Nothing can be a greater addition to your garden like the beautiful bouquets of flowering hydrangeas, and this year, a variety called the Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea is getting a lot of attention.
Developed in France, the vanilla strawberry hydrangea—whose scientific name is “Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’” first came to prominence when it was voted “Plant of the Year” in 2010 by the American Nursery and Landscape Association, according to Southern Living. Its petals’ color evolution from cream white to bright pink is nothing short of stunning.
Hydrangeas grow all over the world but are native to Asia and America. While they are one of the popular flowering garden plants in Europe and the United States, the greatest natural diversity can be found in East Asia.
When French horticulturalist Jean Renault filed the patent for his “Vanilla Strawberry” hydrangea, he explained just how special it was. The patent stated that it is characterized by “[I]ts large panicles of sterile flowers that emerge white and change to pink and finally to a red with maturity with the red coloration lasting about 3 to 4 weeks.”
The patent further added that “its continuous flush of new flowering stems [give] an overall multicolored effect in late summer to early fall.” The other trait that sets these hydrangeas apart from existing pink varieties like “Pinky Winky” is that their flowering branches start the season growing straight up only to bend and bow as the summer ends.
The vanilla strawberry hydrangea is also known for its impressive height (growing up to 6 feet tall). Additionally, this shrub is a low maintenance plant and just soaks up the sun on its own.
The other characteristic is its flowering branches that grow into conical structures, which are the panicles that give the plants their varietal name. With the Vanilla Strawberry, these panicles, when mature, almost resemble cones of pink cotton candy from a distance.
Additionally, it’s helpful to know that the vanilla strawberry is extremely cold-hardy, making them suitable for the chilly north to the steamy south of the United States.
These plants like rich, moist soil with plenty of sunshine. It’s also important to give these pretty-in-pink varieties plenty of space to spread out. As the Missouri Botanical Garden notes, it typically spreads out to 4 to 5 feet.
Meanwhile, the bloom time of these distinctive hydrangeas occurs between the months of July and September.
If you are looking to enhance the look of your garden, the Vanilla Strawberry truly is all the colors you want to add to your garden, and it is within your grasp.
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