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Horwack’ PP25577

Plant Type- Deciduous Shrub

Flower Color- Green to Pinkish Red with a Blue Center

Foliage Color- Green

Growth Habit- Round

Growth Rate- Moderate

Zone- 5-9

Height- 3′-4′

Spread- 3′-5′

Light- Part shade to full sun

Details- The flowers of this plant are bold and accented. This plant continuously blooms all summer and fall producing a lime-green flower with scarlet accents and a blue center. Perfect to use as cut flowers. This shrub requires regular watering.

Pruning- This flowering shrub should be pruned late winter to early spring. Pruning can be performed at different times of the year, but it may affect the number of flowers in the future. Do not remove more than one-third of the plant during a single pruning.

Other Hydrangea plant options.

  • After Midnight Hydrangea
  • Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • All Summer Beauty Hydrangea
  • Annabelle Hydrangea
  • Avant Garde Hydrangea
  • Big Daddy Hydrangea
  • Black Stem Big Leaf Hydrangea
  • Blue Billows Hydrangea
  • Blue Wave Lacecap Hydrangea
  • Bluebird Lacecap Hydrangea
  • Bobo® Hydrangea
  • Cityline® Mars Hydrangea
  • Cityline® Paris Hydrangea
  • Cityline® Rio Hydrangea
  • Cityline® Vienna Hydreangea
  • Dooley Hydrangea
  • Edgy® Orbits Hydrangea
  • Ellen Huff Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Endless Summer® Hydrangea
  • Endless Summer Bloomstruck® Hydrangea
  • Endless Summer® Blushing Bride Hydrangea
  • Endless Summer Twist N’ Shout® Hydrangea
  • Fire Light™ Hydrangea
  • Fuchsia Glow™ Hydrangea
  • Glowing Embers Hydreangea
  • Harmony Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Incrediball® Hydrangea
  • Jetstream™ Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • L.A. Dreamin’™ Hydrangea
  • Lady In Red Hydrangea
  • Let’s Dance® Big Easy Hydrangea
  • Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® Hydrangea
  • Let’s Dance® Moonlight Hydrangea
  • Let’s Dance® Rhythmic Blue Hydrangea
  • Let’s Dance® Starlight Hydrangea
  • Lil’ Annie™ Hydrangea
  • Limelight Hydrangea
  • Little Lime® Hydrangea
  • Little Quick Fire® Hydrangea
  • Miranda Climing Hydrangea
  • Moonlight Chinese Hydrangea Vine
  • Nantucket Blue™ Hydrangea
  • Pearls N’ Pink™ Hydrangea
  • PeeGee Hydrangea Compact
  • Pinky Winky™ Hydrangea
  • Quick Fire® Hydrangea
  • Royal Star™ Dolly Hydrangea
  • Royal Star™ Phantom Hydrangea
  • Royal Star™ Silver Dollar Hydrangea
  • Silver Blue Variegated Hydrangea
  • Strawberry Sundae™ Hydrangea
  • Suddenly Purple Hydrangea
  • Tiny Tuff Stuff™ Hydrangea
  • Tuff Stuff™ Hydrangea
  • Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea
  • Wedding Gown Hydrangea
  • Zebra Hydrangea
  • Zinfin Doll™ Hydrangea

Cultivars and Growers: The North American Hydrangea Test Garden

The North American Hydrangea Test Garden is home to many new hybrid varieties of hydrangeas created by national growers. Meet the newest members of the hydrangea world here:

Cultivar: ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ (Tree Form)
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: The enormous flower heads are a blend of vanilla and strawberry, held upright on red stems. Flowers emerge creamy white in mid-summer, change to pink as the night temperatures drop and finally turn strawberry red. New blooms emerge as older blooms change color, giving the plant a multicolored effect in late summer and early fall. The red coloring lasts at least 3-4 weeks. Plants grow upright, and then cascade later in the season. Excellent for fresh cut and dried flower arrangements.

