Hydrangea Paniculata, the panicled hydrangea, is a species of flowering plant in the family Hydrangeaceae. Hydrangea is derived from Greek, meaning ‘water vessel’, in reference to the shape of the flower blooms. Paniculata refers to the panicles (flowers on many branches.)
Panicle hydrangeas will grow and bloom in a wide variety of climates, and they are hardy from USDA growing zones 3 to 7. Unlike some other hydrangeas, panicles may be grown in full sun if they receive adequate moisture. However, they prefer a little shade during the hottest part of the afternoon, especially if conditions are on the dry side. Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch in the spring to preserve moisture in the summer. They grow best in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Any pH level will suffice, but a slightly acidic soil is ideal. They are a deciduous shrub and grow from 3 to 16 feet tall, depending on the variety.
A desirable trait of all panicle hydrangeas is their tolerance for pruning. Blooms occur on the current season’s growth, so one can prune them at any time except when they begin forming bloom heads in the summer. The panicle is the only hydrangea that can be pruned into a tree form.
Panicle hydrangeas are one of the most winter hardy of the hydrangeas,and their life span can reach 40 years. They thrive in urban conditions. The blooms are a favorite for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. They are somewhat susceptible to bud blight, bacterial wilt, leaf spot, rust and mildew, but there are no serious insect or disease problems with panicles. Aphids and mites are occasional visitors to this shrub.
‘Limelight’ has been described as one of the best panicle types because of its large, greenish-white blooms that age to vintage pink when temperatures drop. It is a dependable shrub and a prolific bloomer that can be counted on year after year. ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ is a favorite of gardeners. It was introduced in 2010 and is well-loved because of its full blooms that mature to a rich strawberry-pink color. “Quick Fire’ hydrangea has it all. It is an early blooming panicle that flowers from mid-summer through late autumn. This very hardy flowering shrub is perfect as an accent shrub, in mass plantings, as hedges, and for cut flowers.
The panicle blooms of the panicles show off in the autumn when the rest of the garden is starting to fade. The blooms are beautiful when dried and make lovely wreaths. The gardener can keep the faded flowers on the stems in the garden for winter interest.
Panicle hydrangeas offer showy, flowering beauty to any garden during two growing seasons. They are low maintenance, hardy, and attract pollinators to your garden. The result of planting a panicle hydrangea is a reliable show of gorgeous blooms every year from mid to late summer well into autumn that will accent your landscape for many years.
Carolyn Black is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 717-334-6271.
GARDEN CHATS – Adams County Master Gardeners will be holding garden chats on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm on July 17, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18 in the Trial Garden area at the Agricultural and Natural Resource Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg. Chats last about an hour. No registration is required.
GOT A GARDENING QUESTION? The Penn State Master Gardeners may be able to help. Our Hotline is open April through September on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 717-334-6271 or bring your samples for diagnosis to Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg.
MONDAY VIDEOS – Visit us on Facebook at Penn State Master Gardeners in Adams County for our recently-implemented weekly Master Gardeners’ Monday Videos. Timely and relevant topics will be discussed on a weekly basis keeping readers up-to-date on current horticultural issues.