How good are the new hydrangeas?

brian_zn_5_ks(N.E. Kansas)January 25, 2012

or how much better?

I will be offering at least a dozen new selections this spring, mostly in the paniculatas, but I also succumbed to the gorgeous pictures of the Ball releases in the macrophyllas. Well shoot, even nursery people sit around all winter and pour over catalogs too, you know!

So all these are NEW! and IMPROVED! I have been in this business for a long time, and know that that's not always true for my customers. You gotta grow them for awhile, and see what they do in your garden.

Anyway, I'm interested in hearing what anyone has to say about any of the newer selections. Some of course are just too new to have a track record yet. But others have been out there a couple of years or so.

For example:

Quickfire - altho highly rated in a recent Fine Gardening article, I find the blossoms too small. Doesn't color pink very well in a hot Kansas summer.

Pinky Winky - hasn't colored up well for me. Stupid name, as well.

Limelight - very good, heavy bloomer. I hope Little Lime will do the same.

Incredibelle Spirit - My customers walk right past it. Color isn't bad, tho.

Let's hear what you folks think...

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Hi Brian--I have all the ones you listed. Here's my humble opinion
Quickfire -best of the lot. Blooms early. Lots of blooms.Changes to beautiful pinkish red colour after white phase.Have 5 of them. Would buy more. See a couple of pictures below.

Pinky Winky - not many blooms(could be location).later blooming.not too exciting. would not buy more.

Limelight - very good, heavy bloomer. grows big.turns nice shade of pink.would buy more.

Invincibelle Spirit - if you are expecting a copy of an annabelle in pink you may be disappointed. odd colour. not a strong grower. would not buy more.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:47AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Incredibelle Spirit's colors did not do a thing for me. Bella Anna seemed to have better shades of pink (and beige later on) but that is a personal color taste that varies from one person to another.

I would buy Limelight in a second if I had space for it. It is extremely hardy and gorgeous. Especially in a shady location where the blooms will remain green longer. I saw a handful of Little Limes at a nursery but they did not look healthy and the blooms just did not look like Limelight's so I skipped it.

QuickFire - Awesome and early flowering.

Vanilla Strawberry - Had awesome pictures but since they can be retouched, I decided to wait and see what people thought and reported. The strawberry color change is timed to occur at times when the summer is in full swing and the lack of moisture at that time has been a problem for other growers in your area (some reported going from white to brown only). So I am not impressed and remain on the lookout reading the posts.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I have the quick fire and limelight and LOVE both. I don't know if it is considered 'new' but I also have the pink diamond in tree form. I was wondering if anyone could compare it in shrub form to the quick fire? I am considering growing one. Will it grow larger than the quick fire?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:53PM
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brian_zn_5_ks(N.E. Kansas)

Excellent responses, thank you!

It is so hard for gardeners to know just what these new plants will do in their gardens - of course, that's part of the appeal, too. I do hope we can have some further discussion in this forum that can help both consumers and sellers. You would not believe (well perhaps you would) how many times I've discussed the garden performance of Endless Summer with customers...

jem - I think the Pink Diamond will wind up larger than Quickfire, both in the size of the blooms and of the plant. Pink Diamond is more reliable, for me, to get some decent pinkish blush at season's end.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 4:54PM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

I've heard people have been working on engineering color into PeeGees; needless to say I wouldn't buy any more of them until that time. Until then, climbing roses work just fine for splashes of color.

I'll have to agree with Quickfire as far as "recent winners" - mine got a bloom on every stem.

New kids on the block that impressed me:
- First Editions Great Star paniculata - HUGE blooms with unique petals up to 3-4" long apiece
- Forever & Ever Fantasia mac - PEACH colored blooms with thick durable petals, grows to 6', supposedly remontant.

Both of these doubled in size right out of the pot when planted in May...

Looking to get my hands on a Forever & Ever Pistachio this summer. I think they're more compact and should be darker in color than Fantasia. Places like Lowe's seem to get the new F&E's the year after introduction so you may see some there.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 6:18PM
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What have people heard or seen regarding the compact hydrangea "BOBO"?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 11:25AM
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My favorite newer Hydrangea is 'Twist 'n Shout.' It bloomed twice last year. I never removed the first flowers and new ones still formed.

I have Vanilla Strawberry too. I'm waiting to see the blooms this year before I judge it. It does grow well though.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 12:30AM
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My favorite is Pinky Winky its one you have to wait for it though .First year mine was purchased as a large plant in bloom then nothing the next year a few blooms the following year then tons of blooms on every branch after that and great color changes. I love that its such a late bloomer it gives me something to look forward to when everything else is done. Guickfire I moved to a out of the way spot because I love it for a few weeks then it turns a ugly color. Limelight is really slow coming on for me the sucker got smashed my snow last year and all its branchs stayed on the ground then bloomed on the ground. This year I am going to give it a hard prune and see if that gets it to put out upright branchs. Pink Diamond is stunning and ages well. It always blooms for me.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Wow, I guess I will be heading to the nursery and picking up a Quickfire next month. Those pictures are gorgeous BiggerB! I was giving up my flower bed in the back to veggies but I think I will keep it for my Lil' Miss Kim Lilac, a jackmanii clematis and a Quickfire Hydrangea. That would look nice and the combo would give me blooms for the three seasons.

I have the little lime and although I bought it just last year I have to say that it is a tough little guy. I left him out in the pot for a whole month before I could plant it and didn't water it as I should have and I thought that it had died but planted it anyways only to find new leaves on it a few weeks later. It is already budding out this year. The flowers are not panicle shaped like the limelight, they are a bit more rounded but not as round as a mac and they are still stunning. I have another one ordered that will be arriving in a few weeks that will promptly get planted.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 5:41PM
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