Hydrangeas are known for the summer color that they afford the landscape, and Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea is one type that furnishes that color in style. This is a plant that changes color as the summer wears on, so you are not stuck with one floral color. The blooms are white at first (with pink centers), but soon they morph to pink. That color change does not happen uniformly across the flower head, however; the result is a bi-colored flower head (thus the name of "Strawberry Vanilla"), as is the case with Zinfin Doll hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'SMNHPRZEP'). The pink color gradually becomes deeper, until, finally, you are left with a very attractive pinkish-red. But, for further variety, new stems with white flowers mix in with the pinkish-red of the older stems in late summer.
|Botanical Name||Hydrangea paniculata 'Renhy' (brand name is Strawberry Vanilla)|
|Common Name||Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea|
|Plant Type||Deciduous shrub|
|Mature Size||Height of 6 to 7 feet, with a spread of 4 to 5 feet|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Fertile, well-drained|
|Soil pH||5.8 to 6.2|
|Bloom Time||Mid-Summer to early fall|
|Flower Color||Begins white, turns deep pink|
|Hardiness Zones||3 to 8 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Species native to China and Japan|
How to Grow Strawberry Vanilla Hydrangea
Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea is a shrub that blooms on new growth, so prune it in late winter or early spring. You can select just one stem if you wish to form a "trunk," prune off the rest, and give your plant the appearance of a tree.
This bush can suffer from a few different disease problems (such as bacterial wilt, blight, leaf spot, mildew, and rust), all of which can be minimized by providing plenty of space (to promote air circulation) between your Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea and any other plants. Bugs such as aphids and mites can also attack it; be on the lookout for them and, upon detection, spray immediately with Neem oil organic insecticide.
Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea flowers best (and with the best color) in full sun.
The primary soil requirement for Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea is good drainage.
The bush has average water needs. Be sure to water it during periods of drought in the summer and or spells of particularly hot weather.
If your soil is poor to begin with, this plant should be fed well. The best thing to do in such instances is to amend the soil with plenty of compost yearly. If you do not mind using chemicals, you can supplement the compost with the application of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer each spring once growth has begun.
Uses for Strawberry Vanilla Hydrangea in the Landscape
Like other types of hydrangeas, Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea can function as a specimen plant in the yard for the summer. The reason that hydrangeas can put on such a long floral show is that the "flowers" you are admiring in their flower heads (also known as "panicles") are really sepals, which are plant parts that persist much longer than true flowers do. In fact, the sepals continue to produce some visual interest even after they have turned brown in fall.
Adding to the showiness of Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea is its growth habit and the size of its flower heads. The latter measure 7 inches long and 5 inches across. In early summer, the habit is upright, but that changes as more flower heads populate the branches. With the extra weight of those flower heads, the branches begin to droop down, causing the plant to take on a more attractive, vase-like shape.
Strawberry Vanilla hydrangea tolerates air pollution well. This fact makes it not only a good shrub to grow in the city, but also a candidate for shrub beds located close to the road.
Other Types of Hydrangeas
There are many kinds of hydrangeas. The Hydrangea genus is subdivided into distinct species:
- Hydrangea macrophylla: Latin name says it all, as this kind has big leaves
- Hydrangea paniculata: can be pruned into tree form
- Hydrangea quercifolia: a type valued more for its leaves (which resemble oak leaves) than for its flowers
- Hydrangea arborescens: valued for its large flower heads; for example, Incrediball (Hydrangea arborescens 'Abetwo')
- Hydrangea petiolaris: a vine form