Height: 2 m (6 feet)
Spread: 2.5 m (8 feet)
Bloom: Large cone-shaped white to pinkish flowers in late summer
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Foliage: large dark green leaves
Pluses: large fall blooms, winter interest
Hydrangea paniculata (Pee Gee Hydrangea) flowers late summer to early fall bearing large cone-shaped flowers that start out white and fade to pink and then bronze in fall. Pee Gee Hydrangea was named originally for the P and G in Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ however many nurseries now call all Hydrangea paniculata cultivars Pee Gee. It is a very old fashioned shrub, good for the shrub border but give it lots of room to grow.
Pee Gee Hydrangea does well in full sun and part shade. It blooms on new wood. Pruning to control the number of flower heads will result in fewer but larger flower heads. This pruning needs to be done in early spring to give it time to grow and set buds. I prune my Pee Gee Hydrangea in early spring since I leave the panicles on the plant for winter interest.
Pee Gee Hydrangea can grow quite large and requires no support. It can also be trained as a tree. Our shrub started out trained as a standard however as it was very top heavy it unfortunately broke in a heavy storm one summer. I cut the “trunk” to the ground and the next spring it sprouted new growth so now it is a multi-stemmed shrub. That shows just how vigorous these plants are!
As the summer progresses the flower heads turn pinkish and then bronze. The open flowers are sterile flowers while the closed are fertile. Over the last few years I have had many more fertile flowers on the cone, perhaps natures response to it being cut to the ground as a result of the storm damage.
I leave the panicles in the garden for winter interest and will prune in early spring by reducing the height of some stems and cutting others right back to control both size and the number of flower heads.
Garden Location: The Pee Gee Hydrangea in the Kitchen Patio Garden is one of the few shrubs remaining from the original landscape. A second was added behind the Garden Shed in 2009.