Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky®
Hydrangea paniculata, commonly called panicle hydrangea, is a vigorous, upright, rapid-growing, somewhat coarsely textured, deciduous shrub that is native to China and Japan. It typically grows to 8-15’ (less frequently to 25’) tall, and features oval to ovate dark green leaves and upright, sharply-pointed, conical, terminal flower panicles (to 6-8” long) containing both fertile and sterile flowers (mostly non-showy fertile flowers) that bloom from mid-summer into fall. Genus name comes from hydor meaning water and aggeion meaning vessel in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit. Specific epithet is in reference to the flowers being arranged in panicles. PINKY-WINKY is a compact cultivar that typically grows to 6-8’ tall and to 6’ wide. It was discovered as a seedling in an open pollination of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’ that occurred in a controlled environment in Melle, Belgium in 1999. PINKY-WINKY is noted for producing dense, cone-shaped, exceptionally large panicles (to 12” long) of mostly sterile, two-toned, flowers that emerge white but mature to dark pink. Flowers at the base of the panicles rapidly change from white to pink while new white flowers are still emerging at the indeterminate panicle tips. Strong stiff stems hold the flower panicles upright with no drooping. The much smaller fertile flowers are hidden beneath the showier, sterile ones. Elliptic to ovate, serrate, dark green leaves (to 6” long) produce generally undistinguished, yellow to purple-tinged fall color. Panicles may be cut for fresh arrangements or for drying, or may be left on the plant where they will persist well into winter. U.S. Plant Patent PP16,166 was issued December 20, 2005.