Not all hydrangeas produce pink or blue flowers. Hydrangeas with white flowers, such as Hydrangea arborescent ‘Annabelle’, can only produce white flowers. Sometimes their blooms take on a green or pink tinge at the beginning or end of the season, but that’s about as colourful as they get and white Hydrangeas, in all their simplicity, are simply modern garden stunners! If you’d like to have some in your garden, here’s what you need to know!
White Hydrangeas make a real statement in the garden as they add height and show stopping big, blousy blooms which last through to Autumn. Like their colourful counterparts, they come in mophead and lacecap forms but it is the panicle varieties with their elongated, cone-shaped heads which can grow up to 3 metres in height which are the real stunners.
Hydrangea paniculatas is easy to grow in the garden and is a very low maintenance shrub. The best time for planting is in Autumn or early Spring and a semi-shaded spot with afternoon sun is ideal.
Hydrangea paniculatas does not need to be planted in any special kind of soil, they remain white regardless of soil pH. They are best planted in a sheltered position, in fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil.
They are a deciduous, hardy perennial, which means they will lose their leaves and die back at the end of Autumn and green up again from late Spring without needing any special kind of winter protection. Panicle hydrangeas are among the most winter hardy hydrangeas available to gardeners and although native to southern and eastern China, Korea, Japan, and Russia, they perform well in many parts of Scotland.
Unlike some other types of hydrangeas, Hydrangea paniculatas produces flower buds on new growth, not on the woody stems formed during the previous gardening season. This means the buds are formed in the Spring.
Pruning can be carried out in the Spring, from the end of February until the end of April. The later the pruning is carried out, the later the plants will come into flower. A light pruning to remove last year’s flower heads will result in large numbers of smaller flowers. A harder pruning, cutting back to two buds on the previous year’s growth, will result in fewer but much larger flowers.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is a fascinating variety of Hydrangea to have in the garden. The flowers bloom initially in a lime green colour and turn white as they mature. They look fabulous as cut flowers in a vase for the house.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’ and ‘Silver Dollar’ are also varieties to consider as their cone-shaped white flowers gradually turn pinker as they mature and they are a real joy to have in a border. There is also a variety called Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Fraise’ which starts off as a white bloom, matures to a pink, and then deepens to a red shade by Autumn.
White Hydrangea paniculatas with their long-lasting blooms are a popular choice for modern gardens. They are such a beautiful, low maintenance plant that every garden should find a space to enjoy them.