Hydrangeas are universally loved by gardeners, and for those who garden in colder zones, the big favorites are the panicle hydrangeas. These are hardy even in zone 3, and they grow well right into zone 8, so everyone can enjoy them. Most of them are large, reaching perhaps 6 feet tall, so when we saw the Bobo® Hydrangea we knew that even those with small gardens could now grow these fabulous plants.
The Bobo hydrangea has rounded leaves, mid-green in color, and with serrated edges. Even out of flower (and that is only for a short time in spring) it looks lush, green and handsome. Soon you will see small, greenish clusters developing at the end of every stem, and these rapidly expand into large, panicle-shaped white flower clusters. Large is no exaggeration – these panicles are at least 10 inches long and 6 inches across at the base, tapering to a smooth tip. Each one contains over 800 white flowers, and even more tiny, fluffy flowers buried between them, creating a superb full panicle.
Many panicle hydrangeas with large clusters flop over – this is a certainly a big fault with the old-fashioned PG hydrangea. Not the Bobo Hydrangea. It has sturdy, upright stems that hold those flowers up, looking their best and turning the bush into a dome of beauty. Not only are the flowers large, but this shrub branches vigorously, so it has many flower clusters too, going right down almost to the ground. A mature plant has over 30 flower heads – a real spectacle on such a small plant.
The flowers begin green, but rapidly turn pure-white, holding that color for weeks, until the cooler nights of late summer arrive. Then they become flushed with pink, darkening steadily until the whole spike is red-purple. Only when sever cold arrives do they brown, and even then, dusted with snow, they look attractive. You can cut the flowers at almost any stage, and then hang them upside down to dry. They last months and look terrific in vases indoors all winter long.
Growing Bobo Hydrangeas
The Bobo® Hydrangea is a beautiful, richly-flowering hydrangea that only grows to about 3 feet tall, and 3 to 4 feet wide, making a full mound of foliage, smothered in flowers for month after month. For a small garden it is ideal as a specimen. In a larger one it looks great in front of taller shrubs, or mass-planted to fill larger spaces where you don’t want too much height. It’s terrific too for planting around your home beneath windows, where it will never block the view out. It also works really well in planters and containers, giving height, beauty and color.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant the Bobo Hydrangea in a sunny or partially-shaded spot in your garden. Afternoon shade is beneficial in warmer zones. It grows well in almost any soil, thriving best in richer soils with an appropriate content of organic material. Water new plants regularly, and once established plants will take some dryness, but grow best with regular watering. There are no significant pests or diseases on this plant, and it is easy to grow, even for beginner gardeners.
Once planted, the only care needed is an annual pruning in late winter, just before the new growth begins. Remove any thin, spindly twigs, and any broken or damaged branches. Cut the old flower stems back to fat buds, leaving about 4 pairs of buds. You can prune more lightly, but the flower heads will be a little smaller. If you want very large heads, cut back to just 2 pairs of buds. The flower heads will be larger, but fewer in number.
History and Origins of the Bobo Hydrangea
The Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is a tall shrub native to south-eastern parts of China. It grows wild in Korea, Japan and eastern Russia too. European and especially American gardeners have grown this plant for many years, but old-fashioned forms, such as the PG Hydrangea, have problems holding up their stems, especially if the plants have been pruned hard. Plant breeders have been working to improve this plant, and today we have the Bobo Hydrangea. This plant was selected by Johan van Huylenbroeck, a breeder from the town of Melle, in Belgium. He found it among the seedlings he was raising in his breeding program, and he knew right away just how perfect this plant was for smaller gardens, and for anywhere a smaller shrub, but still with large panicles, was wanted.
This plant was patented in 2010, and our plants are produced under license by skilled growers. Now that these improved varieties are available it makes no sense to choose cheaper, outdated forms. The demand for the Bobo Hydrangea is high, so our stock will soon be gone. Order now while we can still satisfy your need.