Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Plant Obsession, Hydrangea paniculata 'Kyushu'

I am completely obsessed. I first saw this beautiful and interesting Hydrangea in the book 'Lois Hole's Favorite Trees and Shrubs'. I started browsing the Hydrangea aisles more carefully, but never came across one.

During a quick trip through the garden centre of a hardware store, I spotted 2, in amongst some Limelight and Little Lamb. I bought one for myself, and one for a friend (well I couldn't just leave it there, could I?).

Since planting it mid-summer, I've been crazy about it. It is my first Hydrangea, and I have since added 2 Uniques. I'm also considering a Limelight, and possibly an Endless Summer, if I can manage to keep the soil acidified enought to maintain the beautiful blue colour.

'Kyushu' is hardy to zone 3, when grown in a sheltered location, and grows to 8-10ft tall and wide, It is often trained (or grafted?) to a treeform, and then makes a wonderful focal point in a formal setting. There are lots of images of the treeform variety online if anyone is interested in seeing one.

The panicles are around 8 inches long, and have only 10% showy sterile florets. This gives them a very open and airy shape, and they are easily held up by the branches.

This beautiful plant is named after the Japanese island where it comes from. For those of you who love Hydrangeas, there is a wealth of information (& photos) on many varieties in the Royal Horticultural Society 'Hydrangea paniculata Trials Bulletin', available here.

What is your plant obsession?


  1. Hello Rebecca,

    I just love Hydrangeas! This one is so beautiful. I am glad you were able to find some. Since it gets too hot here for me to grow Hydrangeas, I will just have to enjoy yours :)

  2. Hi Rebecca, I also love hydrangeas. I have the Unique and the Little Lamb in this garden, and, so far, I really like them.

    There is a neighbour here with Limelight all across the front of his house and they look stunning. After the first big frost they turned a deep goldy-brown and held their shape.

    I had Endless Summer at my last house and bought some type of powdered aluminum that you added to water and it kept the soil acidified enough to maintain the blue colour. I loved it.

    Your Kyushu looks so elegant with the long airy panicles. No wonder you are smitten with it :)

    Thanks for taking the time to add the great links. I will certainly check them out.

  3. I'm another fan of hydrangeas - planning to do a post on them too one of these days - they are still out, even in the dreadful weather that we have been having.

  4. Rebecca, everytime I see this hydrangea, I automatically think of you. I have so many plant obessions, it is hard to narrow it down to one. But, I have been on a bit of a peony kick lately, I have purchased/recieved 11 different peonies over the last two years.

  5. Beauitful post Rebecca...lovely photos!Your hydrangeas are SO gorgeous! I too love Hyd's..I have a few , but my fave is my Annabelle Hydrangea...she goes perfectly in my shady area..and lights up the whole space. she has such a full fluffy mound of hair..I love it!
    Hmm, plant obsession you ask? Id have to herb garden is my obsession..becuaseI use it for foods of course.. and also for tea blends and shampoos etc I make. And flowers I must have..some roses.
    great post!

  6. One of the things I most love to do when I'm visiting Montreal is spending time among all the great hydrangeas (mostly paniculata)at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. I'm looking forward to having a Hydrangea paniculata in my garden in the future, and Kyushu looks like a great choice. Gorgeous! -Jean

  7. Oh, what a beaut !

    I have 2 hydrangeas and lucked out on a third this summer. My neighbour was getting rid of her Annabelle. How could I say no ?

    As far as obsessions go, I seem to have somewhat of a penchant for anything Fabaceae at the moment.

  8. Hi Noelle, it's funny, I never thought of you being restricted by zone tolerances, but it completely makes sense. I always figured hotter was better, but of course there are limits.

    Hi Ms S, I'm glad to hear about your neighbours Limelight, I think the green blooms are so pretty and interesting. Thanks for the tip with Endless Summer, did you keep yours in a pot or planted?

    Hi Tatyana, I'm glad you like it. I'm sure it isn't for everyone, most hydrangeas are much showier but I think this is a delicate beauty.

    Hi Charlotte, Looking forward to your post, I'm sure you have many beauties photographed, there's such a big increase in selection from zone to zone, we are somewhat limited here.

    Hi Deborah, Yes, I'd call 11 peonies a kick lol. Nice to know I'm thought of in association with such a lovely plant.

    Hi Kiki, Funny you should mention Annabelle in the shade. It's good to know it does well, since I have many shady areas (more with each planting season ;) ) Herbs are a worthy obsession, mine are much less practical.

    Hi Jean, Must be gorgeous! Do you have any pictures? I lived there before my gardening days, it's a great city. I'm glad you like my Kyushu.

    Hi miss m, great find! It's amazing what people are willing to throw out/give away. I'm glad you were able to rescue it. Funny how a certain type of plants grabs us for awhile (or a long while..)

  9. Hi Rebecca, I kept mine in the ground and just mounded a little extra mulch over it. It was a relatively sheltered location; however, it did very well.

    It's a stunning plant. I had lots of green foliage plants around it and used sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) as a ground cover. Next time, I think I will plant a grouping of three of them as it doesn't have time to get very big here.

  10. Ms S, thanks for the information. I will try it next year. I really think blue hydrangeas are spectacular. I like sweet woodruff, and have it everywhere, it's aptly named since it's a sweet groundcover. Good point about the grouping, I hadn't thought about growth rate given our colder climate. Looks like more grass will have to go lol!

  11. I have been unlucky with hydrangeas here in Alaska but your post makes me want to put one on my wish list again. Thanks for the great pics!

    Christine B.

  12. Hi Christine & Welcome, I'm glad you like the pictures, I have a long wish list of plants that aren't hardy here. What Zone is Alaska?

  13. Hello there Rebecca !
    Hey, thank you so much for the fav' girl : )
    I appreciate that .. and I want to have your blog as well .. I'm trying to keep as many Canadians in my clutch as possible !
    I have a bit of a hydrangea passion (but not a lot of space sadly) .. this has caught my eye now that you have posted on it .. so maybe, I can squeeze one more in some where ? I'll be looking for it come Spring .. my curiosity is tuned in that direction now , so thank you !

  14. Hi Joy, You're most welcome. Of course you can squeeze it in somewhere lol. So hard to choose (or stick to!) just one. Thanks so much for adding me too. I also like having Canadian blogs, they are a wealth of info.

  15. Looks so pure and heavenly, Rebecca. I've seen blue and pinkish version of these hydrangeas growing in a slightligh higher altitude in India during my vacation last year. I guess my wishlist would never end. :))

  16. Hi Chandramouli, Thanks for your message, I adore blue hydrangeas but there aren't any for my zone without regular soil acidification, I may try one this year since they are so lovely. I know what you mean about a never ending wishlist. Thanks for stopping by. :)