POSTED BY KIM — Hydrangea paniculatas fall in that category that blooms on new wood. You can prune them in the spring and have great new growth (which = lots of great flowers), or if you decide to NOT prune, you’ll still have some growth and new flowers.
The flowers open a creamy white, and as the summer advances, the color changes to varying shades of a rosey hue. Unless it’s 1,000 degrees F, then they go from white to NASTY brown.
And that’s exactly what happened in the summer of 2011. Aaah, memories. I’m surprised flowers weren’t catching fire on the shrubs.
ANYWAY — this is where it gets interesting. I was at the recent Gateway Gardening Blitz at the Missouri Botanical Garden and heard Angela Jackson from Home Nursery say that in 2011, she pruned her paniculatas late — really late. Like late June/early July. So flowering was delayed, which actually was a stroke of *brilliance,* because it meant they flowered at a time in the fall when temperatures had dropped back down to normal, so she got enjoy the normal progression of bloom color changes, unlike the rest of us.
I think there may be something to this. I’m going to experiment with pruning some of my paniculatas at different times of the spring/summer this year and see what happens. But when you live in a city where you consistently get summers that are hotter than…you know…hot, this might be a great trick to keep up our sleeves.