Looking for Hydrangea paniculata, which one and where to get?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAApril 17, 2010

I know I could ask on the Sh*rubs forum, but I also wanted to figure out where to go locally to purchase this p*lant, so I thought I would ask here first.

I am on the fence about which variety to purchase. I wanted something that would grow above my 6ft fence. Maybe as tall as 10ft? I have seen the blooms on Pink Dia*mond and thought they were huge, but they really didn't stay upright on their stems. I'm still considering getting it, since it also is supposed to have fall color. I wonder if there is another choice? Pinky Winky is similar but doesn't get that tall. Limelight might be ok. I really like the new Vanilla Straw*berry but I don't think it gets taller than 6 or 7 ft. Anyone have a favorite, or know of another variety to consider that would get tall enough?

I was considering going out to Weston Nurseries to see what they have, but wondered if anyone can recommend another nursery that offers good shr*ub material? I was there in the fall and they didn't have what I wanted. I was hoping to get a larger size.


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While I've seen most of the different Hydrangea panicultas available, and I
grow "Limelight", "Unique" and "Tardiva" myself, this last is my hands-down
favorite. "Tardiva" is just one heckuva tough plant: fast-growing, reaches well
over 8' - mine clears the 6' fence and tops out at about 9' - and I love the very
full, conical blooms. . .they were good enough to win me a blue ribbon in the
County Fair !

Although I can't direct you to any local nurseries in your area, I could get you
one at one of my local suppliers (2'-3', $14) and mail it up to you. . . :-)
Since they develop pretty quickly, I would recommend you NOT buy too big
a specimen - as in most cases, a smaller plant growing in place, is generally
preferable to paying extra bucks (and fussing over it more) for a larger plant.


Here is a link that might be useful: H. paniculata 'Tardiva' at MOBOT

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 3:18PM
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Vanilla Strawberry will be readily available this year and will not be any different in height than Pinky Winky or Pink Diamond (this one in my opinion is the inferior cultivar).
VS might be somewhat slow(er) than PW at the very beginning, but eventualy will be in a same 8-10' range.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 4:12PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

I have to agree with Carl on this one as I think the Tardiva blooms are a clear white blossom that is well supported on its stem. I also Love the chartreuse color of 'Limelight' and how that color accents other near by green foliage. I don't have 'Unique' but have coveted it from afar in more than one New England GW garden and is certainly on my short list.
I would like to suggest Hydrangea paniculata 'Quick Fire' as it has two very distinctive assets. First it begins blooming a full month earlier than any other H paniculata which means for us in New England July, it should be noted that as these early blooms fade they begin to turn pink rather than brown. The second asset this plant has is its fall coloring is extraordinary as its name might suggest. Its height range is listed in the 8-10' range.
If you had to choose between Pinky Winky and Vanilla Strawberry which would you choose?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 6:34PM
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I used to love Tardiva, I've got 3 and they are awfully nice; I still do like them. But Ego posted some photos of a similar one that has all sterile flowers, which I think are much nicer - the texture of the non-sterile parts of the Tardiva bloom don't have that lovely texture... Maybe he or someone else can remind us of the variety. Maybe it was Limelight, but I can't remember for sure.

I'm not so sure blooming earlier is such a good thing. When Tardiva blooms, it's a time when I really need those flowers, as most of the perennials are past that first flush of bloom.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 7:45PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

The only hydrangea I have ever seen reached that height is Tardiva. I saw a huge one at Uncanoonuc Mountain Perennials in Goffstown, NH (a place I highly recommend). It was late in the season, the last week they were open so it must have been about the second week of October, and it was covered with blooms. I bought one that day.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 8:23PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Carl, thanks for your very generous offer to send a Tardiva to me, but I think I will have an easy time finding one locally. I have heard that before, that starting with a smaller sh*rub can sometimes be better. I see on your link, that they grow quickly.

Ego, I am definitely going to buy a Vanilla Straw*berry whether I pl*ant it here or not. I really like it. I wonder what makes you think it will grow the same height as the others? All the descriptions I've read report it to grow to 6-7ft.

I have to agree with DtD, I don't think I need it blooming in July, I have a lot of other hydrangea, butterfly bushes and lilies blooming then. I like the later blooming period of August through October.

