The PG hydrangea is a greatly-loved summer and fall flowering shrub that has been a garden standard for many, many years, especially in colder regions. Hardy to zone 3, easy to grow, shade tolerant, and flowering late in the year when other spring and summer flowers are over, this plant grows into a large shrub, perhaps 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide, in time. With the spread of smaller gardens, it is simply too large for more and more of us to grow. But now we don’t have to worry about that, because the Bombshell Hydrangea has come along – a perfect miniature copy of the big old PG hydrangea – and this one grows only 3 feet tall and wide, fitting perfectly into smaller spaces, or making perfect foreground planting in bigger ones. It has the same panicles of white flowers, that turn pink to red as the colder fall weather arrives, and it is just as hardy and just as easy to grow. Problem solved.
Growing Bombshell Hydrangeas
The Bombshell Hydrangea is a small deciduous shrub, growing 2 or 3 feet tall, with a slightly wider spread of 3 or perhaps 4 feet. It makes a dense cluster of mounding branches, with a bushy habit. The leaves are a little less than 3 inches long, and 1½ inches wide, oval, with small serrations along the edges. They are mid-green in color, turning butter yellow in fall. The stems are light brown, with a slightly peeling bark, and rougher and darker brown on older stems. Flowering begins in mid-summer, and the flowers grow on the ends of every new shoot, so as new shoots form, more flowers develop, keeping your plant flowering continuously right into fall.
The flower heads form a slightly pointed ball, about 5 inches across, containing up to 300 white flowers of two types. Most are flat, with white petals, and mixed among them are tiny fluffy flowers. The whole effect is beautiful, with the flowers beginning life a delightful pale green color, becoming pure white with a tiny pink center for summer, and then gradually turning pink and then red, so that your white bush in summer becomes a red bush in fall. Even in winter, after the flower heads have turned light brown, they remain on the plant and provide winter interest.
Uses on Your Property
Plant the Bombshell Hydrangea as a small specimen in a small place. It is ideal for pots and planters too, bringing lots of color and interest for very little work. A group of them will look perfect in the foreground of a bed of larger shrubs, or even as an edging plant all along a walk or driveway. In sun or shade, there is always somewhere in every garden where this plant will bring pleasure and interest.
Planting and Initial Care
Not only is the Bombshell Hydrangea beautiful for months and months, it is very easy to grow. It is hardy down to minus 40 degrees, and yet it grows well in zone 8 – so wherever you live it doesn’t matter, this plant will grow for you. It grows in full sun in colder states, in partial shade everywhere, and in light full shade in hotter states. It grows well in almost any kind of soil at all, except for constantly wet ones, or very dry, hot locations.
It is fast growing, and it has no pests or diseases that cause any problems, so it is very low maintenance too, a necessity for many of us with busy lives, a love of flowers, but little time for our gardens. Even pruning is not essential, but your plant will benefit from a trim in late winter or early spring, before the buds open. Remove any crowded and very thin stems, and trim back the remaining stronger stems by a few inches, to a pair of healthy buds. That’s it – a quick and simple once-a-year job.
History and Origins of the Bombshell Hydrangea
The panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), is a native plant of China and Japan, where it can be a small tree 20 feet tall, although usually it is smaller. The wild plant has fine, airy and inconspicuous flowers, but a garden form that came from Japan was introduced into Europe and North America in the 1870’s. Hydrangeas have two kinds of flowers – small, fertile ones that make seeds but have no petals, and large, sterile ones that make petals but no seeds. These are mixed together in the flower heads and wild flowers are mostly the small fertile flowers, so they are not very showy.
This new Japanese form was excitingly different, with mostly sterile flowers, making large and showy flower heads. This is the common PG hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’) which we mentioned earlier. It is grown in nurseries and gardens everywhere. In 2003 Alex Frederik Schoemaker; a Dutch nurseryman in Boskoop, an important plant-growing region of the Netherlands, noticed an unusual shoot on a plant of the PG hydrangea in his nursery. When he grew it into new young plants, he realized it was a perfect miniature, and he called this new plant ‘Bombshell’. In 2010 he was given a US Plant Patent for it.
Our plants are grown under license from the inventor, to high standards that ensure they are exact copies of that original plant, and they are grown from stem pieces, not seeds. We know this new plant will be in high demand, because everyone loves the PG hydrangea, but many of us don’t have room for it. So order now, while our stocks hold out.