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Hydrangeas have made a comeback as a must-have landscape and garden plant, but, as many gardeners have discovered the hard way, many of the old varieties commonly available in garden centers are not particularly hardy or even vigorous growers, and often fail to bloom reliably every year. For many years the hardiest Hydrangea was Hydrangea paniculata PeeGee, which allowed gardeners in Zones 4 and 5 to at least have a hydrangea. Unfortunately, PeeGee is a notorious flopper and the shrub often collapses under its own weight and does not produce the massive display of blooms and colors that we see with the less hardy varieties. But now, thanks to the hard work of breeders around the world, gardeners in Zone 3, 4 and 5 have some fantastic hardy Hydrangea choices.

Hydrangea LimelightHydrangea Limelight
Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' is possibly the most amazing hardy Hydrangea introduction in recent years. The non-stop summer massive display of lime-green flowers is followed by a mix of
burgundy, pink and green blooms when nipped by cool fall nights. Limelight will grow in full sun or shade and is tolerant to almost any type of soil as long as it is well-drained. Like all paniculatas, Limelight blooms on buds that develop in the spring, so it will bloom reliably year after year no matter how harsh the winter weather was. That means that Limelight can be pruned hard in early spring to form a nice uniform hedge or to control the size of the plant and to increase the bloom size. Hardy to Zone 3!





Hydrangea Pinky WinkyHydrangea Pinky Winky
The rather unfortunately-named Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky' produces 12-16" long two-toned blooms in mid-summer. Pinky Winky blooms regardless of soil type, pH, winter severity or pruning. Pinky Winky's rich green foliage makes for an attractive specimen plant or hedge even before it begins to bloom. The blooms are held on stiff stems that never droop and make saucy cut flowers. Very tolerant of urban conditions and hard to kill! Also hardy to Zone 3! Pinky Winky is a top seller at our farm in Eastern Oregon!






Hydrangea Quick FireHydrangea Quick Fire
Hydrangea paniculata 'Quick Fire' is a great new hardy Hydrangea that blooms as much as a month earlier than other varieties. Quick Fire lets you kick off the Hydrangea bloom season a little earlier than you could before. Here in Zone 5 it can bloom as early as the last week in May! You guessed it: Also hardy to Zone 3!

All of these new hardy Hydrangeas can be grown in full sun or shade and are not  water hogs like the Oak Leaf types. Once they are established they can even be somewhat drought tolerant, although they'll always bloom better with normal landscape/lawn type watering. They're not fussy, have no major pest problems, and are a joy to grow. Photos courtesy of Proven Winners www.provenwinners.com.