Late summer-blooming hydrangea shrubs have arrived with their fresh and extravagant blooms. These woody-stemmed hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) mature into large plants that thrive and prosper in full sun and part sun. When planting, make sure to allow extra space for these larger shrubs to mature. Remember to water deeply to establish a good root system before the winter. In addition, mulch these hardy shrubs to keep them blooming from summer through fall.
1. 'Quick Fire' (Hydrangea paniculata 'Quick Fire'): This 'easy-to-grow' variety blooms a month earlier than most paniculatas, so it will extend the bloom time from early summer until fall. The flowers emerge white and then quickly change to a darker, pinky-red. It is very hardy and adaptable to urban environments-maturing to 6-8 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide in full sun to part sun. Medium green leaves change to yellow or reddish purple in fall.
2. Pinky Winky (Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'): Two-toned flowers of white and deep pink mature up to 16-inches long at the end of red stems. It blooms from mid-summer until frost and is drought hardy. The Horticultural Society gave this plant an Award of Garden Merit, their highest rating. It matures up to 6-8 feet tall in sun or part sun.
3. Limelight (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'): A large hydrangea known for its light-green flowers that emerge in mid-summer. Blooms change to a blushed pink as autumn closes in. (The blooms are not affected by the ph of the soil like the Big Leaf Hydrangeas (H.macrophylla). This plant thrives in full sun or part sun but blooms more with more sun. It matures from 6 to 8 feet tall and wide and can be pruned into a small tree or standard. It is more tolerant of urban conditions and more drought tolerant than most hydrangeas.
4. Little Lime (Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Lime'): This is a compact version of H. 'Limelight.' It grows from 3 to 5 feet tall with full, light-green flowers that become dusted with pink when cooler weather arrives.