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Gardening with George Weigel



Answers to your gardening questions and other tips by George Weigel.



Last Build Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2017 13:07:24 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2017
 



Try this quick-blooming hydrangea whose buds don't freeze: George's Plant Pick of the Week

Sat, 03 Jun 2017 13:00:14 UTC

2017-06-03T13:05:42Z

This week's Plant Pick of the Week is a showy and long-blooming hydrangea that's also not prone to winter damage.

Here's PennLive garden writer George Weigel's Plant Pick of the Week for this week:

* Common name: Hydrangea Quick Fire

* Botanical name: Hydrangea paniculata 'Bulk'

* What it is: A panicle type of hydrangea, also known as a hardy hydrangea, that gets showy masses of big, white cone-shaped flowers that turn to a rosy-white bicolor and then to darker rose from early summer into fall. Quick Fire is the earliest of this type to bloom, starting two to four weeks sooner than the species.

* Size: 6 to 7 feet tall and wide. Can be pruned into a single-stem small tree or treated as a mid-sized flowering shrub. If that's too big, try the Little Quick Fire variety that grows in the 4- to 5-foot range.

* Where to use: Great specimen for a house corner or a bed or border centerpiece. But a line of them also makes a striking flowering hedge when planted 5 or 6 feet apart along a fence or property line. Does fine in even full, direct summer sun but also blooms in half-day sun.

* Care: Prune at end of winter. Thin out and cut back stems by one third to one half (even more to maintain a smaller plant). If you're pruning as a tree, remove any new shoots from the base, remove lower branches to clear trunk, then cut back remaining canopy into a tight ball. Scatter granular organic or slow-acting fertilizer in April. Water needed only in very hot, dry weather after regular watering the first season to establish the roots.

* Great partner: Catmint, salvia or dwarf Russian sage are good perennials around the base in sunny areas. Blue-blooming leadwort makes a nice massed underplanting in afternoon-shade areas.

See George's Plant Profiles for more on hundreds of past plant picks of the week.

George's 170 most recommended plants for Pennsylvania gardens are profiled in his "Pennsylvania Getting Started Garden Guide" book.


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