The beautiful blooms of Hydrangea paniculata make a stunning display during the summer months when their large panicles of flowers burst open.
H. paniculata have large, broad based flower cones rather that the rounded heads seen on H. macrophylla and they are also less sensitive to the pH of the soil. The panilcles, or cones, of flowers are made of larger, showy, sterile flowers and smaller, fertile flowers mixed together to give a lovely texture and appearance to the blooms. Flowers are born on the current seasons growth and last for several weeks with the flowers changing colour as they age.
A boom in blooms
Although first described and named in the early 1800's, there were very few varieties of H. paniculata available until much more recent times. The past 20 years has seen plant breeders show a great deal of interest in H. paniculata with many new varieties now available including some with slightly different shape and colour of flower and some with a more compact habit. In response to this boom, in 2008 the RHS completed a well received trial of H. paniculata to compare these new varieties with their older counterparts and award their Award of Garden Merit (AGM) to those select as the 'best'. This trial also looked at the effect of different pruning regimes on the flowers of H. paniculata and found that those subject to hard pruning bore fewer but larger panicles of flowers than those that were lightly pruned.
How to grow and care for Hydrangea paniculata
H. paniculata grows well in both full sun and partial shade; it will make a strong addition to a mixed border or an excellent feature plant in a patio pot or container. Once established they will tolerate drier conditions better than H. macrophylla and will grow well in most soil types. H. paniculata is very hardy and as they only flower on current seasons growth should not be effected by late spring frosts. They should be pruned in March or April either by removing the previous year's flowers only (light pruning), cutting stems back to four buds (moderate pruning) or back to two buds (hard pruning).
Top Paniculata Hydrangeas
The range of H. paniculata available is now vast, if you're struggling to choose the following are amongst our favourites:
- Hydrangea paniculata 'Magical Mont Blanc' - large, stunning cones of white flowers held on strong, compact stems
- Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' (AGM) - an outstanding selection with lime-green flowers that fade to creamy-white before blushing pink in the autumn
- Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Quick Fire' - dwarf variety with early white flowers turning pink-red as summer progresses
If you would like any advice to help you choose the right Hydrangea for your garden call into our garden centre where the team are always happy to help.