Many gardeners think of hydrangea plants as having blue or pink flower clusters, but these tree hydrangeas have white flowers. These shade-tolerant shrubs have white hydrangea flowers to brighten up a garden area or shady landscape space. White hydrangea flowers will not change colors to pink or blue the way that other hydrangea plants will.
Panicle Hydrangeas – Big White Flower Clusters
Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) usually bloom with large, white hydrangea flowers, although other pale colors such as green or pink exist also. Sometimes the panicle hydrangeas are called snowball bushes, but this is a common name for viburnum shrubs as well, so beginner gardeners should check labels carefully. Another common name for the panicle hydrangea is tree hydrangea.
Some beautiful, white panicle hydrangeas for home gardens are:
- White Moth Panicle Hydrangea – Grows 8-12 feet tall with pure white hydrangea flowers.
- Chantilly Lace Hydrangea – Darker green leaves than other panicales, ‘Chatilly Lace’ has white hydrangea flowers that flush with pink tinges in cool fall weather.
- PeeGee or Grandiflora Tree Hydrangea– Medium sized tree hydrangea with white flowers that change to green or bronze tinted in the fall. This tree hydreangea is called “PG” because of it’s scienctific name, Hydrangea panicle grandiflora. Now many panicle hydrangeas, and indeed many white hydrangeas in general, are often called peegee, but this is the only true peegee hydrangea.
- Little Lamb Hydrangea – A dwarf form of the tree hydrangea, this panicle hydrangea only grows four to six feet tall and the flower clusters are not quite the dinner plate size of the large white hydrangeas. Some gardeners report a more bushy growth habit, less upright than other panicles.
- Pink Diamond Panicle Hydrangea – Pink Diamond panicle hydrangea blooms cream colored and darkens to a light, rosey pink color more quickly than some of the other panicle hydrangeas.
- Silver Dollar Panicle Hydrangea – A large tree hydrangea, this panicle grows over 12 feet tall. Pleasing upright growth and long-lasting white blooms make it an invaluable small shade tree in many landscapes.
Using Tree Hydrangeas in the Landscape
White hydrangeas brighten a shady bed or border, and they also grow as a lovely ornamental tree in a shady spot. Combine with dogwood for season-long blooms, as the panicle hydrangea will begin blooming shortly after the dogwoods cease.
Hydrangeas prefer fertile, moist soil. Panicle hydrangeas, like all hydrangea plants, do not like to dry out between waterings. A good layer of mulch around the base of the hydrangea plant will help prevent drought stress to the plant.
To encourage the panicle hydrangea to grow in a tree form, prune the plant to a single-stem standard type plant instead of allowing it to grow as a multi-branched shrub. Both methods of growing are beautiful so it just depends on what gardeners prefer for a specific landscape area. White hydrangea flowers are so attractive and eye-catching as most people are used to seeing either pink or blue blooms.
All photos used by permission of their owners.