Panicle hydrangea: varieties and features
Read the previous part. ← Types and varieties of hydrangeas, tree hydrangea
Growing hydrangeas in the North-West of Russia, part 2
Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) occurs in the wild in Japan, China, South Sakhalin in the form of trees or shrubs 2-5 meters high, and sometimes even more. This is a very unpretentious, stable species in the North-West, withstanding even very harsh winters without shelter. In our gardens, it is one of the best ornamental plants that can be grown in the form of a bush, single or multi-stemmed tree.
It can grow in one place for more than 40 years. The shoots are brown, woody quickly, which contributes to the high cold resistance of the plant. The leaves of the panicle hydrangea are more oblong than those of the treelike hydrangea, also oppositely located. Flowering occurs at the ends of most shoots of the current year and is therefore very abundant. Buds appear in end of June , but bloom very slowly, and the main flowering occurs in August and September.
The inflorescences are pyramidal in shape, consisting of a mixture of fertile and sterile flowers, first greenish, and then white or creamy. By autumn, in the sun, the inflorescences of paniculate hydrangea turn pink, turn brick, pale purple and turn slightly green again.
More recently, in Russia, mainly the garden form of the panicle hydrangea Grandiflora was grown, i.e. large-flowered, which has large, up to 30 cm long, dense inflorescences, consisting mainly of sterile flowers. A small number of fertile flowers are collected at the top of the inflorescence. They smell like honey, and during flowering there is always bees hovering... Plants can be very large.
The old varieties also gained some distribution: Kyushu, Praecox, Tardiva, but, according to most gardeners, they were inferior in decorativeness to the Grandiflora hydrangea. And abroad, this hydrangea was also the most common, and in some countries the abbreviated name: PG-Paniculata Grandiflora was synonymous with the species name paniculate hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata).
Now there is a real boom in the creation of new varieties of panicle hydrangea, and most of the previously created varieties and new products enter our market. Unfortunately, not a single variety is known that was created in Russia, although panicle hydrangea can be grown almost everywhere. It is a pity that the descriptions of new varieties usually do not indicate their significant differences, advantages and disadvantages in comparison with other varieties and, above all, with the form of Grandiflora. Usually, the description given for a certain variety can be attributed to very many other varieties, which makes it very difficult to choose a variety for purchase. Having cultivated relatively new varieties of panicle hydrangea for several years, I have not found any significant advantages over the Grandiflora hydrangea.
Although, judging by their description, almost all varieties are very resistant and winter-hardy, however, in our gardens they grow relatively recently and have not been tested under extreme weather conditions. Perhaps some of them will be less hardy than Grandiflora. The winter hardiness of adult hydrangeas of this form is simply amazing: two such hydrangeas have been growing in my garden in the suburbs of St. Petersburg for more than 30 years, reaching a height of four meters. They did not suffer even during the critical frosts of -42oC in January 1986, as well as in other unfavorable winters with very wet, cold or erratic weather. At the same time, many other plants, in particular apple trees, suffered greatly.
Features of hydrangea varieties
Panicle hydrangea Magic moonlight
Despite the similarity of the appearance of different varieties of paniculate hydrangea, they differ in growth, growth pattern and strength of shoots, size and structure of inflorescences, color, especially in the autumn period. When choosing a variety, I advise you to pay attention to the following features of the varieties.
1. All panicle hydrangeas have a conical shape of inflorescences 10-35 cm long, while there are varieties with narrower panicles of an elongated shape, and there are more rounded ones with a blunt top. The structure of the inflorescence can be different. The inflorescence can consist almost exclusively of large sterile "flowers" and be very dense, heavy (shape and size may vary slightly). But openwork inflorescences, including flowers of different types: small bisexual (fertile) and large sterile flowers, lighter, do not break off from wind and snow, do not bend.
Many gardeners value hydrangeas with large dense inflorescences more, but openwork inflorescences are more graceful, easier to combine with other plants. The combination of varieties with different structure of inflorescences looks very interesting. The most common varieties with large sterile inflorescences are: Grandiflora, Limelight, Vanille Fraise, Magical Moonlight, Phantom. Varieties with openwork inflorescences: Kyushu (Kyushu), Tardiva (Tardiva), Pink Diamond (Pink Diamond), Pinky Winky (Pinky Winky), Great Star (Great Star) and others.