Cultivar: ‘Great Star’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: Add star power to your garden with this beautiful discovery from the renowned French garden of Princess Sturdza. Flowers open to large, white, wavy, star-shaped florets that can be up to 4″ wide. The flowers are incredibly fragrant. Flowering starts mid-summer and will last until the first hard frost, providing many weeks of interest. This low maintenance shrub is a great backdrop and blends easily with other plants.

Cultivar: ‘Strawberry Sundae’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: Strawberry Sundae™ is a delicious new compact hydrangea. Flowers emerge creamy white in mid-summer, change to pink and finally to strawberry red. The fantastic flower color lasts well into fall. With its compact habit, this hydrangea adds spectacular color and impressive flowers to small space gardens or containers. It is also excellent for fresh cut and dried flower arrangements.

Cultivar: ‘Tickled Pink’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: You’ll be tickled pink by the extraordinary flowers on this hydrangea. Each bloom is completely covered by the sterile flower petals and each petal re-curves giving the blossoms a full, frilly, lacy appearance. The blooms start out white before turning rosy pink. The habit is upright and compact with a height of just 4-5′, so there is room for this beauty in any garden.

Cultivar: ‘Vanilla Strawberry’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: The enormous flower heads are a blend of vanilla and strawberry, held upright on red stems. Flowers emerge creamy white in mid-summer, change to pink as the night temperatures drop and finally turn strawberry red. New blooms emerge as older blooms change color, giving the plant a multicolored effect in late summer and early fall. The red coloring lasts at least 3-4 weeks. Plants grow upright, and then cascade later in the season. Excellent for fresh cut and dried flower arrangements.

Cultivar: ‘White Diamonds’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: With a commanding presence in the summer and fall garden, White Diamonds® is an exceptional new compact hydrangea with glistening white, upright panicles that eventually fade to lovely parchment and pink colors for dried arrangements. Smaller and more manageable than most H. paniculata, White Diamonds boasts dark green leathery foliage that displays increased heat and drought tolerance. Use as an anchor in the mixed border, plant as a hedge or in a large grouping for a magnificent effect.

Cultivar: ‘Endless Summer The Original’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Endless Summer Collection from Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: The Original, the first of the hydrangea varieties in the collection, revolutionized the way gardeners were able to incorporate hydrangeas in their landscapes. It is still the hallmark of the shrub collection and with good reason. It was the first hydrangea discovered that blooms on the previous year’s woody stems and the new season’s growth. With The Original, you get an endless summer of possibilities and incredible color from spring through fall.

Cultivar: ‘Blushing Bride’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Endless Summer Collection from Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: Just as the name suggests, Blushing Bride has pure white semi-double florets, which mature to blush pink or Carolina blue, depending on soil pH. Starting in late spring, Blushing Bride graces the garden with big round balls of soft blooms, providing an elegant touch of color in the garden all the way into fall. Long a favorite of European gardeners, Blushing Bride can serve as a focal point or can be used in the garden to separate louder, harsher colors providing harmony and ease.

Cultivar: ‘Twist-n-Shout’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Endless Summer Collection from Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: Twist-n-Shout®, the first re-blooming lacecap hydrangea, boasts picturesque deep pink or periwinkle blue hydrangea flowers (depending on soil pH) from late spring through fall. With loads of dependable blooms and intense hydrangea colors, these lacecap hydrangea have become a favorite for everyone from new gardeners to Master Gardeners! Not only are Twist-n-Shout’s blooms remarkable, the stems on these shrubs are also vivid red, adding even more interest to your landscape. The stems are incredibly sturdy to support the large blooms and keep your garden looking full all summer long.

