Anyone have Pinky Winky?? How is it doing??

sandykk(z6 MD)June 22, 2007

This was in my inbox in a gardening newsletter today. Just when I think I have everyone I wanted!!

Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'

Wonderful for Drying

I believe the best hydrangeas for drying are a class of hydrangeas known as tree hydrangeas (H. paniculata) and its varieties. Some varieties are commonly called P.G. or Pee Gee hydrangeas. I remember from my childhood every fall we had a huge vase full of cone-shaped blooms of dried Pee Gee Hydrangeas. We cut them at the end of August when the blooms were just turning reddish and we often mixed them with other dried flowers such as ornamental grasses and cat tails. The blooms went directly from the garden into the vase without any water at all. The vase went away for Christmas and came back in January and lasted all winter long.

Through the years paniculata hydrangeas have gone in and out of popularity. The several new and improved varieties (with flower colors beyond the standard white) that have been introduced from Holland and Belgium have increased the popularity of this group of hydrangeas. Especially popular is the variety Limelight with its lime green flowers. This week we are featuring another new variety with a particularly unusual flower color, Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'.

Unique Two-toned Flowers

The flowers of 'Pinky Winky' are truly unique two-toned pink and white. As the flower heads continue to grow through the summer, the older flowers turn dark pink and the new flowers unfurl white. At maturity the blooms have grown an incredible 16 inches long - the largest of any Pee Gee type hydrangea. The flowers start a bit earlier than most other Hydrangea paniculata varieties and they are prolifically borne; they literally cover the plant. As an added bonus, the flower heads are held upright on strong RED stems that don't droop like the older Hydrangea paniculata varieties.

Paniculata hydrangeas require thoughtful care as to placement. They look great on a hill in a distance planted in masses of 3-7 plants. They work well as tall hedges. They are also excellent planted singly as an accent, often at the corner of a building. They bloom from July all the way through autumn. They are reported to prefer moist soil; my experience has been that they do best in very well-drained conditions once established. They can be pruned into either a single stemmed 8 foot tree, a multi-stemmed 6-18 foot shrub or cut low to the ground every spring and grown as a dense 4 foot bush. Because Hydrangea paniculata blooms on the current season's growth, pruning can be accomplished in fall or spring.

Planting and Care

This hardy and reliable plant will be rewarding to even the most negligent gardener.

Plant spring to fall.

Prefers full sun to part shade. Partial shade is best in the south. More shade tolerant than generally believed.

Plant 10' apart in moist, well-drained soil.

Established plants are very drought tolerant. Water regularly until established.

Hardy in Zones 3-8. The most winter hardy of the hydrangeas.

Fertilize with Cotton Seed Meal and Kelp Meal in early spring and late fall

When necessary, prune in late fall or early spring.

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ostrich(3a AB)

Sorry, I don't have a Pinky Winky, but I am also DYING to lay my hands on one too!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 10:31PM
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I have Pinky Winky, 2 of them actually. Unfortunately, I just planted them this year (1 only 2 weeks ago), so they haven't bloomed for me yet.

Aren't you glad I responded since I can't answer any of your questions? :~)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 6:16AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Bogie, how big are your Pinky Winky's? And also, where did you get them from please?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 7:34AM
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sandykk(z6 MD)

I picked up one today, couldn't resist. They had two sizes $28 and $38, went for the bigger one. Bet it is going to be a winner, red stems and this one has some nice blooms on it, not opened yet. Carroll Gardens and they do mail order.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 9:03PM
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One PW I got at the local Agway in a 1.5 gallon pot. The other one I got at Moonshine Design Nursery; it is slightly smaller and was sent semi-bareroot. Both plants transplanted well for me.

I looked yesterday and the larger one (about 2 ft tall) has set a bunch of buds and should bloom in the next couple of weeks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Moonshine Design Pinky Winky

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 6:17AM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

I got a 'Pinky Winky' mail-order two years ago; it was just a couple of small sticks when it arrived. Until a month ago it lived in a pot because we hadn't decided where to plant it. Occasionally it dried out, it was rarely fed, and still it produced a crop of flowers. The flowers and the leaves aged to beautiful shades of burgundy in autumn. A really good plant, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 7:29AM
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I planted a small Pinky Winky in the fall of last year, and it wintered over very nicely in the ground and is currently growing and forming flower buds. I got it very reasonably on ebay--seems like it was about $12 or maybe less. I am excited to see it bloom soon!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 9:52AM
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tholtz(6 Canada)

I just purchased a Pinky Winky at Loblaws in Ontario, Canada, for $17.00. It's about 3 or 4 ft. tall and has seveal blooms on it. I am very excited to see it change color! It was such a great price, I'd love to get another one if there are any left!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 8:59PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Ooooooooooooooooh! Tholtz! You are making me (among many others here, I am sure! LOL) so jealous!!! $17 for a 3-4 ft tall Pinky Winky? That is outrageously cheap!!! Please post some pics!!!

P.S. Are plants generally cheaper in Canada? Or not really?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:32PM
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We have nice looking Pinky Winky's at our local Home Depot store. Tons of them. Odd place for them? Anyway, haven't been there in the last few weeks, but they must have had two dozen of them (2-3 feet tall) for $6.99.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 11:46PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

WHAT!? nd_garden_gal_71, you have a ton of Pinky Winky at your local HD stores??? I am green with envy! Now, are you in ND? North Dakota? Is that where it is? Are you serious that they are selling 2-3' PD's for $6.99? It'd be a crime not to get one then!!!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 12:08AM
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Both my larger and smaller Pinky Winky's have started blooming. The small one looks really funny since the bloom is bigger than the rest of the plant. The larger PW has some white and some very pale pink at this point.