2. The main color of the inflorescences of paniculate hydrangea is white. Like all hydrangeas, at the beginning of flowering, these inflorescences are green, a green tint appears even after the bisexual flowers have faded and the sterile ones have dried. But in the midst of flowering, the shade of "white" can be different. There are varieties with more snow-white "flowers" (Vanilla Fraz, Great Star) or cream (Grandiflora, Kiushu). Greenish-lemon (lime) hydrangeas (Limelight, Magic Moonlight, Silver Dollar) are popular. In some varieties, a pink hue appears already in the midst of flowering (Vanilla Fraz, Pink Diamond, Pinky Winky). In most varieties, the inflorescences turn pink by autumn The intensity of pinking, in addition to varietal characteristics, depends on the growing conditions, mainly light, and weather conditions of a given year.
An increase in temperature, illumination, direct sunlight enhances the autumn color of paniculate hydrangea inflorescences. Cultivars close to Vanilla Fraz have a brighter raspberry color compared to the brownish, brick shade of autumn Grandiflora. The varieties Magical Flame and Magical Fire acquire a burgundy color by autumn. You can create interesting compositions based on paniculate hydrangeas, built on the color nuances of different varieties.
Panicle hydrangea Vanilla fraz
3. Many varieties have more upright, strong growth, stronger shoots, less branching compared to Grandiflora, for example: Pink Diamond, Tardiva, Kiushu, Phantom. Most panicle hydrangeas in our conditions, depending on the care, and most importantly - pruning, reach a height of 2-2.5 meters, and you can grow plants up to 4 meters. Recently, shorter varieties have appeared that are convenient for small gardens and containers - Pinky Winky, Last Post, Dart's Little Dot, Bomshel and others, not exceeding 1 meter.
4. All panicle hydrangeas bloom for a very long time, already at the beginning of July their blossoming inflorescences are very decorative. Fading away, they do not lose their decorative effect, especially if the weather is not too wet, rainy. The decorative effect is completely lost only after severe frosts. At the same time, it is possible to distinguish the earlier Prakoks, Kiushu and later varieties - Tardiva.
Summing up, I can say that the growth, shape of the bush, the size of the inflorescences and even the color strongly depend on the conditions of growth, care and formation of the plant, pruning. Depending on the variety, these conditions and agricultural techniques should vary somewhat. Under optimal conditions and care, almost any variety can produce a very beautiful, proportional, stable and abundantly flowering plant. Moreover, it can be a wide bush or tree with one or more trunks.
New varieties require observation under our conditions for several years under different weather conditions, selection of optimal agricultural technology, and especially pruning. Shelter for the winter, except mulching a trunk circle, they do not require, and it is impossible to cover a large, not flexible enough plant. For most varieties, especially for standard forms and when grown in windy areas that are dangerous from the point of view of snow damage, it is necessary to tie the plants to strong supports.
The most decorative varieties in my garden are: Vanilla Fraz, Phantom, Magic Moonlight, Limelight and, of course, Grandiflora. I have several copies of them, formed in different ways.
Tatiana Popova, gardener
+7 (904) 631-55-57, +7 (812) 272-87-66
Photo by the author
Read all parts of the article Growing hydrangeas in the Northwest
Part 1: Types and varieties of hydrangeas, tree hydrangea
Part 2: Panicle hydrangea: varieties and features
Part 3: Large-leaved, petiolate and variegated hydrangeas
Part 4: Agriculture and Hydrangea Pruning
Part 5: Hydrangeas in garden design
Features of the plant and its origin
Panicle hydrangea is the most successful and correct option for self-planting at a summer cottage. In height, as already mentioned above, the bush does not even reach one and a half meters, but its flowers will envelop all the branches.
The panicle hydrangea today includes several dozen varieties, although even during the Soviet era there were no more than 5 of them.
The presented fact is primarily associated with high-tech developments, or, simply put, the process of hybridization, thanks to which today you can enjoy inflorescences of a wide variety of shades.
Hydrangea came to summer cottages from the Far East, where the shrub went through a period of "domestication" after wild life in China and Japan. By the way, now you can still find wild-growing hydrangeas in these countries, however, their growth does not even reach 1 meter.
The appearance of the garden varieties of the presented shrub allows you to use it in summer cottages in landscape design, since, if desired, the bush can be given a suitable shape with the help of timely pruning.
