Hydrangea Paniculata – Late Summer and Early Autumn’s Showy Flowering Shrub
Few flowers are as consistently showy as those of the deciduous shrubs in the genus Hydrangea. Dozens of small blooms are carried in large flat-topped or pyramid-shaped clusters in colors that range from pure or lemon white to intense pink and nearly pure blue. With their impressive flower heads, hydrangeas are among the most dramatic denizen of the garden.
Hydrangea paniculata (panicled hydrangea) bloom from July to September and flower on new growth of the season. Ideally, prune in winter to remove old inflorescences, to improve structure, and to open the plant. The species is typically 8 to 12 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Native to Japan and China, it was introduced into North America in 1862.
Grown as a specimen tree, Hydrangea paniculata can achieve a dramatic effect in the landscape. As a shrub it makes an excellent accent in the border, singly or in groups. The plant grows in half shade to full sun in a fertile, well-drained soil. Avoid overly dry or waterlogged soils. Hydrangea paniculata can be planted in early spring or the fall.
No harm comes from harvesting the flowers for long-lasting dried arrangements. In fact, this actually helps stimulate bloom the next year while preventing the winter damage that can occur when snow adds to the weight of the flower clusters.