How to Plant, Grow and Care for ‘Bobo’ Hydrangea
Thinking of growing Bobo Hydrangea in your garden this season, but aren't sure where to start? This sun-friendly hydrangea variety can grow in many different areas of your garden. In this article, gardening expert and hydrangea enthusiast Jill Drago takes you through all you need to know about Bobo Hydrangeas, including their maintenance and care.
If you have ever grown panicle hydrangeas you know how beautiful they can be, and how easy they are to grow! These sun-loving shrubs produce large football-shaped flowers that typically will bloom white and take on a shade of pink or red as the season progresses.
‘Bobo’ is a wonderful variety of panicle hydrangea that has all of the species’ best qualities. Large flowers, strong upright stems, and lush growth are all key components of this sweet variety.
If you have been seeking a panicle hydrangea that is a bit smaller than the larger varieties, ‘Bobo’ is a great choice for you. Let’s learn a little bit more about this variety and how you can fit it into your garden.
‘Bobo’ Hydrangea Overview
|common name ‘Bobo’ Hydrangea
|botanical name Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’
|plant type Deciduous Shrub
|bloom colors Pink, White
|sun requirements Partial Sun to Full Sun
|water needs Moderate
|height 36 inches
|spacing 36-48 inches
|hardiness zones 3-8
|soil needs Loamy, Well Drained
|where to plant Low-Growing, Containers
The ‘Bobo’ hydrangea is a member of the panicle hydrangea group. Hydrangeas in this group love the sun! They also bloom on new wood, making pruning a breeze.
This is a dwarf hydrangea variety that reaches 3 feet in height and about 4 feet wide. You may notice that this shrub grows a bit slower than other varieties, but it will still reach its full size in 2 or 3 years.
When the flowers bloom a crisp white on this hydrangea when fully mature. As they fade and the season goes on, they will turn to a pretty shade of pink. These flowers will cover your hydrangea from the top of the plant all of the way to the ground.
‘Bobo’ is exceptionally tolerant of both the cold and the heat and grows best in zones 3-8. This variety is a great choice for seaside communities, as they are known to be more salt tolerant compared to other species. If you live in warmer climates, ‘Bobo’ would benefit from a bit more shade.
‘Bobo’ Hydrangea Advantages
‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are a wonderful selection for the sunnier areas of your gardens. If you’ve planted hydrangeas in the past only to have them destroyed by the summer sun, this variety is exactly what you need.
As with the rest of the panicle species, ‘Bobo’ offers gardeners without shady spaces a great opportunity to grow and enjoy the beauty of hydrangeas. This variety is both cold and heat tolerant. It grows happily in zones 3-8.
There are many uses for ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas due to their size. They can easily be added to containers, perennial gardens, or used as a short border. It also blooms later in the season, so if you are looking for some flowers that will carry into the beginning of fall, this variety is one of your best options.
Propagating hydrangeas is an effortless task once you have the basics down. Unfortunately, when it comes to propagating ‘bobo’, this is a no-no. ‘Bobo’ is a trademarked variety of panicle hydrangea.
Any propagation at home is an infringement on intellectual rights. With ‘Bobo’ it is best to purchase more plants at the store and save your propagating for other hydrangeas.
How to Plant
If you have any experience planting hydrangeas, planting ‘Bobo’ is no different. Site selection will be the most important part of this process for you. You will be looking for an area that gets 6 hours or more of sunlight a day that also has well-draining soil.
For best results with this variety, ensure that your plant will have enough room to grow to its full size is key. This will limit pruning and allow the root systems plenty of room to grow.
Once you have the right spot in mind you will simply begin by digging a hole twice the size of the root ball. When you are satisfied with the positioning of your plant, backfill the hole with your garden soil. Water them deeply.
Keep your eye on your hydrangea, make sure that the leaves are not browning or dropping, and water as needed. The best time to plant ‘Bobo’ hydrangea is in the spring or the fall.
