Hydrangea paniculata is one of my favorite hydrangeas.These are the hydrangeas my grandmother grew in Montreal, Canada. She also grew H. paniculata grandiflora,aka Pee Gee but I don’t have that cultivar in my garden. (soon to be rectified)
From Left, cultivars ‘Pink Diamond’ ‘Tardiva’ ‘Chantilly Lace’
The major differences in the cultivars are the size of the sterile florets and foliage, ‘Pink Diamond’ being the largest.
This hydrangea can be cut to the ground and it will grow right back and bloom late summer.(see here) I guess that is why it was the choice in her Zone 3 garden. The winter would cut everything to the ground. However, it is NOT necessary to cut it back. The flowers (pyramidal panicles) will be more profuse but smaller if left unpruned.
I also have observed H. paniculata ‘Fragrant Mountain’ given to me by Eddie Aldridge* but it seems to be a later flowering plant and it has not yet opened. Last year I observed that there was NO fragrance, but maybe this year…
*Eddie Aldridge and his father discovered and introduced the Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’. Eddie and his lovely wife Kay donated their home and acreage to establish Aldridge Botanical Gardens in Hoover Alabama. Visit if you can, it is extraordinary! Read Eddie’s book ‘A Garden of Destiny’
© All photos & text 2010
Interesting that you know Eddie Aldridge so well. I have that book too. Very nice blooms in your photo. I have two oakleaf hydrangeas that could be a Snowflake, but I plan to buy a couple at the end of the season just to make it offical.
I have a small collection of hydrangea. The garden’s oldest ones are hydrangea that I inherited when we moved in. I have never gotten this older variety to bloom, though I know the previous owner did. I think it is a kind of hydrangea that must bloom on the old wood and I have never managed to get the old branches to overwinter despite applying different measures. One of these days I will figure out just what I am doing wrong.
My other hydrangeas do well. I love how some varieties start out white and turn pink when the cool weather arrives.
Sandra, I’ve just started growing hydrangeas and all my purchases were paniculatas so it’s great to know they can be both pruned or left as is. Thus far I have “Limelight”, “QuickFire” and “Little Lamb” as well as an unknown that was already in the garden. Both QuickFire and my unknown cultivar have a lovely strong fragrance which I just discovered this very evening! Thanks for the info.
Hi Sandra, love the PG’s. I see lots of old trees around town (sure they are the species), they are so beautiful this time of year.
I am planning a hydrangea ‘border’ as a foundation planting up at Kilbourne Grove. There are a few Annabelles now, but I have planted a couple of Limelights and Quickfire, just testing to see what looks the best. I do like the Annabelles but they are a bit saggy, doesn’t seem to matter is I cut them right back or not. The paniculatas are always perky.