It is November, and yesterday I found 2 large Panicle Quickfire Hydrangeas that had not sold yet, and I was delighted by the way that the plants were ending their growth cycles. Because early summer and summer are the times that hydrangeas generally flush, that is usually the best time to choose a hydrangea plant. If I had bought my Quick Fires while they were blooming, however, I might not have realized how very interesting that they are in late fall and early winter.
One of the first hydrangeas to bloom, it is white when it begins its season. After that, it gradually turns pink, and at the end of its cycle, it is pink.
“Quick Fire® hydrangea blooms about a month before any other panicle hydrangea – usually by 4th of July in our West Michigan trial gardens. Flowers open pure white then turn pink, and will be an extremely dark rosy-pink in the fall. The flower color on Quick Fire hydrangea is not affected by soil pH. Blooms on this super-hardy and easy to grow hydrangea are produced on new wood, which means that you will see flowers even after even the harshest winters. Beautiful for use as a cut (fresh or dried) flower. Unlike other panicle hydrangeas, Quick Fire also has excellent fall foliage color for a final hurrah before winter.” -Proven Winners Here
Top reasons to grow Quick Fire® hydrangea:
– the earliest blooming panicle hydrangea – gives you months and months of blooms.
– excellent fall color – blooms turn deep red, leaves turn gold and burgundy.
– lacecap variety attracts pollinators.
“Quick Fire” hydrangea presents as a multi-stemmed shrub offering large green leaves and enormous, conical clusters of flowers in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. The bold and upright flower clusters, excellent for cut flower arrangements, slowly acquire pink tones as they mature, finishing the season a rich rose color. The cultivar grows into a spreading mound some 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide and lives to 40 years or more.
Hydrangeas and Sun
“Every gardener recognizes the importance of planting a shrub where it gets the level of sunshine it requires, since many shade-loving plants wilt in full sun while sun-worshiping shrubs stay small and flowerless in shade. Hydrangeas generally need ample sun, but experts recognize that most species do best with afternoon shade. Full shade, however, reduces or eliminates flowering. Of the popular, cultivated species in the U.S., panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) takes the prize for accepting the most sun; it thrives in USDA zones 3 though 8 and prefers full, direct sun.
“You can’t have it all, popular wisdom tells you, and up until now, the rule seemed to hold true with hydrangeas. Hydrangea species fall into two growth groups, those that bloom on old wood and those that flower on new wood. The former group includes popular bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla) and native oakleaf (Hydrangea quercifolia), both of which grow in USDA zones 5 though 9. Since they greet spring with their buds in place, they flower as early as mid-summer. Panicle hydrangea flowers on new wood. Given the time it takes the shrub to produce new wood and buds in the spring, it generally does not begin to flower until late summer but continues into August. “Quick Fire” is again the exception: it begins to bloom a full month before other panicle hydrangeas yet continues straight through autumn, offering the longest flowering season of any hydrangea.” SF Gate Home Guides Here
“Quick Fire” hydrangea blooms on new wood – the tender new branches that appear in the spring. To preserve new wood for flowering, major pruning needs to be finished before new growth begins in the spring. In USDA zones 3 through 5, prune in early spring, removing dead branches and cutting the bush to a pleasing size. In warmer USDA zones 6 through 8, prune the bush in the fall after all flowers have died back, but before cold weather sets in. Avoid pruning during the coldest part of the winter to prevent cold damage to tender wood.
How and When to Prune a Quick Fire Hydrangea
“Severe pruning is done to control growth of the plant. Removing most of the old wood rejuvenates growth and encourages blooming. Severe pruning may not be needed every year. Allow the plant to grow until it becomes too large for the space desired or until the shape is not pleasing to the eye, then prune the plant back. Severe pruning takes place in the fall, winter or early spring. When severe pruning is needed, cut the branches back as desired, leaving at least a few inches above ground level for new growth in the spring.
Deadheading and Maintenance of Quick Fire Hydrangeas
“Removing dead flowers, known as deadheading, encourages new buds to form. It only takes a few minutes to remove flowers as they wither, and the effort pays off in increased flower production. Look over the bush and remove damaged branches at the same time. This type of maintenance is an ongoing process throughout the summer. Prune only as needed during the spring and summer.
Pruning A Quick Fire Hydrangea to Tree Form
“Panicle hydrangeas such as “Quick Fire” can be pruned to tree form, if desired. To accomplish this, suckers that form on the trunk area throughout the growing season need to be removed as they appear. Keeping the trunk clean enhances the tree’s appearance and directs more of the plant’s energy into flowering. SF Gate Home Guides Here