Cultivar: ‘BloomStruck’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Endless Summer Collection from Bailey Nurseries
About the Bloom: Another great feature of BloomStruck and this collection is the ability to change the blooms’ color to your liking. Depending on soil pH, you can have vivid rose-pink or purple hydrangea flower heads. If your soil’s pH does not produce the hydrangea colors you prefer, try the Endless Summer Color Kits to change your acidity level and, in turn, change your bloom color! BloomStruck also has incredibly beautiful red-purple stems, dark green leaves with red petioles and red veins, which give great contrast to your other garden shrubs, perennials and annuals. Because of BloomStruck’s extremely strong stems, above average heat tolerance and great disease resistance – especially to powdery mildew – it is a perfect combination of beauty and hardiness for your garden!

Trade Name: Cherry Explosion
Cultivar: ‘McKay’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
Developer: McKay Nursery
About the Bloom: A new selection of a very hardy macrophylla type of Hydrangea with cherry red florets arranged in a circle with a profusion of tiny star like light pink flowers in the centers. A beautiful, rounded selection with flowers all around top to bottom. This new Hydrangea is working well in a wide range of conditions. The fall color of the foliage is burgundy when the cool weather comes on long and slow. Cherry Explosion likes protection from the hot afternoon sun. When grown in acid soils, the flower color is lavender. When this plant dies back over winter, it rebounds beautifully with each stem flowering beautifully on new wood. 3-4′ high and wide, and a bit larger in warmer climates where it does not die back in the winter. Zones 4-9

Cultivar: ‘Next Generation Firefly’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
About the Bloom: Firefly is a unique semi-double reblooming mophead with amazing bicolored flowers of red with a cream eye. These blooms almost appear painted and flower all summer long.

Cultivar: ‘L.A. Dreamin’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
About the Bloom: First macrophylla to show blue, pink and everything in between on the same plant. As L.A. Dreamin’® matures, it can bloom in shades of blue, purple, and pink—at the same time, on the same plant. Great reblooming power!

Cultivar: ‘Red Sensation’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
About the Bloom: This compact plant has shiny, green foliage and Mophead blooms which are large, light red in color and bloom through summer.

Cultivar: ‘Wedding Gown Dancing Snow’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
About the Bloom: ‘Dancing Snow’ (trade name of WEDDING GOWN) is a compact, double-flowered, lacecap cultivar that grows to 2-3’ tall and to 3-5′ wide. It is part of the DOUBLE DELIGHTS SERIES from Star Roses & Plants. Leaves (to 6″ long) are glossy green. Each flower head resembles a small bridal bouquet, hence the trade name of WEDDING GOWN.

Cultivar: ‘Fire and Ice, Wim’s Red’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
About the Bloom: Impressive three seasons of color on one plant! Blooms open cream during the spring, turn pink mid-summer and become deep red in the fall. This compact, early blooming, heat tolerant selection has attractive green foliage all season and is a must have accent, foundation or border shrub for the garden.

Cultivar: ‘Sweet Summer’
Species: Hydrangea paniculata
Source/Grower: Star Roses & Plants
About the Bloom: Mid-sized, full hydrangea with an extreme number of dense panicles of large flowers which mature from green to white in early summer and begin to shade into pink by fall. Strong stems suitable for cut flowers.

Cultivar: ‘Fuchsia Glow’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Greenleaf Nursery
About the Bloom: A repeat blooming hydrangea that provides glowing pink color without concern for soil type. This great new plant from Garden Debut® was selected for its prolific blooming, vibrant fuchsia bloom color and compact growth habit. Hardy to Zone 4.

Cultivar: ‘Nantucket Blue’
Species: Hydrangea macrophylla
Source/Grower: Greenleaf Nursery
About the Bloom: Selected for prolific blooming, vibrant bloom color and compact growth habit, this repeat blooming Hydrangea features an abundance of summertime flower clusters until frost. Flowers are blue in acidic soil and pink in alkaline soil. This vigorous grower reaches 4 to 6 feet tall and wide.

