Everyone loves hydrangeas, and if you live in colder zones the panicle hydrangea is the top choice. In warmer areas too, if you are looking for reliable, easy-to-grow shrubs for summer and fall blooming, then look no further. Once restricted to just one choice – the PG Hydrangea, with all its faults – today there is a wide range of varieties of this sturdy plant available, and for a large, colorful shrub that will grow almost anywhere, the Pinky Winky Hydrangea can’t be beaten. Even in spring and early summer, the large, deep-green leaves make an attractive show. In fall the leaves turn yellow, before falling for the winter, but you probably won’t notice, because the flowers will catch all your attention at that time.
The Pinky Winky Hydrangea is a fast-growing, medium-sized shrub, that will soon reach 6 to 8 feet tall, and as much across. It’s a terrific way to fill a larger space in your shrub planting, in between the lower shrubs and the small trees. It makes the perfect flowering lawn specimen, and it is in bloom longer than almost any other plant – and what blooms they are. At the end of every branch is an enormous conical cluster a foot long, and 7 inches across at the base. It contains literally hundreds of densely-packed blooms, which begin in mid-summer pure white. As the cooler weather of fall arrives they turn a rich pink, but at the end of the cone new blossoms continue to grow out, which are still white. The result is a unique and striking two-tone color scheme that last for weeks and weeks in your garden. There is more too – you can cut these blooms and hang them upside down to dry. Once dry they will last for months and months, and they are a spectacular way to fill vases in your home all winter long.
Plant the Pinky Winky Hydrangea as an informal hedge or screen along your property boundary. Use it to separate one part of the garden from another. Use it singly or in groups, depending on the space you need to fill. A pair on either side of your front-door makes a beautiful entrance. If you have large pots and containers, it will thrive in them too, looking wonderful on a terrace.
The Pinky Winky Hydrangea is beautiful, and it is easy to grow too. It is winter-hardy down to minus 40, so it grows well even in the most northern states. It will grow in full sun or partial shade, so there will be very few places in the garden where it cannot be planted. It grows well in almost every kind of soil, from sand to clay and in both acidic and alkaline soils. Once established it will handle ordinary summer dry periods, but regular deep watering will give you the best results. It will grow best if you enrich the soil with organic material when planting, and mulch it each spring. You can also use fertilizers for flowering shrubs in the spring – slow-release types give the best results.
The only care needed is pruning. There are three possible ways to prune panicle hydrangeas. You can just remove the old flower heads, back to the first pair of healthy buds, and remove any very thin and weak shoots. This will give you many blooms, but they will be smaller. The second way is to leave four pairs of buds at the base of each stem, again removing weak shoots as well. this will give you fewer blooms, but bigger ones. For the biggest blooms, but a smaller number, prune back to just two pairs of buds. Unlike the old PG Hydrangea, the Pinky Winky Hydrangea has strong, upright stems, and they will not flop under the weight of even the biggest blooms.
The Panicle Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata, grows naturally in the south-eastern regions of China, as well as in Japan, Korea, and eastern Russia. It has been grown in Europe and America as a garden plant for many years, and in recent years there have been a number of improvements made to it, with more color choices and stronger stems. The Pinky Winky Hydrangea is one of those improvements, and it originated in Melle, Belgium in 1999.
A breeder at the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, called Johan Van Huylenbroeck, found it among a batch of seedlings he was growing, from seed collected from a variety called ‘Pink Diamond’. He noticed that this new plant was very superior to its parent, producing sturdier, more upright stems; more branching and so more, and larger, flowers; and a richer, deeper pink color in the fall. He patented it under the name ‘DVP Pinky’. Our plants are produced for us by licensed growers, who guaranteed this plant is true to its parent by producing it only from stem cuttings, not from seed. This is more difficult, but results in the best plants. These new varieties are very popular. Everyone is replacing their old PG Hydrangeas, and adding new forms to their gardens. So this plant will not be in stock long – order now while we can still satisfy your order.