My Favorite Late Blooming Hydrangeas
I don’t know…maybe I love late blooming hydrangeas so much because I was a late bloomer myself. But hopefully I’ve gotten past my pre-pubescent challenges by now…and it has much more to do with the fact that while most of my yard’s other bloomin’ shrubs have seen a much better day, my Tardiva and Limelight hydrangeas are on full display.
These two beauts are varieties of Paniculata hydrangea. Both are very dependable large perennial shrubs that can be kept as shrubs or trained into tree-from. Their blooms are a bit different from each other, but both dramatic in their own right and make great cut flowers to bring inside to enjoy. I’d recommend them to anyone looking to make a big statement late in the summer and into the fall. So if that’s you…keep reading to learn more.
Lucky me…my mother-in-law, Mimi, is an avid gardener. And whenever her garden needs to be thinned out a bit, our yard is the primary benefactor. And one of my favorite “Mimi transplants” is a tree-form Tardiva Hydrangea.
Tardivas have large, lacy, creamy white pyramidal flowers. Well, technically they are called panicles …which are basically special stems that have a ton of clustered flowers on them. Anyway…as is the subject of this post, they are late bloomers…strutting their stuff from July into September.
Most Tardivas you’ll see are large multi-stemmed shrubs…but I inherited mine already in tree-form. They’re fast growers and can grow to be 8’-12’ tall and almost as wide.
Like most of her Paniculata cousins, besides being a late bloomer she grows well in full to partial sun and is very hardy. She can be grown alone as a spectacular specimen plant or with a few friends to make a dramatic hedge.
My favorite hydrangea…late blooming or not…is the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’. I have a number of Limelights strategically placed in my front and back yards. They are big and bold…and beautifully bedazzled with huge creamy white flowers. Then as summer turns to fall they go from white to lime green…and then finally adding tinges of pink and purple for a little added interest.
2 things to note about Limelight’s flowers…err, panicles:
- Like their fellow Paniculatas, their flowers grow on this year’s growth (i.e., “new wood”)…which means pruning them in late winter or early spring, before their blooms set, will encourage vigorous growth and big’ole flowers. (Note: Many other hydrangeas bloom on “old wood”…or last year’s growth. So before you pull out your pruners and go to town on your little ladies, make sure you know who you’re dealing with…otherwise you might end up being very disappointed.)
- Limelight flowers are especially great to cut and bring inside. And because they are so big, just a few may do. Then, if you want to enjoy them inside for years to come, they make great dried flowers. We have an arrangement of Limelights that we just forgot to re-water…and voilà, dried flowers! And they’ve been there for about 4 years…seriously. Don’t judge.
Limelights grow well in full sun and can reach a height and width of 6’-8’. If you don’t have one and have the space, I’d highly recommend that you get one…or two or 12. Heck, if you don’t have one and don’t have the space, get one or more anyway…and yank something out of your garden to make room for them. I’m confident that you’ll be glad that you did.
Other Varieties of Paniculata Hydrangeas
Now Limelights and Tardivas are just two of many varieties of Paniculata hydrangeas you have to choose from. So if you’re looking for late bloomers for your yard, you’re not limited to Paniculatas that are large with white flowers like mine. There are certainly some that are smaller and many that have flowers that will turn to beautiful shades of pink to almost red.
You can see for yourself by checking out these links on Monrovia:
- Little Lime™ Hardy Hydrangea: Being Limelight’s “mini-me”, Little Limes™ are another one of my favorites. They grow 3’-5’ tall and wide and, like Limelights, they have white flowers that turn to lime green towards the end of the summer.
- Quick Fire® Hardy Hydrangea: This Paniculata actually starts blooming a month earlier than her brethren…but will continue to bloom into the fall. Her blooms start out white, but turn to dark pink as time marches on. She’ll grow to be about 6’-8’ tall and wide.
- Bobo® Hardy Hydrangea: I don’t have any Bobos® in my yard, but plan to make the space for some soon. But being small…only growing to 3’-4’ tall and wide…I won’t have to make that much room for this hydrangea munchkin. Their blooms start out white, but will end up being powdery pink by fall.
- Fire Light™ Hardy Hydrangea: This lovely grows to be 5’-6’ tall and wide. Like most Paniculatas, these Fire Lights™ start out with white flowers, but as the name suggests, they turn a deep pink, almost red, in the fall.
- Angel’s Blush® Hydrangea: Angel’s Blush® hydrangeas are another great choice for your yard…if you have the space, as they can grow to be 10’-12’ tall and 6’-8’ wide. They grow better in partial sun and like their Paniculata sisters, they have large clusters of flowers (some could be 10” long) on display from late summer into fall. As is the typical pattern, her flowers start out white…then change colors as she moves into fall…and this Angel blushes to a rosy-red hue.
Alright I’ll leave it there. But if you want to learn more about other varieties of hydrangeas or how to plant, prune, or dry them, check out the Related Posts on RYGblog below.
And to make it even easier for you, I’ve created a handy printable Hydrangea Quick Reference Guide. Not only will you find summarized goodie on Paniculata hydrangeas, but on all their earlier blooming relatives as well.
But for today…here’s to all the late bloomers out there!
Take care and happy gardening friends,
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