Hydrangea paniculata: planting, propagation & the best cultivars


I studied agricultural sciences and have always preferred spending my free time outdoors. Apart for my enthusiasm for gardening and agriculture, I love taking photos and rarely leave home without my camera. Whether it is landscapes, blossoms or wildlife, I can usually find a perfect shot that captures the beauty of nature.

Favourite fruit: strawberries, blueberries, plums
Favourite vegetables: radishes, tomatoes, pumpkin

What is the perfect location for panicled hydrangeas? What to consider when fertilising? Everything about planting and caring for Hydrangea paniculata can be found here.

White flowering Hydrangea paniculata
Panicle hydrangeas are robust and very popular as ornamental garden plants [Photo: photowind/ Shutterstock.com]

Hydrangeas exist in many different species and cultivars and it is hard to imagine our gardens without them. In fact, the Latin name for this plant hortensius means “belonging to the garden”. Hydrangea paniculata is one of the most robust hydrangea species.

Hydrangea paniculata: flowering period, origin and characteristics

The panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) belongs to the hydrangea genus (Hydrangea) in the hydrangea family (Hydrangeaceae). Like most hydrangea species, it originated in East Asia. Its wild form is widespread in China, Japan and Russia. Hydrangea paniculata grows as an upright shrub, reaching approximately 2 to 4 metres tall and 2 to 3 metres wide when fully grown. The grey-brown twigs have oval to ovate leaves about 6 centimetres wide and up to 15 centimetres long. They are intensely green in colour and taper to a point. The leaf margin is finely toothed. In autumn, the foliage often takes on a greenish-yellow colour. The flowering period of the panicled hydrangea is between July and October. This makes it one of the late flowering hydrangea species. The cone-shaped panicles are composed of sterile flowers, each with 3 to 4 decorative, rounded sepals, and fine, rather inconspicuous, fertile flowers.

Close-up of cluster of cream panicle hydrangea flowers
The sterile flowers are close together and, together with the fertile flowers, form the compact flower panicles [Photo: ingehogenbijl/ Shutterstock.com]

Depending on the cultivar, Hydrangea paniculata bloom in pink, pink or white to creamy white, combined with light green. Towards the end of flowering white cultivars also often turn pink. However, the hydrangea blue familar from the bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) does not exist in panicled hydrangeas. You may have also wondered if panicle hydrangeas are bee friendly. Most hydrangea species and cultivars are dominated by sterile flowers. In them bees and other insects do not find food. However, there are some cultivars that have a higher proportion of nectar-rich, fragrant and fertile flowers, making them bee-friendly. These cultivars include, for example, ‘Tardiva’ and ‘Kyushu’.

Delicate white flowers of panicle hydrangea
Varieties like ‘Tardiva’ and ‘Kyushu’ have more nectar-rich fertile flowers, providing an abundance of food for bees and other insects [Photo: surotbar/ Shutterstock.com]

Hydrangea paniculata varieties

In addition to the proportion of fertile and sterile flowers, the different cultivars of the panicled hydrangea differ primarily in their growth height and colour. In addition, some cultivars are well suited as a tree.

Winter hardy cultivars

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’: Flower panicles up to 30 cm long; lime green flower colour, changing to white to pale pink as flowering progresses; flowering period: July – October; height: up to 2 m; especially frost hardy and robust.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’: Flowers appear at the beginning of the flowering period in cream to vanilla white with a touch of pink, during the summer the pink becomes more intense, until the flowers shine in late autumn in bright purple; reddish-brown shoots; flowering period: July – November; height: up to 2 m; winter-hardy and robust; also survives drier periods.

