Pete's Hydrangeas



PEE GEE HYDRANGEAS

There have been a lot of questions about Pee Gee Hydrangea. While I don't know anything about their care, I thought some information about them, especially to answer Bill's question was in order.


The following is quoted from the book Hydrangeas by Daria Price Bowman, Copyright 1999, Friedman/Fairfax Publishers, NY, NY.

" 'Pee Gee' is the shortened name form of Hydrangea paniticulate 'Grandiflora, the most common cultivar of the panicled hydrangea clan. And, though beloved by generations of gardeners after its introduction from Japan in 1862, the PeeGee has been somewhat disrespected in recent years for its coarseness and a tendency to become overgrown and disheveled in maturity.

"Careful pruning, however, can help the PeeGee retain a graceful shape - as a large vase, shrubby and wide, or as a tree form. And if pruned heavily to a few strong branches, this old-time favorite will produce enormous conical flowers up to eighteen inches (45cm) long and a foot (30cm) wide. The flowers begin creamy white in mid- to late summer, becoming pinkish as they age and coloring to the shade to tea-stained linen when they dry in the autumn."


The following is from the Hydrangeas Plus catalog.

"pan. 'Grandiflora' 6'+

A popular variuety sometimes called 'PeeGee'
A common American Garden plant. Highly valued for its vigor and bloom dependability. Sterile flowers appear in August and remain on the plant till the first hard frost. Large conical shaped white flower heads turn to pink in the fall with gray-green leaves. Sent to America from Japan in 1861 this continues to be one of the best. The blooms can easily be used for drying."


We are a stand of some fourteen hydrangea trees along the north shore of the Long Island Sound coastline. If you look at the chair on the ground, we are as tall as 12 - 15 feet. We are at least 60 years old and in a sandy soil about 150 yards from the water on a hill maybe 40 feet high with exposure to sun, sou'easter storms, hurricanes, and all kinds on Mother Nature's abuse. We think we are a paniculata variety because of the shape of our flowers. We have a very coarse bark. We bloom in mid and late summer in brillant white. Does anybody know what variety we are?


               

Michael Foran with hydrangeaplus.com added the following in an email to me identifying these PeeGee pix.

"These are Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora. Marders nursery on the east end of long island gets between $3600 and $5000 depending on size and structure quality. Hardy to zone 4/5 they are rugged. The only thing they can't tolerate is salt spray and high salt wind. Shade will also reduce flowering quite a bit.
There are several new improved forms of pee gee as they are known on the market now but pee gee is an old classic that will be popular forever. The flowers dry very well and can be valuable. I could talk all day long about these guys, but I better get back to work."


A Note of Caution.

Hydrangea paniculata varieties are those with conical heads instead of mopheads. The term PeeGee is technically used just for the popular 'Grandiflora' variety of hydrangea paniculata. There may be some mis-use of the term PeeGee to imply any of the paniculata varieties.


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