Favorite Small Scale Hydrangea

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)January 8, 2010

I'm looking to plant a group of three small scale hydrangeas. Somewhere in the 3-5' range.

Hoping to get some ideas based on your favorites.

Its a nice spot with eastern exposure. No northern or westerly winds.

I'm considering:

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Pee Wee'

Hydrangea paniculata 'Dharuma'

Invincibelle Spirit

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I posted in another thread that if I could only have one hydrangea in my garden, it would be a quercifolia :-) So I'd go with the 'Pee Wee' (or 'Syke's Dwarf' or 'Little Honey'). I just believe oakleaf hydrangeas have a much broader season of interest.....I consider them a full 4 season plant.

Despite having gone through a severe cold spell early in December, my 'Little Honey' is still holding on to her foliage in glowing color. In my climate, she won't drop them until the new growth appears in spring.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 8:39AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Out of your listed choices, I'd go with the "Pee Wee" oakleaf. To my eye, oakleafs have year-round interest: Of course the flowers are lovely, and in addition foliage effect is outstanding in the summer and in the fall when they a gorgeous, rich red, and I find the rather craggy bark appealing in the winter landscape :0)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 4:10PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

'Pee Wee' flowers on old wood correct?

Also at which temperatures do the flower buds die off? I've typically seen reports of -15.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 8:03PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Alright, found out flower buds can die off at -10 degrees and flower bud die off is VERY common in zone 5....hmmm, the flowers are the best part.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Whaas, hydrangeas that flower on old growth generally do require some sort of winter protection in your zone to preserve the flower buds. Late spring freezes can also pose problems. Having said that, there have been numerous reports of zone 5 gardeners on this forum with robust, well-flowering oakleaf hydrangeas. Most have reported a need to protect the plant in winter during its period of establishment but less or no need once that period has been satisfied. IOW, they seem to be less sensitive to this issue than say Hydrangea macrophylla selections.

I'd still go with the oakleaf if it were my choice :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 9:47AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Good news is this is a little nestled area so it is well protected...might give it shot since I love Hydrangeas and I don't have oakleaf.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 11:45AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

What Gardengal said.

I have a gorgeous grouping of oakleafs that are in a rather protected area (they do get some wind in the winter, but not a whole lot). The first couple seasons I burlapped them, but I no longer do - they are now fully established. The ones that get clipped by more wind in the winter don't throw as many flowers as the ones that are more protected (it's the house that protects them from the winds).

So, I would plant them in a protected area if possible, and if not you can always winter protect them. Or, you could just grow them for the foliage effect and not worry about the flowers (truthfully, that's originally why I planted them).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 3:18PM
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