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Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata 'Renhy'

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawberry’™ on low water in Davis in July 2019. Photo: SK Reid.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawberry’™ on low water in Davis in July 2019. Photo: SK Reid.

Summary

Vanilla Strawberry gets its name from its blooms starting out white and fading to light pink, eventually turning deep pink with a sepia tinge. Plants were pruned in February 2018 and 2019 in accordance with common horticultural practices. In our consistent light shade, these plants had an open, loosely fountain-form shape especially when the large, heavy blooms weighed the branches down.  It’s possible that full morning sun and afternoon shade may have produced a denser form. In the spring, new stems were colored red with similar appearance to Cornus sericea (red osier dogwood). Flowering began in mid-June and peaked in July 2019, with high floral display scores maintained through September 2019 due to the continued interest provided by the changing colors of the bloom rather than new blooms (Table 22a). Though some flowers remained in October, they ceased to provide floral impact. Based on mean overall appearance scores at the open house, participants found Vanilla Strawberry acceptable to good at the spring and summer open houses, scoring equally as well at each event. Although this plant did not score as high on the ratings as other plants at the open house in summer (Table 22b), more participants nevertheless listed it as their favorite at the summer open house by a wide margin (21 votes, 46 participants). Its charming blooms and lovely color won them over. 

A significant difference between the relative growth rates of the high and low treatments was observed beginning in July, showing that, even in shade, this is not a low-water plant. Over the deficit season, differences in overall appearances between all treatments were significant (Table 22a) 

Floral quantity ratings of the high and moderate treatments are notably different from the low rating. Based on comments collected during the aesthetic ratings, the low treatment appeared to produce smaller flowers than other treatments, though this was not something we measured. Significant differences in vigor, foliage quality, and overall appearance of the high and moderate treatments compared to those qualities of the low were observed from July through October. By the end of the season the plants on the low treatment were noticeably stressed. We recommend Vanilla Strawberry be irrigated on high water in WUCOLS region 2 for best appearance, though acceptable health and flowering may be experienced on moderate irrigation. 

Basic Info

Submitted by: Bailey Nurseries
Trial Exposure: 50% Shade
Year evaluated: 2019
Height & Width
(after 2 years):
41" x 26" - UC Davis
Reported Height & Width
(at maturity):
6-7' x 5-6'
WUCOLS plant type: S
Water Needs & WUCOLS Region:
Medium - Region 2 
Mean Overall 
Appearance rating:
(1-5 Scale, 5 is highest)
3.7 - UC Davis 
Flowering Months
July-October - UC Davis

Growth and Quality Data

Click Here for Complete Data Set

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawberry’™ bloom showing its antique rosy hue in September 2019 in Davis under 50% shade. Photo: SK Reid.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawberry’™ bloom showing its antique rosy hue in September 2019 in Davis under 50% shade. Photo: SK Reid.