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Identification of the Four Most Common
Species of Hydrangeas (Continued)

TIP: For additional information about each picture below, rest cursor on the picture.


HYDRANGEA paniculata
PG HYDRANGEAS (paniculatas)

Paniculata leavespaniculata leaves

The leaves of PG hydrangeas are relatively easy to identify when compared with other hydrangeas. They are smaller, thinner, and rougher than leaves of the mophead hydrangea, typically 3"-6" long and 3"-4" wide. The edges are finely toothed in some varieties and more coursely toothed in others. They are medium green with a matt finish.

One feature that will aid in identification of the H. paniculta is this: three leaves grow from a stem-node and are distributed around the node in a whorl. I don't have a good picture of this feature, but this can be seen in the picture above right when it is enlarged by clicking on it.

'PeeWee' paniculata bloomPG hydrangea bloom in the south'Tardiva,' paniculata bloom

Full H. paniculata 'Grandiflora' (PG) bloomAging paniculata blooms

All of the blooms above are from Hydrangea paniculata plants. These are generally (and inaccurately) grouped together under the term PG hydrangeas. No other species of hydrangea exhibits such a wide variety of characteristics. The plants can be trees or shrubs.

The blooms show variation, too. They can be round or cone-shaped. They can be full and heavy or sparse and light. Some blooms stand up straight and some droop. But they are all white when they first bloom. Often they turn pink as they age.

Above (first row), the bloom on the left is a simple upright bloom from a dwarf form of the species. The second bloom is of a paniculata grown in the deep south. Some PGs (specifically 'Grandiflora') grown in the south do not produce large full heads, but rather they are often small and round. The bloom on the right is a mature bloom (it will not fill out any more) typical of paniculatas such as 'Tardiva,' 'Pink Diamond,' and 'Chantilly Lace.'

Above, (second row), the bloom on the left is a full, heavy bloom (H paniculata 'Grandiflora') and the blooms on the right are several weeks old and are beginning to take on shades of pink.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora' spectacular example of a tree-form.Two examples of the tree-form, one with a tall trunk the other with a short one.Paniculata shrub-form

PG hydrangeas are the only hydrangeas that will form trees. Their central stem(s) can be developed into very attractive trunks. They can also become shrubs. The forms above demonstrate the variety of shapes paniculatas can take.

Link to more information and pictures of Hydrangea paniculata.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia

Oakleaf hydrangea leavesTypical fall color of oakleaf hydrangea

It is easy to see where the Oakleaf Hydrangea gets its name. It's leaves are shaped much like those of a red oak. The leaves can be 4" X 4" or they can be a huge 10" X 10." Often the leaves stay on the plant most of the winter, but after several freezes they are no longer attractive, so they can not be considered evergreen.

Photo from Flower Farms, 'Snow Queen'Oakleaf hydrangea bloom 'Harmony'Oakleaf hydrangea with drooping blooms 'Snowflake'

Snowflake bloom aging pinkOakleaf hydrangea bloom turning pink as it ages

All Oakleaf hydrangea blooms open white. Many of the oakleaf hydrangeas have blooms that turn pink as they age. The pink blooms above have past their prime and are taking on shades of pink. Note that the bloom on the left ('Snowflake') has "double" florets ("hose in hose"). 'Snowflake' is the only oakleaf with "double" blooms, and they last longer than any other oakleaf hydrangea.

Oakleaf hydrangea growth habit (unknown cultivar)
The picture above is an example of a well-grown Oakleaf hydrangea.

Link to more information and pictures of Oakleaf Hydrangeas.

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