Basic rules of content
Hydrangeas are not capricious and need minimal maintenance. Regular and correct hydration is important.
Hydrangea dolly description and photo
The need for watering is determined primarily by weather conditions. Hydrangeas love water, but constant excessive moisture, especially at low temperatures, can provoke fungal diseases. Water it when the topsoil dries up by 1-2 cm, but the leaves have not yet begun to fade.
After the procedure, you need to weed and loosen the soil.
Dolly can withstand a short drought, but as soon as the leaves begin to wilt, she needs abundant moisture, at least 8-10 liters per plant. If this is not done, the flower can shed its buds and "dry" the panicles.
Any plant needs three basic elements for its growth and development: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). Organic residues in the soil are not able to fully meet this need - they only improve the structure of the soil.
This problem is easily solved by using a mineral complex of the complete composition of NPK. A single dose of this tuk is 20 g (matchbox) per 1 m² of land.
Three dressings are enough per season:
- at the beginning of the growing season - with a high nitrogen content
- in the middle of summer, at the beginning of flowering, - with a predominance of phosphorus
- in September to prepare for winter. In the latter case, nitrogen, which provokes the growth of green mass, should be excluded from the mineral composition, and the dose of potassium should be increased.
For lush flowering, water the hydrangea 3-4 times per season with acidified water with vinegar, citric acid, milk whey.
The image created by the panicle hydrangea is multifaceted: it will be "one of our own" both in the polished mixborder of a cottage English garden, and in an unassuming country flower garden, in a strict, regular and laconic Japanese garden.
Panicle hydrangea "go" gardens of different styles
Loose blooms such as 'Kyushu' and 'Levana' ('Butterfly') provide bees and bumblebees with easy access to fertile flowers and can be planted to attract pollinating insects to the garden. It is these varieties that are suitable for the style of the Japanese garden, since the delicacy of the inflorescences gives the bush a natural, natural look. Varieties with denser panicles will fit better into brighter and even pompous flower gardens.
Agrotechnics of hydrangea paniculata
The best place to plant is sunny with shade during the hottest hours. When planting in full sun, you will need frequent and abundant watering. Some varieties prefer partial shade. Hydrangea does not like strong winds, especially in winter. The soil needs acidic or slightly acidic, moist, well-drained, fertile. Put up with a short stagnation of water. Does not tolerate lime in the soil at all.
Planting of plants in the south is carried out in spring or autumn, in other regions the best time is autumn. Seedlings with a closed root system are planted throughout the growing season. The distance between plants is about 1 m, tall varieties are farther, and dwarf ones are closer from each other. The size of the planting pit for a young plant is 30x30, the depth is 40 cm. If necessary, drainage of 10 cm is made in dense soils. When planting, the plants are not buried. After planting, you need abundant watering and mulching of the trunk circle.
For lush flowering, it is advisable to do pruning. Pruned in early spring, before the start of sap flow, or already at the beginning of the blooming of the leaves.
Plants respond very well to regular watering, mulching of the trunk circle with peat and feeding with special fertilizers for hydrangeas.
For the winter, young plants cover and mulch the roots. In adult plants, this is done only in low-winter varieties.
I use hydrangeas very widely. They look great in any flower beds as a tapeworm, or in complex compositions with ornamental shrubs, and especially with conifers. Look great when entering a house or plot. Hydrangeas are also planted as a free-growing hedge. Dried inflorescences retain their decorative effect for a long time and are used in winter bouquets.
The variety is distinguished by large inflorescences. Under favorable conditions, they grow so large that the stems in strong winds, especially after a rainstorm, can not withstand. Therefore, it is advisable to provide protection from the wind or to strengthen the bush with supports, stretch marks.
During the rest period
An important step in the formation of a beautiful and healthy bush is pruning. Panicle hydrangea blooms on young shoots of the new season, so it is better to do this in early spring - before the start of sap flow and bud swelling.
Pre-winter pruning is allowed when the plant is already dormant - after it it is easier to cover the bush for the winter in areas with severe winters.
First of all, thin, crooked, diseased and excess shoots are removed. The main skeletal woody branches are also cut to half, or even lower. Even if 15-30 cm "stumps" remain above the ground, the Magic Candle will bloom in the summer. Moreover, extreme pruning at intervals of 5-7 years is beneficial for rejuvenating the bush.