Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea
paniculata 'RENhy' PP#20,670
One of the purest pleasures for the sunny to partly shaded garden is this French introduction, a member of the PeeGee Hydrangea family. With blooms that arise continuously for many weeks, changing colors as they mature, plus a habit that turns from upright to cascading, 'Vanilla Strawberry' is a showpiece of a shrub that looks a bit different every time you glance at it, all summer long!
The enormous pointed flowerheads get underway in midsummer in most climates, beginning green, then quickly turning a creamy shade of white. Within a week or two they are blushing pink, and eventually become a rich shade of rose! Meanwhile, new flowerheads are arising all the time, so a blooming shrub is likely to have the full range of colors from pale green to carmine all displayed at once!
Large, well-branched, and vigorous, 'Vanilla Strawberry' reaches 6 to 7 feet high and 4 to 5 feet wide within just a few seasons. The flowers continue well into fall in most areas, and are, as you can imagine, spectacular in fresh and dried arrangements. The bright green foliage is dense and attractive too, so 'Vanilla Strawberry' always looks its best. In winter, masses of bare stems promise another season of beauty next spring!
Not only do the blooms change color as they mature, the entire shrub changes its habit a bit as the summer progresses and fall arrives. These bloomheads are heavy, and the branches begin to weep after several weeks of fully-blooming giant wands. This adds to the ornamental appeal of 'Vanilla Strawberry,' and makes for interesting change in the garden.
Best in full sun in the north, afternoon or dappled shade farther south and west, this Hydrangea is easy to grow in continuously moist, well-drained soil. Butterflies will visit it, and it is very low maintenance, asking only for adequate water. Try it in the border, the foundation, the woodland garden, or even as a specimen. You will be amazed at its beauty and ever-changing interest. Zones 4-9.
- Product Details
- Customer Reviews
- Care Guide
- Tips to Attract Butterflies
- Pruning Tips
- Color Adjustment
- Heat Tolerant
|Item Form||Trade Gallon (3qt)|
|Zone||4 - 9|
|Bloom Season||Mid Summer - Early Fall|
|Plant Height||6 ft - 7 ft|
|Additional Characteristics||Flower, Bloom First Year, Butterfly Lovers, Easy Care Plants, Fast Growing, Long Bloomers|
|Bloom Color||Dark Pink, White, Cream, Light Green, Multi-Color, Rose|
|Foliage Color||Medium Green|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun, Part Shade|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant|
|Soil Tolerance||Clay, Normal, loamy|
|Uses||Cut Flowers, Hedge, Ornamental, Specimen, Border|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
Planting Your Hydrangea
Planting your hydrangeas in early spring or in the fall is ideal. When you are planting a hydrangea, remember that the blooms and stems must be protected from strong winds and the hot afternoon sun. Avoid planting in open areas where strong winds could break stems. Planting on the eastern side of a building ensures that, in the afternoon, when the sun is at its hottest, your plants are in the shade.
Make sure your plant has good drainage. If the soil is too wet, the roots might rot, and the plant will die. Incorporate a lot of organic matter and an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer into the soil to give your hydrangea a strong start.
General Hydrangea Care
If you plant them in the summer, they need a lot more water in the beginning to establish the root system.
Most varieties thrive in full sun to part shade, as long as they are planted in moist, rich soil.
Water deeply once a week, and maybe more, if the weather is particularly hot or dry.
- Hydrangea fertilization needs vary greatly, depending on your intended bloom color. Certain elements of the fertilizer affect the soil pH, which is a major determinant of bloom color in the pink/blue hydrangea varieties.
- Butterflies like a lot of sunlight, so locate your garden in a sunny area.
- If you live in a windy location, plant your butterfly-attracting plants near a building, fence, or hedge to protect them.
- Plant a variety of nectar-rich plants, as well as shrubs and evergreens for shelter.
- Since many butterflies and native flowering plants have co-evolved, try to put in some that are native to your area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center provides lists of plants native to states and regions.
- Certain colors are particularly attracting to butterflies – red, yellow, pink, purple, or orange blooms that are clustered or flat-topped, with a short flower tubes are especially attractive to adult butterflies.
- Avoid using pesticides, especially around nectar-producing plants.
- Provide a shallow source of water – try a birdbath with pebbles lining the bowl.
- Place a rock in a sunny spot for butterfly basking and resting.
- Create a "puddling area" by digging a shallow hole filled with compost or manure where rainwater will collect and release essential salts and minerals.
- If you want butterflies to breed in your garden, put in some caterpillar food plants, such as parsley, milkweeds, asters, thistles, violets, clover, grasses, and Queen Anne’s Lace.