Hydrangea paniculata

Posted September 02, 2008 08:24h in Garden Plants by Andrew Bunting

August is perhaps the most challenging of all the months during the growing season for the home gardener. Perennial and annual gardens alike look tired and overgrown and many flowering shrubs and trees have finished flowering for the season. However, this time of the year is the heyday for the panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata.

For years there were very few selections of Hydrangea paniculata available to home gardeners. Generally, the peegee hydrangea was ubiquitously planted in cemeteries and home gardens. Today there are dozens of choices of cultivars of Hydrangea paniculata including diminutive cultivars, pink forms, early blooming and late blooming selections, but the peegee hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ remains one of my favorites.

Like all Hydrangea paniculata selections, ‘Grandiflora’ can either be pruned hard in the winter and maintained as a shrub or it can be allowed to grow into a very large shrub reaching up to 25 feet tall. It can also be grown as a standard, where a single stem is selected and all the growth and flowering sits atop a single stout stem.

From August and into September Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ is covered in 1-foot long conical flower heads. Each individual flower has four pure white floral bracts. This hydrangea should be planted in full sun for best flowering to occur.

In addition to Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’, I also love the new introduction called ‘Limelight’. The flowering time and size of flowers are very similar to ‘Grandiflora’, however as the new flowers emerge they are a beautiful lime-green which can really brighten a garden as the sun sets. As the flowers mature they too become massive heads of pure white flowers.

Without a doubt these are two of the most ornamental shrubs for late summer. Both cultivars have a long bloom time and as the flowers fade they take on casts of burgundy and pink and eventually become tawny brown adding interest to both the fall and winter landscape.

Plant Database


  • native to Japan and China
  • zone 3

Habit and Form

  • deciduous large shrub or small tree
  • branching resembles a fountain, branches come from one central point and cascade over
  • branches heavily & looks like branches are tangled
  • 10′ to 20′ tall with an equal spread
  • fast growth rate
  • coarse texture

Summer Foliage

  • opposite leaf arrangement, however leaves are whorled towards leaf tip
  • leaves are 3″ to 6″ long and about half as wide
  • leaves are elliptical with serrate leaf margins
  • dark green leaf color
  • high quality foliage
  • pubescent undersides especially near the veins
  • petiole up to 1″ long

Autumn Foliage

  • not ornamentally significant


  • white flowers maturing to a pink
  • blooms mid July into September
  • flowers form a cone shaped panicle
  • panicle can be up to 8″ long and 6″ wide
  • panicle is combination of unshowy fertile flowers and showy sterile flowers
  • strong scent
  • very showy


  • dry capsule
  • not ornamentally important


  • shreds when mature
  • gray brown color
  • stems are stout and reddish brown


  • full sun to partial shade; best in full sun
  • moist, well-drained soils are best
  • flowers on new wood
  • prune in winter or early spring
  • adaptable; easy to grow
  • transplants easily
  • urban tolerant

Landscape Use

  • for very showy flowering effect
  • specimen
  • groupings
  • mass plantings
  • shrub borders
  • for cut flowers


  • relatively pest and disease free
  • lacks multi-season interest
  • leaf spot, powdery mildew, scales, mites are possible

ID Features

  • opposite leaf arrangement, whorled at tips
  • large cone shaped white flowers
  • fountain shaped habit


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


‘Burgundy Lace’ and ‘Pink Diamond’ – These forms bear 8″-10″ long flower panicles composed of sterile florets colored pink. The color intensifies as the flowers age, though hot weather and sun may lessen this effect.

‘Grandiflora’ – The famous “PeeGee Hydrangea”, this plant flowers with tight heads of sterile white florets than turn pink and brown with age. This plant is often grown as a small tree, though some garden observers decry the wholesale use of this variety in landscapes.

‘Kyushu’ – This selection is a vigorous, upright shrubby plant with upright panicles of white flowers. It begins bloom earlier in the season (July) and as a young plant.

