How to Plant, Grow and Care For Hydrangea ‘Strawberry Sundae’
Are you looking for the perfect hydrangea variety to add to your garden this season? There are many to choose from, but hydrangea 'Strawberry Sundae' is a gardener favorite. In this article, gardening expert and hydrangea enthusiast Jill Drago shares all you need to know about this popular hydrangea, including its maintenance and care needs.
To know a panicle hydrangea is to love a panicle hydrangea. These hydrangeas like to spend their days basking in the sun, and we love them for it! Where most species of hydrangeas would dry out too quickly, the panicle hydrangea holds strong.
‘Strawberry sundae’ is a popular variety of panicle hydrangea. This variety sports creamy pink flowers and can add softness to any otherwise sunny and bright garden. A little smaller than other panicles, this variety is easily tucked into gardens or into your containers.
Let’s learn how to grow and care for ‘strawberry sundae’ and add a pop of pink to your gardens!
About Hydrangea ‘Strawberry Sundae’
|common name Hydrangea ‘Strawberry Sundae’|
|botanical name Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Strawberry Sundae’|
|plant type Flowering Shrub|
|bloom colors White to Pink|
|sun requirements Full sun to partial shade|
|water needs Moderate|
|height 4-5 feet|
|hardiness zones 3-8|
|soil needs Well-drained|
|where to plant Sunny areas|
|pet toxic Dogs, cats, orses|
‘Strawberry sundae’ is a member of the Hydrangea paniculata species, also known as the panicle hydrangea. This particular species is sun-loving and sports large cone-shaped flowers.
The flowers will begin the season as a soft and creamy white. These white flowers will slowly age to pink and finally red as the summer progresses. The combination of these colors on one flower is stunning and will remind you of strawberry ice cream.
This cultivar will grow to a height of 4-5 feet and a width of 3-4 feet, making it a good size but still considered small for a panicle. Still, it’s very versatile for gardeners and their different garden needs.
‘Strawberry sundae’ is a trademarked variety, meaning that plant propagation is not permitted.
Generally, hydrangeas are pretty easy to propagate at home. You can opt to take cuttings or ground layer the hydrangea and have success. Unfortunately, with this cultivar, this is a no-no. Be sure to stock up on these pink flowering hydrangeas if you think you will want to have them planted throughout your garden.
Once you have found a nice sunny spot in your garden to plant your ‘strawberry sundae’ begin by digging a hole that is about twice the size of the root ball.
Place your hydrangea in the hole, ensuring that the plant is straight and the crown of the plant is sitting at soil level. Once your plant is sitting nicely, backfill the hole with your garden soil. Water deeply and continue to check the soil’s moisture level for weeks to come.
How to Grow ‘Strawberry Sundae’
Panicles are very simple to grow, just as long as you have a few key details regarding their care. If you plan on planting a ‘strawberry sundae’ hydrangea, let’s look at the details of how to grow the most beautiful shrub you can!
‘Strawberry sundae’ belongs to the sun-loving hydrangea species: Hydrangea paniculata, or panicle hydrangea. This variety thrives in full sun at a recommendation of 6-8 hours daily.
This amount of sunlight will also allow the plant to produce the maximum amount of flowers. As with most hydrangeas, the morning sun is best. This will give the shrub a break during the hottest times of the day.
This cultivar will benefit greatly from one inch of water per week. This water can come from rainfall, irrigation, or a combination of both.
Because your ‘strawberry sundae’ hydrangea will get much more sun than some other hydrangeas, you may need to add a supplemental watering or two to your gardening schedule.
Keep your eyes on the leaves to ensure they are not drooping toward the ground. If they begin to droop, it’s time for some more water.
Panicle hydrangeas, including ‘strawberry sundae,’ grow best in moist but well-draining soil. If you grab a handful of your garden soil, it should hold together nicely, but there should not be any water running from the soil if you squeeze it.
The soil pH is only slightly important. This cultivar prefers acidic soil. However, the flowers will always be pink. This is not the correct species if you are looking to play with flower color. That lies solely with bigleaf hydrangeas.
Climate and Temperature
‘Strawberry sundae’ is hardy in USDA zones 4-8. This cultivar will grow nicely in cool zones as well as hot zones. Be wary of planting this hydrangea if you experience a lot of humidity. Humidity can lead to fungal diseases.
Fertilizing in the spring can be very beneficial. Wait until the shrub beings to show signs of life and is coming out of dormancy.
Use a basic fertilizer, and follow the application instructions. When it comes to panicles, you do not want to over-fertilize. Too much fertilizer can weaken the stems of the hydrangea, which could cause them to droop under the weight of the large blossoms.