- Since butterflies need nectar throughout the entire adult phase of their lives, try to create a design that will allow for a continuous bloom – when one stops blooming, another starts.
|Hydrangeas can live for many years without ever needing to be pruned, but if your shrubs grow out of bounds or lose flowering vigor, then there are some essential pruning guidelines you must follow to ensure bountiful blooms the next year!
Hydrangea macrophylla and H. quercifolia These generally bloom on old wood and require little pruning. Prune spent blooms immediately after flowering (midsummer), or remove only dead, damaged or unsightly wood.
|Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf, Mophead, or Lacecap Hydrangeas)
These Hydrangeas begin blooming in early to midsummer and can continue until summer's end, so they set their bloom buds during late summer or early fall. When pruning mopheads, you have two options, and will probably end up doing a combination of both:
|Exception: If you have a reblooming variety such as Penny Mac that flowers on new wood as well as old wood, you'll want to prune a little every year just to keep the new wood coming.|
|Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)
You can get away without pruning Oakleaf Hydrageas at all, but if you want to keep them well-shaped, cut dead stems back at the base in late winter or early spring.
|Hydrangea arborescens and H. paniculata
These shrubs bloom on new wood and actually produce larger blooms if cut back to the ground in late winter.
|Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)
This is one of the easiest Hydrangeas to prune. Because it blooms only on new wood, you can just cut it back to the ground in late winter, before any new buds appear. If you experience some flopping of flowering branches, then leave a framework of old growth to help support the branches by only cutting stems back to 2 feet from the ground.
|Hydrangea paniculata (Pee Gee or Panicle Hydrangeas)
Prune this Hydrangea in late winter to keep the plants from becoming overgrown and encourage more new growth, more flower buds, and larger blooms. You can remove dead flowers, as soon as they become unattractive and clean up the overall shape of the plant.
|Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea)
Climbing Hydrangea requires little to no pruning, but if you need to trim it to keep it in bounds, you should prune it just after flowering. Cut back last year's flower shoots to 1 to 2 inches and pruning out shoots that fail to cling or have pulled away from their support.
|Remember, Hydrangeas are shade tolerant, but they do require adequate sunlight and irrigation to bloom properly. In northern climates and coastal areas, Hydrangeas will grow beautifully in full sun, but in warmer southern areas, a location in part shade where the shrub receives full to partial morning sun with protection from harsh afternoon sun is ideal. Placed in the right location, given ample moisture, and pruned using the guidelines above, your Hydrangeas will be an abundant source of gorgeous blooms long into the future.|
How to Adjust Hydrangea ColorHydrangeas may produce pink, blue, or lavender blooms, depending on where it’s planted and how it’s fed. The presence of aluminum in the plant ultimately determines the color, and pH affects the uptake of aluminum. Alkaline soils, pH of 6.0 or more, are more likely to produce pink blooms, and more acidic soils, pH 4.5 to 5.5, produce blue flowers.
Pink hydrangeas can be turned blue by applying aluminum sulfate to lower the pH and add aluminum to the soil. Applying lime to raise the pH level will help blue hydrangeas turn pink. If your soil naturally produces very blue or very pink hydrangea flowers, you may need to grow your hydrangeas in containers or raised beds to achieve the desired color. If you do attempt to change the color of your blooms by adding these minerals, dilute them well, and add sparingly. It is very easy to scorch your plants by adding too much. White hydrangeas are not affected by efforts to change bloom color.
Using Hydrangeas for Cut-Flower Arrangements
Cut them just as blooms fully develop.
Cut your flowers in the early morning, before the sun comes up to evaporate some of their moisture.
Cutting at diagonal will allow the stem to take in the most amount of water, some people will even cut slits or fray the ends of the stems a little.
Place your freshly cut flowers in a bucket of cool water to soak for an hour or two before arranging your final product.
Use a commercial floral preservative to get the best results. This will feed your flowers, maintain a constant pH, and will serve as an anti-microbial to prevent premature decay. You should be able to find this at a local nursery.
- Keep in mind that many gardeners and florists complain that hydrangeas wilt faster than other cut flowers and may require a little extra planning.
Keep it out of drafty areas and direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from drying. Finally, you can just sit back and admire your new décor or enjoy your special moment.
To download this How-To for yourself, with complete information, please follow this link. Because the file is in PDF format, you will require the Adobe Reader to be able to view it. We hope that you will enjoy this guide and refer to it for years to come.
Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:
1. Water with a drip system whenever possible – soak the bed slowly and thoroughly to a depth of 10" to 12".
2. Watering deeply every 3 to 5 days is preferable to a shallow daily watering.
3. Water in the early morning, so foliage has time to dry.
4. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch or similar material to aid in water retention and help keep the roots cool during hot weather.