Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea Is the Shrub Your Garden Needs

Pops of pink with a delicious name to match

While we love the charm of blue, purple, pink, and white hydrangeas, we are delighted to see another shade of hydrangea blooming 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.

About the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

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 six to seven 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.

How to Grow Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas

Light

These pretty pink blossoms thrive in full sun, or at six hours of sunlight a day. They prefer the morning sun and some afternoon shade, especially on warmer days in the summer. So, make sure to pick a spot where these flowers get the sunshine they love.

Soil

These hydrangeas need to be planted in soil that is fertile and well-draining.

Water

Make sure to water your hydrangeas frequently to where the soil consistently has moisture.

Fertilizer

If your soil is not rich, then adding some organic matter or slow-release well-balanced fertilizer to it will help with the growth of your hydrangeas. Make sure to do this annually in the spring.

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea
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Pruning Your Hydrangeas

This kind of hydrangea only blooms on new growth, so you don't have to worry about cutting back the blooms until after the worst of winter has passed—we recommend in February or March. In fact, these blooms will add beauty to your landscape throughout the fall and winter months as the blooms will change colors to a brownish hue. Trimming back your hydrangea plant will promote and make way for the new growth. You can trim the plant up to a third every year.

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas In Your Landscape

This planting will make a beautiful addition to your landscape and promises to provide a pop of long-lasting color during the summer months. The Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea makes an excellent border plant and can even be cut as an enchanting flowering hedge. They can also be planted in a container. You can plant it alone, or add some yellow flowers for a touch of a complementary color. They also pair well with purple florals or even some foliage plants. Because your hydrangea plant will grow up to eight feet tall, be sure to grow shorter plants in front of it.

Hydrangea Arrangement Ideas

Go All Out with Fresh Flowers
Showcase the bounty of the season with a lush arrangement of pink peonies, white hydrangeas, and green viburnums. Presenting them in a silver punch bowl lends just the right level of refinement to the table. Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Hydrangeas make a wonderful addition to any floral arrangement, and with their huge blossoms, it's bound to be the star of the show. While Hydrangeas make a nice arrangement on their own, they also pair well with other florals and greenery. Try adding other white and pink flowers, along with some greenery, like myrtle or some silver dollar eucalyptus, for a more classic and elegant look. However, if you really want that strawberry-lemonade summer look, we recommend adding in some yellow flowers of your choice, like yellow snapdragons, and mixing it with some greenery. Whatever you try, don't be afraid to get creative. You might even decide you want to dry out your hydrangeas for a long-lasting arrangement in your home.

Other Pink Hydrangea Selections

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?

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