Now the next big test is to see how they fare over the winter.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 6:15AM
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Both Home Depot and Lowe's have/had them here in SW Ohio. I bought one earlier in the summer and it's doing well growth-wise. Blooms were few, small, and unremarkable which doesn't surprise me considering the small plant.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 6:57AM
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Yes, North Dakota. I can't imagine why they wouldn't be in everyone's Home Depot? Yes, our Lowe's store had them as well, but they sold out of them a while ago.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 8:39PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

GOOD GRIEF! Garden gal and mrgpag, you are both making me very, very envious!!!

Now, if only some kind soul would post a pic here and put me out of my misery!!! LOL

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:41PM
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'Now, if only some kind soul would post a pic here and put me out of my misery!!! '

I could post a nice picture of Home Depot. Will it help?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 12:24AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

GEORGE!!! No, I want a nice picture of Lowe's instead.... :-)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 7:29AM
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I've checked both Lowes and Home Depot - no luck! Does anyone know where you can find Pinky Winky in Massachusetts?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 6:23PM
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silvergold(z5a WI)

I would post a picture but mine is too small and the blooms are already faded. Just planted this spring. Hopefully I can get a good picture next year.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 5:17PM
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I have two Pinkie Winkies that I bought last year. One is doing fabulous but has yet to change to a two tone. The other is not so good with insignificant flowers. If it's a Paniculata, I have grown it, over the years. It seems to me each one, even within the same variety, has its own quirky personality, like people. Half the fun is figuring out what each one needs to do it's best, given the enviornment.

I have a highly indpendent 7X7 Limelight that thrives on neglect and blooms like crazy and another that needs to be cut back by a third, fed and watered or it pouts. Maybe it was an abused seedling. I am only half joking. :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 3:44PM
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I just planted three shrubs a couple weeks ago.
They were budding when I planted them, and now starting to flower. Yeh!!

So far I'm very impressed.
Can I expect the blooms to last a couple months?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 5:00PM
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I recently planted four Pinky Winky hydrangeas that I
found at our new Home Depot. Their blooms were huge when
I bought them and are now starting to turn pinkish. I just
love them. The Limelight and Tardiva are other favorites.
I just love these hydrangeas because they bloom on new

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 9:44PM
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I as well purchased Pinky Winky last fall.
This is in Canada, zone four

I was worried about the plants survival and did put lots of mulch around the plant.

It looks terrific this year, of course not all that large yet, but there are eight very large blooms on the shrub, and they are just beginning to get some pink showing on the lower part of the flower.

I put in Annabel as well but did not put much mulch on it, and it is not in the same location. It is just hanging on. Will cover it with more mulch this year in the fall.

I as well purchased that green plant of hydrangea Limelight but have not yet planted it.

New to Hydrangea myself. But they are a show stopper in the garden it seems to me

Have to be careful in my garden for hardiness.

Pleased to have this forum to learn more

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 11:07PM
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Can someone speak about the watering needs of pinky winky?

My newly planted shrubs are showing some yellow leaves. I've been watering every 2 days because of the heat. Its in southern, full sun exposure. You think I'm watering too much?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 10:39AM
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I have two in my yard and about 20 in a planting at the arboretum, and they are doing fine but the flowers have yet to resemble anything close to what you see advertised. Average size flowers with just a hint of pink - rather typical of the species.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:20PM
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I was told I could plant pinky winky in full sun. Can you verify this?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:48PM
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Hi Lydiajean - Pinky Winky is a paniculata & is supposed to be able to handle full/sun - in our zone all of my 7 H paniculatas are in f/s exposure ... even my 2 Tardivas, known as late bloomers, started flashing in July in the past 3 seasons.

Marshall - Your comment posted Aug 7 '08:
"they are doing fine but the flowers have yet to resemble anything close to what you see advertised."

I'm glad I opened this thread as Pinky Winky is in my wish list for this year ... will perhaps wait before investing. How old are yours, do you suppose the multi-pink color of her blossoms will appear with age?


    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:42PM
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I planted Pinky Winky in full sun last spring. It was a small plant I received through mail order. In my area it wasn't available in the nursery until mid-summer. It made it through the winter which was nastier than usual. The leaves are beginning to emerge now. I have some fencing around it because the deer like to chew on it. It did experience some leaf spotting on lower leaves last summer and I removed those. It didn't wilt in the hot sun like my macrophylla did and that one has shade for part of the day.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:06AM
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I just planted 2 Pinky Winky's two days ago in different locations and both are showing brown curled leaves. What am I doing wrong?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 9:58AM
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We have about 10 PinkyWinkies we planted last year thoughout our landscaping. No winter protection, we live in an open water area, and they are doing great. Leaves are beautiful green, stems are red. Just starting to show some buds now. They were gorgeous last year with huge flowers that were an array of color from white to deep burgandy.

kjwill, to answer your question, I think they need more water. They are more drought tolerant once established. I notice some of the curled leaves as well even though I watered but our spring was very dry, but since we have had quite a bit of rain in the last month or so, there is no more curled leaves. The plants looks amazingly healthy. I will post some pictures when they have bloomed.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 8:03AM
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Do Pinky Winky stems stay red in winter?
How does it do if flower heads left on during winter?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 5:04PM
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In winter Pinky Winky's flower heads are brown as are the stems in my garden. Pinky Winky is the left shrub in the photo (sorry for the poor quality, but it was the best I could find of this plant in winter.) I like the brown blossoms as a contrast to the white snow and evergreens nearby, so I don't trim them off until early spring. I don't find that leaving the flower heads on causes stem breakage in heavy snow or any other problems, and the flower heads hold on until I cut them off.

In the future, you may get better response if you start a new thread. The place do that is on the main page of this forum, all the way down to the bottom.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:27PM
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