Plant of the Week: Little QUICK FIRE® Panicle hydrangea

Cold weather can be hard on all of us. No matter how good your parka is there are still days when you really feel winter’s bite.

We know that cold temperatures can be hard on plants, especially many hydrangeas. But not our 2022 Hydrangea of the Year!

Little Quick Fire® is a Hydrangea paniculata, so it blooms on new wood. That means that deep winter freezes and fickle spring frosts won’t keep it from flowering this summer.

Like the original Quick Fire®, the flowers of Little Quick Fire® open white before quickly transitioning to pink. Also like the original, it’s very early blooming and cold hardy (USDA 3-8).

Combine that cold hardiness with its compact size (3-5′ tall and wide) and you’ve got a great container plant that can be overwintered above ground in most of North America.

It will grow in full sun or part shade and is great as both a specimen plant or a mass planting.

Speaking of cold hardy hydrangeas…

H. paniculata (panicle hydrangea) is on the plant list of anyone in a cold climate. The other go-to hydrangea for those of us in the snow belt is H. arborescens, or smooth hydrangea. It also flowers on new wood, and is hardy into USDA 3.

H. arborescens is a native species, and there’s some recent research from the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware that will be important to anyone with an interest in native plants. They evaluated cultivars of H. arborescens for their appeal to pollinators and came up with some interesting results.

Four Proven Winners® ColorChoice® hydrangea varieties are among the best performers in the trial:

Invincibelle® Spirit II smooth hydrangea
Incrediball® Blush smooth hydrangea
Incrediball® smooth hydrangea
Lime Rickey® smooth hydrangea

They also determined that some of the pink flowered varieties performed better in the sun than the white ones, which could be useful to anyone staring at a big, sunny area and wondering how to make hydrangeas happen there!

Until next week, stay in the pink!

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