‘Limelight’ – A new introduction, this form is unique for its bright lime-green flowers which form a rounded panicle. It grows to 8′ tall and flowers profusely.

‘Praecox’ – This plant begins blooming earlier in the season (July) with loose panicles composed of both showy sterile and inconspicuous fertile florets. The effect is different than other forms and the plant reaches 15′ tall.

‘Tardiva’ – Increasingly common on the market, this plant flowers later (August) with large bloom panicles held on thick stems. It grows to 8′ tall and is often shrubby in habit.

‘Unique’ – This early-blooming, shrubby selection has large rounded panicles of white sterile florets. The blooms age to pink and the plant reaches 10′ tall. It is increasingly common in the trade.

Up until July, the hydrangea occupy a very large corner of the Garden Center somewhat overlooked. Despite their lush green spring growth, they garner the most attention when their familiar white, pink, purple, blue, and lime green blooms start showing off in the summer.

When it comes to picking out a hydrangea even we admit it can be a little intimidating. Below is more information to guide you this hydrangea season.

Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle hydrangea)

A plethora of varieties to pick from in shades of white, lime green, light pink, deep pink. Flowers start white and fade to one color or another with time. Beautiful fresh or dried in arrangements.

Browse varieties here.

Treeform Hydrangea (Panicle hydrangea – Treeform)

These are Hydrangea paniculata that have been pruned into the shape of a small tree. They have the same panicle-shaped flowers and come in the same varieties as the shrub form.

Browse varieties here.

Hydrangea macrophylla (Big-leaf hydrangea)

These have the quintessential, globular flowers many associate as a hydrangea. Excellent cut flowers.

Browse varieties here.

Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth hydrangea)

These have large leaves with rounded flowers, though they aren’t as globular as the Hydrangea macrophylla. The florets that make up the flower clusters as not as big either. Of all the hydrangeas we carry, this is the only native type. Look for the ‘Invincebelles’ planted along the barn near our cut flower and propagation beds. They have reliably bloomed for many years now.

Browse varieties here.

Hydrangea serrata (Mountain hydrangea)

Their compact habit make them an excellent choice for smaller landscapes. Intriguing, flattened lacecap flowers distinguish them from other hydrangea. We’ve found their bud hardiness is more reliable than Hydrangea macrophylla.

Browse varieties here.

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea)

They really do have lobed leaves and radiant fall foliage that resemble oak. Flowers are large upright panicles.

Browse varieties here.

Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing hydrangea)

The only hydrangea that climbs! Unique textured flowers, glossy foliage, bark interest during the winter. Look for the specimen growing on the west side of the Garden Center.

Browse varieties here.

Our Top Hydrangea Questions

1.What’s the bluest hydrangea that will grow well in Vermont?

Hydrangea serrata ‘Blue Billow’ is the most blue of the mountain hydrangeas. If you’re looking for the big-leaf blue hydrangeas (like what you see on the Cape), we’ve found Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bloomstruck’ has the hardiest buds. You will need to amend the soil to be more acidic for true blue flowers.

‘Limelight’ hydrangea

2. Does Horsford’s carry PeeGee hydrangea?

Yes, we do. PeeGee hydrangea can refer to a few different varieties but usually, it’s a full-flowered, panicle variety. Historically it has been Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’. We also recommend Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ since it’s a nice full flower and more upright than ‘Grandiflora’. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Sweet Summer’ is also a nice choice.

3. What dwarf varieties do you have?

Some of our growers’ favorites include Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’, ‘Little Lime’ and ‘Little Quickfire’.

4. What’s the hardiest hydrangea available?

The Hydrangea arborescens varieties are the hardiest. We recommend ‘Annabelle’.

5. Are hydrangea native?

Of all hydrangea we carry, only Hydrangea arborescens and its ‘nativars’ are native.

Butterflies are commonly found on hydrangea in the Garden Center

6. Do pollinators like hydrangea?

Hydrangea aren’t the highest nectar plants but pollinators do seem to like them. We see butterflies and insects enjoying the plants here at the nursery.

