Hydrangea ‘Pink Winky’ Standard and Hydrangea ‘Bobo.’

Hydrangea ‘Pink Winky’ Standard and Hydrangea ‘Bobo.’

Gardening: Invasion of the Coneheads

Paniculata hydrangeas so hardy they survive in Winnipeg.

There’s a new hydrangea in town and like the Coneheads of 1970s’ Saturday Night Live fame, they’re a little bit different.

No, they won’t be giving out six-packs of beer and fried eggs for Halloween, but just about everything else they do is a little strange for a hydrangea.

First of all, they are very easy to grow, which will be a pleasant surprise for those of you burdened with the ‘hydrangea curse’.

Partial shade will no longer be necessary for beautiful flowers, as Hydrangea paniculata is quite sun-tolerant as long as the soil isn’t too dry.

They tolerate the ‘hacking husband’ or ‘choppy significant other’ as long as they choose to do their bludgeoning in early spring, as this species blooms on new wood and performs better with a hard pruning.

With the exception of the old-fashioned ‘PeeGee’ or ‘Grandiflora’ cultivar, they are not particularly prone to flopping over with heavy flower heads like those ‘Annabelle’ or Hydrangea arborescens types.

Some might complain that the flower colour is a bit limited with its pinks, whites, greens, and deep rose hues (including bicolors) – but given that Mophead hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) change colour with pH and even ‘Nikko Blue’ can be pink in slightly alkaline soils, I believe it’s a moot point.

Paniculata hydrangeas are also so incredibly hardy (Zone 3) that they survive in Winnipeg, meaning that given the right sized pot, they make great container specimens here in coastal British Columbia.

A few compact cultivars ideal for pots include ‘Bobo’, ‘Little Lamb’, ‘Bombshell’, ‘Little Lime’ and the new ‘Little Quick Fire,’ with its white fading to pink blooms.

That hardiness, coupled with stem rigidity, also means that this species is ideal for training into standard or tree forms with three- to four-foot clear stems supporting the crown.

These make great patio features where large trees might overcrowd and they can be underplanted with summer flowers or perennials.

Most of the newer introductions are Proven Winner selections with ‘Limelight’ (elegant lime green flowers), ‘Quick Fire’ (early blooming) and ‘Pinky Winky’ (white / pink blossoms), proving themselves to be reliable over the past few years.

A new introduction (besides the aforementioned ‘Little Quick Fire’) for this fall is ‘Fire Light,’ with large bicolor blooms of white fading to a deep rose-pink.

Also worth looking for are some of the older varieties with more open flower structures such as ‘Brussel’s Lace’ (semi-dwarf), ‘Kyushu’ (lacy flower structure), ‘White Moth’ (ages to pale green), ‘Tardiva’ (cream flowers) and ‘Pink Diamond’ (fades to pink).

For those of you with lots of room and a desire for larger shrubs try ‘Phantom’ (huge non-floppy blossoms) or one of two French cultivars – ‘Great Star’ (also known as ‘La Vasterival’), with its large starry florets that resemble butterflies or ‘Vanilla Strawberry,’ with its spectacular bicolor blooms of rosy-pink with a white tip.

So when you take into consideration all the benefits of Hydrangea paniculata – cold hardiness, ease of care, sun tolerance, good in containers, blooms on new wood and tolerates hard pruning – it’s no wonder that it has become the top-selling hydrangea species for the past five years.

Sure, it might mean a few more Coneheads in your neighborhood, but is that any worse than the guy who waters his garden in nothing but a Speedo, or the woman who cuts the lawn in her bathrobe and curlers? I think not.

 

– Mike Lascelle is a local nursery manager and gardening author (hebe_acer@hotmail.com).

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Howard Done and his wife were walking through the Yennadon neighbourhood of Maple Ridge, when they encountered this young buck relaxing in the grass on a vacant lot at the corner of 232nd Street and 128th Avenue. "He didn't seem to be bothered by any of the traffic, pedestrians or dogs," Done noted. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Young buck caught lounging in Yennadon

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and all others in the province have been closed to services by a public health order. (Google)
Churchgoers question closure in latest health orders

Pitt Meadows pastor notes soccer club can still rent church gymnasium

The employees of Maple Ridge Hyundai pose around their coat donation box. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Hyundai dealership holds coat drive

Business aim to collect 100 coats for local Salvation Army in second year of charity initiative

Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, is renting two additional facilities because of the COVID-19 provincial guidelines. (The News/files)
New COVID guidelines creates storage issues for Maple Ridge food bank

Must store non-perishables for two days before being able to hand it out to clients

There have been COVID-19 exposure events at three more schools. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure events at three more schools

Maple Ridge schools exposed to the virus

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Most Read