Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
Hydrangeas [hy-DRAIN-gee-ahs] are a group of deciduous shrubs, highly valued for their abundant green foliage and their large flower clusters that bloom in summer and fall. Some of the many kinds of garden hydrangeas come from Asia. One of the most popular of these is the Panicle Hydrangea that is grown as both a shrub and a small tree in residential yards and gardens. Fast growers, panicle hydrangeas are showy, offering huge flower clusters in mid-summer when very little else is in bloom. They remain attractive well into autumn. Commonly available at nurseries, they are vigorous and remarkably care free.
Size: Panicle hydrangeas vary in height, depending on the variety. The `Grandiflora' ("PeeGee") types are often trained to a single stem to form small trees. They are capable of growing as tall as 15 to 30 feet and as wide as 10 to feet at maturity. Multi-stemmed panicle varieties may reach 10 or 12 feet in height and width after 10 years.
Foliage: The leaves of panicle hydrangeas are typically from 3 to 6 inches long and are arranged opposite each other on their handsomely colored, streaked stems. About 1 1/2 to 3 inches wide, they are shaped like wide ovals. They are usually dark green with toothed edges and prominent veins. They may turn yellowish in fall, but give no seasonal show before they drop off for winter.
Flowers and Fruit: Panicle hydrangeas flower in mid-summer, after their leaves have emerged. Their tiny off-white florets bloom in pyramidal clusters that may be as long as 6 to 10 inches. As the season progresses these blooms turn a pinkish-purple, then brown. They continue to hang on the shrub well into winter, providing some decorative interest in the yard during winter months. The first pink colored types of panicle hydrangeas have been developed in Belgium. Called `Burgundy Lace' and `Pink Diamond', they are not yet available in the United States.
Panicle Hydrangea Choices
`Grandiflora' (nicknamed PeeGee) is the largest and most vigorous; `Praecox' blooms earlier, has stronger stems; `Tardiva' flowers quite late summer and is increasingly common in nurseries. `Unique' and `White Moth' are also recommended.
For more information see file on Selecting Shrubs.