White-pink Hydrangea paniculata flower
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ produces vanilla-white flower panicles with a hint of pink [Photo: Peter Turner Photography/ Shutterstock.com]

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’: Rarer cultivar; forms panicles of flowers over 30 cm in size; they appear white to creamy yellow at first and turn pink to red towards autumn; flowering period: August – October; height: up to 2.5 m; especially hardy.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Diamant Rouge’: Exceptionally large flower panicles (35 – 40 cm); at the beginning of flowering they shine in pure white, colour changes to pink to an intense raspberry red; foliage is fresh green at first and takes on an orange hue in autumn; flowering period: July – September; height: up to 2 m; hardy.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’: Late cultivar; loose, fragrant panicles of white-pink flowers; bloom into October, providing food for insects when most other flowers have already faded; dark green foliage; flowering period: July-October; height: 2.5-3.5 m; very hardy and undemanding.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyushu’: Creamy white flower panicles; pleasant fragrance of fertile flowers, which attracts many butterflies; flowering period: July – September; height: 2 m; very frost hardy.

Panicled hydrangea as a tree: suitable cultivars

In addition to the Hydrangea paniculata cultivar ‘Limelight’, the cultivars ‘Levana’ and ‘Wim’s Red’ are also suitable as trees. They are also hardy. ‘Levana’ produces very large pure white flowerheads up to 50 centimetres long and reaches growth heights of 3 to 5 metres. Their flowering period lasts from June to September or October. The green leaves of this panicled hydrangea contrast beautifully with the bright flowers. The cultivar ‘Wim’s Red’ already shows white flower panicles from the beginning of June, which open with a time lag. In the course of flowering, its colour changes from light pink to intense red. This gives the impression that the panicles bloom multicoloured. ‘Wim’s Red’ grows up to 2.5 metres tall and blooms until September.

Hydrangea paniculata grown as a tree
It is also possible to grow panicle hydrangeas into a tree [Photo: Edita Medeina/ Shutterstock.com]

Hydrangea paniculata in pots: small cultivars for growing in containers

Small panicled hydrangea cultivars are suitable for pot planting on the balcony or patio. The lime green flowering dwarf Hydrangea paniculata ‘Mojito’ reaches a growth height of 90 to 100 centimetres. The white-flowered dwarf Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Spooky’ grows only about 30 to 50 centimetres tall, and the white-green to pink-flowered dwarf variety ‘Little Fraise’ grows 60 to 80 centimetres tall.

Cultivation: location, timing and procedure

Panicled hydrangeas prefer a sunny to semi-shady location in the garden or on the balcony, sheltered from the wind. They can be planted all year round, but should ideally be planted out in spring. The soil should be fresh, well-drained, rich in humus and nutrients, with a pH between 5.5 and 6 (slightly acidic). Nutrient-poor, sandy garden soils should be enriched with some compost or a high-quality potting soil such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost before planting. Soils with low permeability, on the other hand, should be mixed with enough sand to make up at least one-third of the volume of soil in the planting hole. Mix the substrate well and then dig a sufficiently large planting hole. Lightly break the planting root ball with your hands or a spade to stimulate the branching of the roots and place it in the planting hole. Fill the hole with substrate and press firmly.

Water generously. You can use a mulch layer of leafy greens or bark mulch to ensure that moisture stays in the soil longer when you water and doesn’t evaporate as quickly. Especially when planting in the warm season, it is necessary to water regularly afterwards.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
star-placeholder star-placeholder star-placeholder star-placeholder star-placeholder
star-rating star-rating star-rating star-rating star-rating
  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Tip: From excess garden soil, you can model a circular watering rim around the hydrangea. When watering, always fill the watering rim with water so that it can seep away in a targeted manner and not run off uncontrollably above ground.

Somebody planting panicle hydrangea plant
To increase the permeability of the soil, mix a little sand into the soil in the planting hole [Photo: ingae/ Shutterstock.com]

If you want to put Hydrangea paniculata in a planter on the patio or balcony, when choosing a suitable container, make sure that the bottom of the container has a drainage hole. This ensures that excess irrigation water can drain away and does not cause waterlogging. A peat-free potting soil such as our Plantura Organic Flower Compost is very suitable as a substrate. With its balanced nutrient composition, it provides your panicled hydrangeas with the optimal conditions for vigorous growth and lush blooms.

