Strawberry Sundae® HydrangeaHydrangea paniculata 'Rensun' (PP# 25,438)
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Hydrangea paniculata 'Rensun' (PP# 25,438)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Strawberry Sundae® Hydrangea is a compact form of the panicle hydrangea, and it flowers readily and reliably even in zone 3. Forming a strong, upright bush no more than 5 feet tall, its deciduous leaves are dark green and bold, with serrated edges. The flowers open white in mid-summer, and gradually turn gorgeous strawberry pink as the weather cools, with a period when both pink and white is on the same bush. By mid-fall they are completely dark pink. Grow this easy plant in beds, along paths and driveways, in planter boxes or large pots, and anywhere you need a tough plant with reliable and beautiful flowers.
The Strawberry Sundae® Hydrangea will grow in any well-drained soil that is not too dry. It will grow well in both full sun and light partial shade – in hotter zones afternoon shade is beneficial. It is relatively drought-resistant, but regular watering during dry weather is recommended. It has no pests or diseases, and the only care needed is a simple spring pruning. The more you cut it back at that time, the larger the flower heads will be, but lighter pruning gives you more flowers – the balance is up to you.
Especially in colder zones, panicle hydrangeas are nature’s gift to gardeners. When you need flowers on your shrubs from mid-summer into fall, and even past the first frosts, then these easily-grown shrubs are your answer. In warmer areas too they are wonderful plants for interest later in the seasons, in all but the hottest zones. Compared to the mophead hydrangeas they are easier to grow, more sun and drought tolerant, and their massive, cone-shaped flower heads are always spectacular. The only problem is that the traditional types – like the PG Hydrangea – grow large, and most of them turn much the same shade of dark red in fall. That’s why the Strawberry Sundae® Hydrangea is such a welcome addition to this group of shrubs. It grows to no more than 5 feet tall, and its flowers turn bright strawberry red in late fall, not the normal burgundy colors.
The Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea is an upright deciduous shrub, growing 4 to 5 feet tall, with a width of 3 to 4 feet. The degree of pruning you do each year has an influence on the size of both the shrub and its flowers. The foliage is packed closely on the stems, which have pale-brown, peeling bark. The oval leaves are 3 to 4 inches long, dark green, with boldly serrated edges. They turn bright yellow in fall, creating additional interest at that time. The flowers grow in large, conical clusters at the ends of the branches, and each cone is large and fat, being at least 7 inches long and 5 inches wide at the base. Each one is packed with at least 400 individual flowers. They are well over 1 inch in diameter, with 4 broad, flat petals. The flower heads begin to emerge in mid-summer, and they are briefly greenish, before turning clear creamy white. They last for many weeks, and then, as fall arrives with its cooler nights, the flowers begin to take on tones of pink. This develops first on the lowest flowers, as a faint blush, deepening with each cooler night, so that for a while the lower half of the flower panicle is pink, and the upper half white. Gradually the color deepens and spreads, until all the heads are vibrant strawberry pink, making a great show in your garden.
The Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea is a tough, easy-to-grow plant that thrives in ordinary garden conditions, including difficult urban gardens. It is completely winter hardy, even in zone 3, yet it grows well in most other zones, including zone 8. For colder gardens it is a winner, where other hydrangeas won’t flower, and this easy shrub has a place in every garden. Use it as a specimen in a small bed, or in groups of 3, 5 or 7 in larger ones. Grow it as a row alongside a path or driveway, or to mark the corners of a patio. It is small enough to grow well for years in a larger planter or pot, and its blooms bring easy color to planters for many weeks. The flowers can be cut at any stage of their development and used fresh in vases or hung upside-down to dry, and then used for months of winter indoor decoration.
Grow the Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea in full sun or partial shade. It grows best in ordinary garden soils, except for very wet or very dry ones, and it is more drought-resistant than mophead hydrangeas are. Even so, it is only moderately resistant to dryness, and benefits from regular watering. It normally never suffers from pests or diseases, and a few minutes of spring pruning is all the care it needs. Prune when you see the first signs of buds growing, as this makes it easier to identify what to do. Remove any dead or weak branches, leaving a framework of strong, upright stems. You can train this plant on a small trunk or keep it closer to the ground. Once you have a framework left, shorten back the branches to just above a pair of strong buds. For the most flowers, but smaller ones, remove just the last few inches of each branch. For larger, but fewer, flowers, cut back by about one-half of the length. For the biggest flower heads, but not so many, cut back to leave just a few inches of the stems which grew last year – you can see the junction where they began by the change in the bark color.
The Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea is a form of the panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata. This is the hardiest of all the hydrangeas, and it originated in China and Japan. Older forms can exceed 15 feet in height, so smaller plants are very desirable for modern gardens. Jean Renault, a French plant breeder, lives and works in Gorron, France. He has been breeding panicle hydrangeas since 1987, developing new forms. He has fields of seedlings from his crosses, and in 2005 he found a plant among them that had the perfect compact form, combined with flowers that turned bright strawberry red instead of old-fashioned dark red colors. He named it ‘Rensun’ and after extensive trials it was patented in the USA in 2015. It has been released with the registered trademark name of Strawberry Sundae®, by Bailey Nurseries as part of their First Editions® plant line. This winning plant is sure to please, and new colors are always in big demand, so order now, while our stock remains available.