How to Grow
If you are planning on planting ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas in your garden you will be pleasantly surprised with how easy they are to grow! Let’s dig into the details a bit more.
‘Bobo’ grows best in partial sun to full sun. You will find that this variety of panicle hydrangea thrives when it gets 6 hours of sun per day.
The only sunlight condition you want to avoid with any panicle hydrangea is deep shade. This will cause the flowers to weigh down weakened branches. You may also notice fewer and smaller flowers on your ‘Bobo’ if it is grown in the shade.
If you don’t have enough sunny room in your garden beds, try planting ‘Bobo’ in a container that is positioned in full sun.
Panicles are not much different than their shade-loving relatives when it comes to water needs. Make sure ‘Bobo’ is getting about one inch of water per week. Depending on how sunny your garden is, you may need to offer your plants a bit more water.
Using a soaker hose or drip irrigation is always a really great way to make sure your they are getting enough water directly where they need it. Watch for downturned and droopy leaves, this is a sure sign that ‘Bobo’ could use more water.
A great way to retain water in your gardens is by mulching. Mulch keeps weeds out of your garden and helps slow evaporation from the soil, keeping the water near the roots.
‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are at their best when they are growing in well-draining soil that can remain moist, but not too wet. They do not like to have “wet feet”.
Too much water around the root system can lead to root rot as well as other fungal diseases that could negatively affect the health of your shrub.
The ‘Bobo’ hydrangea is hardy in zones 3-8. These lovely shrubs are a bit more cold-hardy than some other panicles yet are still just as tolerant of the heat. ‘This variety also has the ability to withstand even the toughest of winters.
If you are growing ‘Bobo’ in the warmer hardiness zones, such as zone 8, you will want to plant it somewhere that it gets some shade in the afternoon. While this variety can take full sun, it doesn’t do quite as well when the heat picks up in the afternoons.
‘Bobo’ does not need too much when it comes to fertilizer. A spring fertilizer application will get your panicle hydrangeas off to a great start for the growing season.
Fertilizing too frequently or too late in the season can cause your hydrangeas to push too much growth, eventually weakening the stems, and causing them to droop under the weight of the football-shaped blossoms.
Composting your garden beds is a great, foolproof way to add nutrition to the soil of your gardens. If you are unsure how fertile your soil is, I would recommend a soil test. These tests will tell you exactly what your soil is lacking. You may not need to fertilize at all!
‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are relatively maintenance-free! Watering, and weeding around your shrubs are all they require from you. Checking for insects and signs of disease on a regular basis is a good idea. This will allow you to treat these issues promptly and before they get too out of hand.
‘Bobo’ hydrangeas bloom on new wood each season. This allows pruning to be done in the fall or in the springtime before any new growth appears. Whenever you decide to prune, all you need to do is cut the branches within a few inches of the ground.
You may opt to leave a few of the full-sized branches in place. These branches can act as support for new growth. You may also opt not to prune at all. This is totally fine as well and will not affect the blooms or new growth of ‘Bobo’.
If you have concerns about garden pests taking over your hydrangea, you do not need to be worried about this variety. That is not to say that ‘Bobo’ is “resistant” to insects, instead, it may encounter typical garden pests just like any other plant in your yard.
You may find insects such as beetles, aphids, or mites living on your hydrangeas. These insects are not picky about their hosts and can be controlled pretty easily.
It is not typically advised to spray your hydrangea down with water; however, this can help to remove mites and aphids from the surface of your plants. If this doesn’t do the trick, head to your garden center and pick up a bottle of insecticidal soap or other control that your garden center may recommend.
For the beetles, you can walk around with a bucket of soapy water and knock the beetles into the bucket. If you know that you have a grub issue in your lawn, be sure to treat your lawn to avoid any grub damage to your hydrangea’s roots and to help control the beetle population in your yard.
For the most part, hydrangeas are tough plants that do not struggle with many diseases. However, they have been known to struggle with fungal diseases from time to time.
