Peegee hydrangeas are hardy plants with long-lasting flower clusters. We provide some tips for growing these shrubs properly.
The Peegee hydrangea is one among those few hydrangea varieties that produce conical racemes.
Hydrangeas are very popular garden plants that are grown for their fabulous flower heads. Natives to Southeast Asia and Americas, these plants are now grown in different parts of the world. Most of them grow as shrubs, but there are some climbing types too. Some hydrangeas can be grown as small trees. Peegee hydrangeas are often seen as shrubs or small trees.
The Name: The Peegee hydrangea is a cultivar of the species Hydrangea paniculata. The full name of the cultivar is Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora. Peegee hydrangea is the short form of its scientific name. In fact, ‘P’ stands for paniculata and ‘G’ stands for grandiflora. It is also referred to as PG hydrangea or tree hydrangea. The name paniculata refers to the panicles (racemes) produced by the plant, and grandiflora denotes its large flower heads.
The Plant: Peegee hydrangeas grow as multi-stemmed shrubs, but they can be pruned to a single stem, and grown as small trees with arching branches. These hydrangeas grow to a height of 8 to 25 feet. The spread of the plant ranges between 8 and 10 feet. The growth rate of these plants may vary with different conditions. Peegee hydrangeas produce large, white conical racemes during mid to late summer. The racemes can be as long as 20 inches. The bloom time for peegees starts from mid summer and extends to late autumn. The flowers last long and turn pink, before they fade. The rust-colored dry flowers of these plants are often used for indoor decoration.
Peegee Hydrangea Care
Peegees are among the most hardy hydrangeas that can be grown in colder climates too. Stem cuttings are used for propagation of peegees. Though it is not that difficult to grow these plants, you must have a basic understanding about their requirements.
Sunlight and Soil
While most of the hydrangea species are shade-loving plants, peegees like full sun. They can also be planted in locations with partial shade. However, partial shade is advisable for locations with very hot summers, and full sun is good for places with cool summers. The plant needs at least five to six hours of daily sunlight for healthy growth. The soil must be well-drained and moist, but not soggy. The preferred soil pH level for this plant is 5.6 to 6.5, and it thrives well in zones 3 to 8.
While planting a peegee hydrangea, ensure that only a small part of the stem comes beneath the soil. If the stem is planted deeper, it may develop rot. You may mix a good amount of compost with the soil, before planting this hydrangea. Once planted, water the plant and add mulch to retain moisture. Water the plant frequently till it gets established.
Watering and Feeding
Peegees need enough water for a healthy growth. During dry climates, water these plants twice a week, thoroughly. During hot summers, deep watering once a week is better than frequent shallow watering. Use a light fertilizer to feed these plants during early spring, before the plant produces new shoots. High-phosphate fertilizers are found to be beneficial for inducing flowering in these hydrangeas. Feed the plant once again, after the bloom time.
This is one of the most important aspects of peegee hydrangea care. Pruning can be done to shape the plant or to control its unrestrained growth. Peegees can be pruned during late winter or early spring, before the plant produces new growths. As blooms develop on new growths, pruning results in more shoots and more blooms. If you want your peegee to produce large flower heads, prune the plant heavily. Retain only four to five healthy stems. You may also remove the suckers, along with dead and diseased branches. Even old branches can be removed, if they do not bloom anymore.
If you want your peegee hydrangea shrub to be trained as a tree, choose the straightest and healthiest stem. Remove other stems except the straight one that has to be supported with a stake. If that stem has branches, remove them leaving a few on the top part. Nip off the top part of the straight stem so that it produces additional branches. You must continue removing branches from the lower part of the main stem, as it has to form the trunk of the tree. Prune the top branches according to the desired pattern. You may also buy a plant that is already in the tree form.
Peegee hydrangeas are fast-growing shrubs that can be seen as border plants or accent plants. They are also very popular for foundation planting. Growing peegees is not a difficult task, provided you take care of them in the proper manner. Avoid ingesting or smoking this plant, as it contains toxic compounds.