Botanical Names: Hydrangea paniculata, French or bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
Play with color in your garden by adding pink hydrangeas to the mix. These pretty flowering shrubs open in a host of pink tones, from palest pink, to neon cotton candy pink, to classic rose pink. When it comes to buying a hydrangea, pink is the color for more than beauty, it also supports a cause. Newer introductions of pink hydrangeas serve as fundraisers to support breast cancer research.
In the French or bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) group, pink shades cover the gamut, from pale to dark, almost red hues. ‘Forever Pink’ hydrangea variety opens full, rose-pink flowerheads, while the rounded blooms on Cityline Paris glow in fuchsia. ‘Blushing Bride’ is an unusual pale pink hydrangea because its blooms begin white and age to a pale pink.
The intensity of pink in a hydrangea flower is influenced by soil pH and aluminum content in soil. You can deepen pink tones on French hydrangeas by trying several things. Adding dolomitic lime several times a year to soil where the hydrangea is growing helps raise pH, which helps prevent the plant from absorbing aluminum. Applying a high phosphorus fertilizer can also tie up aluminum and keep it from entering plant roots.
French pink hydrangeas that fall into the color shifting group include ‘All Summer Beauty’ and ‘Endless Summer.’ A lacecap pink hydrangea that you can shift from pink to blue is ‘Twist ‘n’Shout.’ Its flower heads have deep pink centers flowers encircled with a row of light pink petals. ‘Shamrock’ offers a double pink lacecap blossom decked out in a clear pink.
Among panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata), several new introductions bring on the pink during the summer flowering period. ‘Bella Anna’ offers magenta-pink blooms, while Quick Fire starts out white and matures to a glowing reddish-pink. Pinky Winky panicle hydrangea follows the same path, opening white blooms that mature to pink in fall. On this pink hydrangea, new white flowers continue to open at the tips of the bloom clusters, even as the older flowers at the base shift to pink. The result is an eye-catching two-tone bloom in pink and white.
One pink hydrangea in the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) group helps raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. Invincibelle Spirit flowers steadily from early summer to first fall frost. This pink hydrangea features deep pink buds that burst into hot pink blossoms. As flowers mature, the color shifts to yield a pale pink hydrangea before turning to green tones.Every Invincibelle Spirit plant sold yields $1 for breast cancer research. Since this pink hydrangea’s 2010 debut, it has raised funds to support 14,600 hours of research. Plant in full sun or part shade.