Caring for panicled hydrangeas

Hydrangea paniculata are quite robust and undemanding compared to other hydrangea species. In addition to fertilizing and watering, annual pruning is recommended if you want to encourage beautiful growth with lots of flowers or don’t have a lot of space. Learn how to cut panicle hydrangea in our dedicated article.


Especially for potted hydrangeas, the nutrient supply should be replenished annually by spring fertilization. This will give the plant a good start to the growing season. In the summer, further fertilisation may be applied. Through this optimal nutrient supply, nothing stands in the way of a rich flowering. Choose a plant-based fertiliser for panicle hydrangeas, such as our Plantura Hydrangea Food with a slow-release effect. Typical deficiency symptoms and diseases of hydrangeas are prevented by the fertiliser. Work it lightly into the soil to increase its effectiveness. You can also add it under the mulch layer so that it is well moistened and begins to act quickly.

Caution: Hydrangeas tend to root shallowly, so do not dig too hard under them or loosen the soil so as not to injure the roots.

Hydrangea Food, 1.5kg
Hydrangea Food, 1.5kg
star-placeholder star-placeholder star-placeholder star-placeholder star-placeholder
star-rating star-rating star-rating star-rating star-rating
  • For beautiful hydrangeas with lush blooms in pots & flower beds
  • Prevents common deficiency symptoms & supports healthy plant growth
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Watering panicled hydrangeas

Unlike most hydrangea species, Hydrangea paniculata can survive drier periods. However, in order not to subject them to unnecessary stress, you should always keep the soil around the plants moderately moist. Water regularly and make sure that the root ball never dries out completely. It is advisable to water the plants from below. This prevents water from getting on the leaves and flowers.


Hydrangea paniculata can be propagated by cuttings. To do this, cut about 10 to 15 centimetres long, healthy and only slightly woody shoot tips without flower buds from the hydrangea between June and July. Remove all but the top pair of leaves and put them in growing containers filled with substrate. A peat-free sowing soil such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost is ideal as a substrate. It is advisable to mix the sowing soil with sand or perlite to increase permeability and achieve better rooting success. The cuttings are inserted into the soil about 2 to 3 centimetres deep and lightly pressed. Keep the substrate continuously moist and make sure that the water reaches the cuttings as far down as possible. In a bright place without direct sunlight and a temperature of about 15 °C, they take root and grow into new hydrangea plantlets.

Close-up of panicle hydrangea leaves
To propagate panicle hydrangeas, take cuttings of non-flowering shoot tips approximately 10 cm in length [Photo: Dyfrain/ Shutterstock.com]

Overwintering Hydrangea paniculata

Panicled hydrangeas are hardy. When buying hydrangeas, be sure to choose robust plants that have been well hardened off from specialised stores. In addition, you should always use organic or primarily organic fertilizers. Mineral fertilizer, in fact, jeopardizes the frost hardiness of plants, especially if it is used too late in the year.

For Hydrangea paniculata in the bed, if necessary, shallow roots can be covered with a light layer of mulch and thus protected from frost damage. Hydrangeas planted in pots should be wrapped with jute bags, garden fleece, or bubble wrap in the winter as a precaution. For older hydrangeas, protection in the lower area is sufficient; young plants should be completely wrapped as a precaution. Alternatively, panicled hydrangeas can be placed in bright, protected winter quarters. But in any case, do not overwinter panicle hydrangea too warm. A prolonged cold stimulus is necessary for the plant to successfully sprout and form flowers again in the next growing season.

Tip: If Hydrangea paniculata is overwintered indoors, it should be slowly reintroduced to light in the spring. Because if it is put outside from one day to another and exposed to intense sunlight, it can quickly suffer sunburn.

If you want to learn what other bee-friendly shrubs there are for the garden, we recommend our dedicated article on the 15 most beautiful shrubs for bees.