Voted top plant of 2010 by the American Nursery and Landscape Association, Hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Strawberry™ is a relative of the classic PeeGee Hydrangea that produces large flower heads starting in midsummer. They begin creamy white but turn pink and then strawberry red, or even burgundy, later in the season with the cooler night temperatures. Since new flower heads continue opening into late summer, plants can display all three color stages at any one time. The blooms are borne on red stems, too, making quite a contrast against the green leaves. ‘Renhy’ PP 20,670 Shipped in a 6½″ wide x 5½″ high pot.
Because Paniculata Hydrangeas bloom on new growth, they typically flower normally even if the twigs have been killed back by frost. Plant in a sunny, well-drained spot; some early afternoon shade is beneficial in hot southern regions. Prune in late winter or early spring.
Hydrangea is a valuable genus of some 100 species of shrubs and vines grown for their large and very showy flower heads. Hydrangeas are at their best in summer and fall—a quiet time for most woody plants—and are worth having for that reason alone. For more information on Hydrangea care, click Growing Guide.