7. When and how do I prune hydrangea?

This varies between types:

Arborescens – cut back as far as you want in fall or early Spring. You’ll get flowers on the new growth.

Paniculata/Treeform – cut back no more than one third of the plant at a time in fall or early Spring and you’ll get flowers on the new growth. Thinning is recommended for Treeform.

Serrata and Macrophylla – Don’t cut in the fall. Wait and see how far up the stems the plant is budding out. In Spring, cut back to where they’re budding out.

Oakleaf and Climbing – prune to desired shape in early Spring.

8. How much sun do hydrangea prefer?

Overall, morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal. Most can handle more sun but they will likely require more watering.

Arborescens – can handle more shade but will bloom better with half day of sun.

Paniculata and Treeform – full half day of sun needed to bloom well. These can handle the most sun though.

Serrata, Oakleaf, and Macrophylla – half day of sun, afternoon shade preferred.

Climbing – can handle shade

The Best Hydrangeas – A Multi-Part Series for homeowners… Part 3 – Pee Gee Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) and How to Grow Them

PeeGee Hydrangeas add care-free flower power to almost any garden

Hydrangea paniculata is one of the easiest ways to get a large, long lasting, dramatic show of flowers in your garden.These Hydrangeas are very different from their Bigleaf Hydrangea cousins.These are large, fast growing woody shrubs that produce large white blooms that last all summer.They have none of the problems that Bigleaf Hydrangeas have.They are very hardy and bloom on first year branches. Most varieties are hardy to Zone 3!They also love sun and do not wilt every time the hot sun shines on them.The best thing about these Hydrangeas is that the flower very reliably and profusely.It is rare to see a PeeGee Hydrangea that doesn’t bloom well.

The Basics of PeeGee Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata)

One of the first widely planted varieties of Hydrangea paniculata was Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’.

The old favorite, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’

This quickly became known as Hydrangea “P. G.”Since then, numerous other cultivars have been introduced, but the nickname has carried through to the entire group.These days, most nurseries will reluctantly refer to all cultivars of Hydrangea paniculata as “PeeGee’s”.

One of the few drawbacks to PeeGee Hydrangeas is the lack of color choice.Flowers are almost universally white.The flower heads do have some other interesting characteristics.The flowers of most cultivars turn from white to a rose pink color toward the end of the season.This is where a lot of the cultivars differ.Some offer earlier transition to pink, others promise more pink than others.

Care and Maintenance of PeeGee Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata)

Unlike other Hydrangeas, PeeGee Hydrangeas love sun.They can take hot sun and even take partial shade.

Most blooms of Hydrangea paniculata turn pink in the late season

They will not bloom well in full shade, but they will live and bloom sporadically.Picking the perfect spot is not necessary for PeeGee’s. They are versatile and reliable in many situations.

Care of PeeGee Hydrangeas in minimal and only consists of proper pruning and trimming.Most PeeGee varieties grow fast and should be trimmed back hard every year to keep them in check.Some newer varieties are compact and do not need extensive trimming.For most PeeGee’s, one good haircut each early spring works well.Most varieties will get lanky and sprawling if not trimmed yearly.A nice thing about PeeGee’s is that you don’t need to follow any rules on trimming them.They respond well to even the roughest haircut.So, trim them each spring to the size you want and expect a few feet of new growth each season for most varieties.

The Best Varieties of PeeGee Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata)

As we discussed earlier, PeeGee Hydrangea flowers are generally white with some transition to pink as the season progresses.Most of the cultivars are offering improvements on this color transition, while some may be focusing on plant size.One of the few complaints about PeegGees is their large size and informal habit they develop if not trimmed regularly.New cultivars are available that claim to be more compact.Time will tell if this holds to be true in the garden.

Here is our rundown of the popular varieties and which we think are the best.