Adding compost to your garden is another way to add nutrients to your soil. You can purchase compost at your local garden center, landscape supply company, or farm.
You can opt to work the compost into the soil ahead of planting, or you can top-dress the compost on top of your existing soil. Either way, the natural organic material will greatly benefit your hydrangeas.
‘Strawberry sundae’ is a very low-maintenance shrub. Aside from water, there is not much left for you to do.
Deadheading is optional. If you do not like the appearance of the dried blossoms on your hydrangea, feel free to snip them off. Remember that deadheading will not promote new blooms as it does in some perennials.
Keep the area free and clear of weeds. This not only gives your garden a tidy appearance but will aid in keeping your hydrangea well-watered and disease-free.
When it comes to pruning, the most important thing to remember is whether the hydrangea forms its flower buds on new or old wood. In the case of ‘strawberry sundae’, you can count on the flower buds being formed on new wood that grows in the springtime.
This allows your pruning time to be a bit more flexible. You can prune in the fall once your hydrangea has lost its leaves, or you may choose to wait until springtime. If you wait until springtime, be sure to do your trimming before any new growth begins to appear.
Remember that pruning is optional. Leaving some of the old stalks can offer support for new growth bearing the weight of the heavy blossoms.
If you are keeping your ‘strawberry sundae’ hydrangea well watered, you most likely will not run into many insects that can do real damage to your plant. Insects such as spider mites love to attack plants that are under stress.
You may also notice some aphids or Japanese beetles hanging out on your hydrangeas. You can remove these insects as well as spider mites with the spray of a hose or by knocking them into a bucket of soapy water.
If this does not work for you, grab neem oil from your local garden center and apply as directed on the label.
Hydrangeas, in general, do not struggle with diseases too frequently, except when it comes to fungal diseases. Fungal diseases are more prevalent in shady and damp areas. Luckily if you are growing ‘strawberry sundae’ you are likely dealing with full or partially sunny areas where fungal diseases are less common.
The best way to keep fungal diseases in check is by planting your hydrangeas far enough apart to give them sufficient airflow. Also, keeping your garden free of leaves, weeds, and other plant debris will help keep fungal spores limited.
If you find yourself with powdery mildew or another fungal disease, pick up a copper fungicide. Remove all infected tissues and remove them from your garden, then spray the rest of the plant with the fungicide to prevent any further spread.
This cultivar grows to 5 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide, which is on the smaller side when it comes to panicles. The compact nature of this shrub makes it a great choice for large container gardens.
Plant as a hedge in front of low windows or around a walkway or patio. As always, a hydrangea this pretty will make a lovely addition to a sizeable perennial garden or a smaller entryway garden as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I prune ‘Strawberry Sundae’ Hydrangeas?
There are two optimal times to prune: late in the fall or the early spring. If you plan to prune in the fall, wait until all of the leaves have dropped before pruning. If you plan to do some pruning in the springtime make sure you get it done before any new fresh growth begins to appear.
Why don’t I see any blooms?
Nothing is more upsetting than a hydrangea that does not bloom. There are a few simple reasons your ‘strawberry sundae’ may not be blooming.
The first is pruning time. Even though this cultivar has a lot of pruning flexibility if your prune too late in the spring you could snip off the flower buds. This will effectively remove any flowers that were already in the process of growing.
The next is sunlight. Is the plant getting enough sunlight? Sunlight is key when it comes to flower formation. Panicles grow best in full sun, which is 6-8 hours of sunlight. If your plant is not blooming, this could very well be the issue.
The last is nutrition. Are you fertilizing? If so, take a look at the type of fertilizer you are using. A basic 10-10-10 fertilizer is fine, however, your hydrangea could be getting too much nitrogen and not enough phosphorous.
This could be from runoff from lawn fertilizer, or just the nutrients within your soil. Look for a fertilizer that has a higher middle number, which is phosphorous. This nutrient is crucial to producing flowers.
Can I plant this cultivar in the shade?
Panicle hydrangeas are tolerant of a variety of sunlight conditions. These sunlight conditions include partial shade, but ‘strawberry sundae’ would not grow well in full shade.
You may notice a lack of flowers as well as weak or leggy vegetative growth. Opt for sunlight and you will have a successful go at planting this cultivar in your garden.
Whether this is your first panicle hydrangea or not, you will be pleasantly surprised with how easy ‘the strawberry sundae’ is to grow and how beautiful the blossoms are. If you have a sunny spot in your garden that you are looking to fill, I would urge you to give this hydrangea a try! Its pretty pink and cream flowers add a punch of fun to your gardens that will last you all summer long.