Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea Is the Shrub Your Garden Needs
While we love the charm of blue, purple, pink, and white hydrangeas, we are delighted to see another shade of hydrangea blooming out across the region. Pops of strawberry—a gorgeous and showy pink-red shade—are finding their way into the world of hydrangeas, and they have a delicious name to match. Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy') was developed in France by Jean Renault and made a splash when it was introduced into the wider garden world—it was a charmer from the beginning and was voted the top plant of the year by the American Nursery and Landscape Association in 2010.
Vanilla Strawberry (aka "Vanille Fraise") hydrangea is a variety of panicle hydrangea, and it's a hardy, low-maintenance, sun-loving planting that can easily reach 6-7 feet in height. It also has color-changing blooms. This hydrangea flowers in summer, and at first the blooms are white and tinged with pink—hence the name "vanilla." As the summer months progress, the flowers become darker, eventually reaching the true strawberry shade for which the plant is also named.
Panicle hydrangea has a number of deliciously named varieties, and several produce strawberry pink blooms. Other popular hydrangeas that bloom white and change to pink as the flowers age are the hydrangeas Strawberry Sundae (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Rensun') and Fire Light (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Fire Light'). Strawberry Sundae is closely related to Vanilla Strawberry—both were bred by Renault—though the former only reaches heights of 4-5 feet. It flowers in summer and begins white, then gradually changes to pink and a deeper strawberry shade as the fall months near. With so many options, aren't you craving pink hydrangeas this summer?
Plant one of these rarer varieties of hydrangeas, and you'll likely be the only yard in the neighborhood with bright pink blooms. What are your favorite types of hydrangeas? Have your hydrangeas bloomed out yet this year?