Grandiflora (Hydrangea paniculata ‘ Grandiflora’) – This is the classic forefather

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ in tree form

of the PeeGees.It is a reliable bloomer, but compared to some of the newer cultivars, the flowers are not as showy.The flower heads are white balls about baseball to softball size that fade to pink in the fall.It can reach a height of over 10 feet after many years and take on the habit of a small tree. In fact, you may find it in the nursery pruned into tree form.This is a great garden plant, but it has been outdone by newer introductions.

Limelight (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’) – This one of our favorites!And it’s very easy to find.Limelight gives you the most stunning flowers of all the PeeGees.

The dramatic blooms of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

These large flower heads begin to bloom with a faint green hue, thus giving this cultivar its name.The flowers then mature to pure white and in the fall, develop a pink hue.Frequent watering and lots of sun will get you the biggest, showiest flowers.The only downside to ‘Limelight’ is its size.It can get big and lanky if not trimmed yearly.So, give ‘Limelight’ a sunny spot and some room, and give it a hard trim each spring before the leaves emerge. A well established plant can easily put on 3-4 feet of new growth (with flowers!) after trimming.

A flower head of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’

Tardiva (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’).Tardiva is a lovely Hydrangea that has a similar growth habit to ‘Limelight’ that requires hard pruning each spring, but its flowers form a long open cone that is quite different than ‘Limelight’ or ‘Grandiflora’.This type of flower is the most common in the PeeGees. It gives the plant a less formal look, but the flowers are very interesting, especially at close range. As with all PeeGees, the white flower heads turn pink in late season.Other cultivars like ‘Kyushu’ and ‘Unique’ are almost identical to ‘Tardiva’.Unfortunately, while these are lovely plants, like ‘Grandiflora’, they have been outdone by newer varieties.Read on to see what improved varieties have to offer.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’

Pinky Winky (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’) – Also readily available, Pinky Winky is a significant improvement on the similar ‘Tardiva’, ‘Unique’ and ‘Kyushu’.The plant is more upright, so flower heads tend to point upward and have a deep pink hue in late season.Overall, the entire plant keeps an elegant look all season.It does not grow quite as fast as ‘Limelight’ but still give it a good trim each spring. ‘Pinky Winky’ is a real crowd pleaser.

Quick Fire (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire’) – Also readily available.Quick Fire is very similar to ‘Pinky Winky’ but claims to bloom up to one month before othe PeeGee varieties.This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it does bloom earlier.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire’

Our experience shows that the flower heads of ‘Pinky Winky’ tend to be larger and a little more showy, but overall the plants are very similar.If bloom time is more important to you, then go with ‘Quick Fire’, otherwise, ‘Pinky Winky’ won’t disappoint.

Some new introductions to mention are “Little Lime’ and “Little Quick Fire’.Both promise to be more compact varieties of their big brothers.Since these varieties are so new, we can’t say from experience if the claims are true, but it might be worth giving them a try.In case it didn’t show in our descriptions above,‘Limelight’ and ‘Pinky Winky’ are our favorites of the Hydrangea paniculata group.One other noteworthy mention is ‘Little Lamb’.This plant looks absolutely dismal in a pot at the nursery, which is why most nurseries won’t sell it.If you are lucky enough to find it, take a chance on it!

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime’

This Hydrangea will form a large rounded shrub about 5ft tall and wide and it will be covered with very dense snowballs of white fading to pink.It will take 3 or 4 years to mature, but it’s worth the wait.What makes this Hydrangea so special is its flower heads made up of tiny florets.While the flower heads are large, they have smaller features than ‘Limelight’ or ‘Grandiflora’ giving this plant a special refined look.

Overall, the PeeGee Hydrangeas are a reliable and easy to grow group of Hydrangeas.Even though we have our favorites, there is hardly a dud among all of the varieties on the market.So, go out and get one and start appreciating the flower show this year!

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