Plant of the Week: Old School varieties

Old School.

New plants get a lot of attention, which is fine. New plants are exciting and fun. But here's a look at a couple of old school favorites.
The first is 'Limelight' Hydrangea paniculata (see above). 'Limelight' sets a new standard for hardy hydrangea. Its full green blooms turn pink and burgundy in the fall. Hardy to USDA Zone 3, it's a favorite across North America.

Little Henry® Itea virginica is a dwarf form of  native sweetspire. It has fragrant white flowers in summer and brilliant orange foliage in fall. Hardy to USDA Zone 5, it will grow in sun or shade although flowering and fall color will be more pronounced in sun. While the species is typically around 4' tall, Little Henry® is just 2-3' tall and wide.

But what about the new varieties?

There are plenty of new varieties of hydrangeas. Even limiting the question to H. paniculata gives us plenty of options for new cultivars.

We are often asked how 'Limelight' compares with Little Lime®, and how Little Lime® compares to Bobo®, and do we really need quite so many choices?

The simple answer is yes, we do need these choices. Little Lime® is a dwarf form of 'Limelight'. Some sites call for a large plant, some call for a smaller one, but now we have the right sized plant for most any situation.
Bobo® is the smallest H. paniculata on the market, so it's a good fit for the smallest of sites or even as a patio container plant. It's cold hardy enough to winter above ground in much of North America.
Quick Fire® and Little Quick Fire® bloom earlier than other varieties. Bloom time and bloom color can vary quite a bit in H. paniculata, and plant breeders are pushing the envelope on both qualities to give cold-climate gardeners a longer flower season and bolder color.
Here's a nice chart showing the range of colors and bloom times for H. paniculata. Use it to create a long-lasting display in landscapes!

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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