Prevention of fungal diseases is pretty simple. It starts with spacing your ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas out with the appropriate spacing. This is about 4-6 feet apart. The airflow between the plants will help reduce any extra moisture that could help fungal spores spread.
Cleaning up dropped leaves and other plant material is another great way to keep your plants healthy. Fungal spores will live on these plant tissues and will spread easily if they are hit with raindrops or irrigation water.
If you have noticed that your ‘Bobo’ hydrangea is struggling with powdery mildew or another fungal disease such as leaf spot the first thing you should do is remove any infected leaves. If this doesn’t do the trick, or if you are still concerned about the overall health of your shrub, head on over to your local garden center and pick up a copper fungicide.
Be sure to apply these fungicides at the rate that is on the product label. This will keep you, your hydrangea, and the environment safe.
Since ‘Bobo’ is a dwarf variety of panicle hydrangea, it is a bit more versatile than its larger counterparts. Maxing out at 3 feet in height, ‘Bobo’ is an excellent option for your containers!
But the options don’t stop there. Add ‘Bobo’ into your perennial gardens where you are looking for the outrageous blooms of hydrangea, but just don’t have the space for a 6-8 foot tall variety.
Try adding ‘Bobo’ to your garden borders. The creamy flowers will complement other plants like a dream, and the dense growth habit of this shrub will offer some privacy or hide something you don’t want to see. Such as an air conditioner or other utility feature of your home.
Why isn’t my ‘Bobo’ hydrangea blooming?
There are a couple of reasons that your ‘Bobo’ hydrangea isn’t blooming. The first is the plant’s location. Panicles, including ‘Bobo’, thrive in full sun.
If there are not any flowers, or the flowers are much smaller than you expected, you should take a look at how much sunlight your plant is getting. You may need to transplant ‘Bobo’, or you may be able to prune some branches of larger plants out of the way, so the shrub gets more sunlight.
The second reason your shrub might not be blooming may be related to your fertilizer. In order for flowering plants to bloom they need phosphorus.
If you have been giving your shrubs too much basic fertilizer, or if there is runoff from your lawn fertilizer you may want to add some bonemeal or a fertilizer that is specifically for blooming plants.
Are ‘Bobo’ hydrangeas a good container plant?
Absolutely! Most hydrangeas will grow beautifully for you in a container. The dwarf nature of ‘Bobo’ makes it a more versatile option for containers. You will not need to have a giant container for this variety to grow happily. It also allows for more room to plant some trailing or flowering annuals which will really bump up the beauty of your container garden.
Will ‘Bobo’ flop?
If you have planted ‘Bobo’ in the right spot in your garden you should not expect any flopping under the heavy weight of the flowers. This variety has been hybridized to have very strong stems that grow upright. The perfect combination for these football-shaped flowers.
However, If your ‘Bobo’ hydrangea is not getting enough sun you may experience flopping of the branches. When panicles do not get enough sun their stems and branches become weakened. This weakness is what leads to flopping.
Is ‘Bobo’ salt tolerant?
‘Bobo’ has shown signs of being salt tolerant, and would be a great selection for a seaside garden.
Salt has a way of dehydrating your plant. If the water your plant is drinking is too salty, the plant’s roots will not be able to absorb enough water. Salt that lands on the surface can also pull water from the plant tissues. Both of these will cause your shrub to show signs of dehydration.
If you are unsure if your seaside location is suitable for a ‘Bobo’ hydrangea’ try planting it in a container. This will allow you to move the container if needed, and also control the water that makes its way into the soil.
Another option is to plant ‘Bobo’ in a more protected area. If salt spray could be an issue, I would suggest planting in an area where it will not be misted with salt water on a regular basis.
‘Bobo’ hydrangeas are a really nice addition to any garden. These shrubs may be small, but they are not lacking anything. They are more compact, making them a great addition to containers, or other areas of your garden where you need low-growing shrubs.
The flowers are huge and there are plenty of them to go around, leaving plenty for you to snip off any enjoy in bouquets indoors as well.