I might just have to get two hydrangeas. [g]

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 7:54AM
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Kt and Ann,
I'm hard pressed to make a suggestion about PW vs VS only because PW has a proven characteristics. It grows in our gardens for at least 4 years already and we know everything about it, while VS will be officially released only this year and may behave differently than advertised. Nevertheless, VS is already available in Europe for at least two years and I've seen many pictures of it from the real gardens, not just a promo pictures. I'd say VS is a bolder (color wise) version of PW, but in all other respects (habit, height, rate of growth) they are very similar, IMO.
In regards to its heights I could only say that if it could manage (and it did) to grow 18-24" per season in Russian z4, I have no doubts that it will do the same here in z6 :-))


"The only hydrangea I have ever seen reached that height is Tardiva."
If you'll open link at the bottom, you'll see another one, 25' tall PG :-))

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 9:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hilda, so sweet of you to offer, I'm sending you an email.

Ego, thanks for clarifying about the VS and PW. I am very surprised to hear how much growth the VS put on in one season. If the two varieties are so alike, I wonder if they take on similar fall coloring? I have seen the PW and thought the pink color turned a little darker than I was hoping for. I like the rose color the regular PG turns.

That is some huge good looking PG! I have a house in our neighborhood that has PGs growing along two sides of their property in a straight line. They are behind a solid fen*ce now although they grow at least 5 ft above the fen*ce. They were visible with a previous post and rail fen*ce for a long time. They soured my desire to have one because they were awful any time of year except when in bloom and they were uncared for and they were bare 3/4 of the way up and had ugly ugly trunks. So it was really eye opening to see that photo of a well cared for PG. [g]

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 6:14AM
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Hi prairiemoon -

I have a few hydrangea panticulata in my garden (limelight) which I got from Avant Gardens in Dartmouth - and according to their product list they have several this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Avant Garden's Hydrangea

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 2:59PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks kpaquette, I haven't been to Avant Gar*dens yet, but I keep thinking I will one of these days. Thanks for the link, I'll give it a look see. :-)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:58AM
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Ann, don't be so fast to call that PG 'good looking'.
It's outright ugly from the middle of the winter, when most of the dried panicles are gone and all gnarly strucure of the plant is revealed, till late spring when everything will be hided by the leaves. However, this is the nature of all paniculatas, not a PG only, 10-12 years old plants unless meticulously pruned every year looks undesirable in a leafless stage.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 10:21PM
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I have Little Lamb, Limelight and Quickfire. They are all great but, I like Quickfire the best. And it still has some dried flowers on it even now.

Not sure about ultimate height though, if it will get large enough for your requirements. Probably, but I think it is listed as smaller than most paniculatas.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:20AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Ego, I'll keep that in mind. I see your point, but the photo you posted, in comparison to the PGs in my neighborhood, is a jewel. [g] I am also planning on growing another shr*ub in front of it that will hide the lower branches and it is in an area that we do not see from the windows in the winter and rarely go by.

Wendy, I've seen that Quickfire in the neighborhood and it is very attractive, but I'm not sure about the height either. Limelight seems to be popular and I like the Little Lamb too. I wish I had more room. [g]

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:24AM
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Little Lamb is a very tricky plant to give a shape.
Go to the Hydrangea forum and read a very comprehensive discussion about it.
I like QF very much, but it has two cons:
-it blooms at the same time as most of macrophillas and therefore may need more careful planning of where it should be planted,
-fall color of the foliage is highly variable depending on growing conditions and there is a possibility that there are several different clones exist on a market. I got lucky, mine has gorgeous peach-apricot fall foliage, but many people reported dull greenish-yellow fall colors.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:44AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for that input ego. I am actually hoping for something that blooms after the macrophillas.

I was able to get to a nursery yesterday and checked out what they had for Hy*drangeas. They did have a 'Vanilla Straw*berry', but I wasn't impressed. Those that they had, were wimpy looking with fewer branches and leaf buds on the bare branches then other Hy*drangea they had. I forgot it was so early that you'd have to select from bare branch shrubs. They had some good looking Tardiva that were branched nicely and covered with leaf buds, for $60. I'm going to wait until next weekend and try a few more nurseries.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 5:24AM
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Ann, I could make a safe bet (I've already saw endless row of it in a white pots at one of the large growers) that this year you'll see plenty of VS at HD or Lowes, just later in a season. Granted, they will be not a very large plants, most likely in #3 container, but like all paniculatas they grow fast and $25-30 would be the most one should pay for it. And next year the same plants after one year of growth will be repotted in #5 or #7 and sold for $45-50-60. Actually, another reason why #3 is better than #5 is because you could start creating desirable shrub structure one year earlier.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 10:11PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I did check out Lowe's on Saturday before I went to the nursery and they had some kind of variegated lacecap and that was it. I will keep checking back and try HD too. I am all for getting a #3. I like spending less and most of my shrubs were purchased at #3 or smaller sizes, so that will fit right in with the rest. [g]

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 4:40AM
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