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photo of Dr. Tom Ranney

Meet the Breeder

Dr. Tom Ranney
North Carolina, USA


Hydrangea - Panicle

Hydrangea paniculata


PP# 35,316; CBRAF

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The big, puffy mophead flowers of Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea. "} The robust blooms of Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea develop a little sprig of florets from the tip. Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea in late summer, showing its green color and unique texture. Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea blooming in a landscape surrounded by other panicle hydrangeas. Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea develops a fun little burst of florets from the tip of its bloom. Neat! Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea is an abundant bloomer and very cold tolerant. The funny little extra florets that emerge from the tip of the bloom on Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea is clearly seen. Puffer Fish panicle hydrangea covered in white mophead blooms. YouTube video describing the plant shown on this page
  • Big blooms
  • Hardy
  • Reliable

Think of Puffer Fish® panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) as a larger, more puffed up Bobo®, with fluffy white blooms that engulf the entire plant, nearly obscuring the foliage. The flowers open and mature to a pure white. As the blooms age, they turn lime green and, for a bit of surprise, a fresh sprig of white flowers emerges from the tip of the panicle. A tight, compact habit with stems strong enough to hold its blooms. This NCSU hydrangea has all the talent needed to be a first-class landscape performer.

3 - 8 (-40°F/-40°C)
Full sun, Part sun
3 - 5'
3 - 5'
Finish Time
1 season
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Foliage Color
Liner Sizes
2 1/4", 4", Quick Turn


Adaptable to most any soil except very wet or excessively alkaline soils.


In late winter or early spring, cut back by about one-third its total height, just above a set of large buds. This ensures that the growth for the season will come vigorous buds lower on the plant and also serves to remove any remaining dried blooms. Alternatively, cut back in autumn once the plant has gone completely dormant. May be cut back harder if desired, though this tends to produce stems that are unable to achieve maximum stem strength the following season.


Specimen; mixed borders; mass plantings. Makes a good hedge or screen. Excellent for cut flowers, both fresh and dried.

Growing Tips

Panicle hydrangeas are the most sun tolerant hydrangeas and are also resistant to wilting. In cooler climates, full sun is recommended for best stem strength and flower set. We have heard reports of success with 'Limelight' in Dallas, TX, and Orlando, FL with afternoon shade and well-drained soil. Flower color is unaffected by soil chemistry. If flowers turn brown and dry instead of aging to pink or red, this indicates that the plant needs more water or that nighttime temperatures are too high.