First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea

(update 2014. This hydrangea has grown very slowly for me. It has never had this strong beautiful color as shown here. It will get a slight pink hue but many of the blooms remain white to off white and have brown spots. I attribute this to how hot our NC summers are. Follow my blog and I will update with a photo for the last week of June 2014. ) See the new post HERE

I have this new hydrangea. Are you surprised? I’m just nuts about these cultivars so I bring you, First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea. Now I’ve not seen it bloom yet and it was given to me by Bailey Nursery when I attended the Garden Writer’s Symposium in Raleigh, NC back in September of 2009. But they had one there blooming–and well—I just had to have it—and write to tell you about it.

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First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’ (PPAF)
Full sun
Height: 6-7’
Spread: 4-5’
Zone: 4-8
Foliage: Medium green

It did well for me and is getting established in my zone 7 garden. I hope it will bloom this summer. It has very strong stems.

DESCRIPTION: A delicious new creation from France. The enormous flower panicles are a blend of vanilla and strawberry, held upright on red stems. They emerge creamy white in mid summer, change to pink and finally to strawberry red. New blooms gives the plant a multicolored effect in late summer and early fall. The red coloration persists for at least 3-4 weeks. The habit is upright becoming cascading later in the season. Comparable to ‘Pinky Winky’, however the habit is more upright and the red flower color persists longer. Excellent for fresh cut and dried flower arrangements. Introduced by Bailey Nurseries.

Well aren’t you nuts about it too? Now call your retail nursery and ask for it! Tell them Flowergardengirl sent you. I don’t recommend anything I don’t grow.

Pictures used with permission by Bailey Nursery.

63 comments on “First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea

  1. Pingback: My Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea has brown spots and hardly any burgundy color | Flowergardengirl™

  2. Many of you new to VS are asking why your blooms are turning brown or have brown spots. This is the nature of this hydrangea if you live in warmer climates or it has been a very hot summer. My VS has grown slowly and never produced these bright colors. I haven’t removed it but it doesn’t at all look like the blooms in the advertisements in my NC zone 7 garden. It was in part shade and still did not produce the color shown. When my neighbor cut his tree down, it was and is in full sun. It has brown spots on white ish blooms as many of you are suggesting.

    • It will live there for certain and give some blooms but I have decided this needs at least 6 to bloom well. My neighbor cut his tree down that was providing good dappled light on mine which I thought was perfect. Blooming sun annuals thrived there but the VS did not. I had it four years in that area on the South side. Once the tree was cut down and it was exposed to full sun….it picked up blooming and grew much better. The blooms were beautiful this year. So you are right in the iffy stage. Give it a try but remember that moving hydrangeas could set them back a season. Sorry for my late reply..I have been very sick going on 18 months now.

  3. The 3 I bought were very little, and had the most beautiful flowers on them with buds that were going to be opening soon at the time of purchase. I planted them and when the buds opened a week or two later, they just turned brown. The place I bought them from, a nursery, said they fed these plants fertilized water every day. So, after reading the comments above, and my own experience I suspect the flowers are turning brown because they are heavy feeders and don’t have enough food. Next year I am going to feed them weekly to see what happens. I’ll keep everyone posted.

    • That seems strange to feed a hydrangea weekly. It wouldn’t be my advice. I just think Vanilla Strawberry likes morning sun and afternoon shade…she doesn’t like it too hot when she’s blooming…and she likes it cool when she needs her buds to go deep pink. I don’t think this side of the South supplies that for her. My friends up North more have good success with VS. She’s just picky. There is a new cultivar coming out that is similar to VS this year. I hope I get one so I can trial it and compare.

      • me and my wife purchased(3) Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea’s a week ago and already all of the blooms are brown. What should we do ? The soil seems fine . Do we prune all of the blooms off already to see if we could new blooms or should we try to get our money back from the nursery? PLease advise we would appreciate your input.

        • I’ve been very sick so please forgive my absent response. The blooms will go brown if there is a cold spell. I don’t recall what degree of coldness it has to be. Coolness brings on the pink blooms but cold turns them brown. Letting chemicals on them does that too. You won’t get more blooms as you probably found out. This is a slow grower so don’t trim it. It also branches out where you trim it and it won’t look as nice.

          Mine is looking so much better this year. More blooms and it grew more.

  4. My husband promised to replace a Hydrangea Frosty Cherry in spring, but iI havent found one. in the meantime I have fallen in love with Vanilla Strawberry! My Frosty Cherry got trampled to death by the men who took down some trees for us. Can he buy one in spring and plant ? Or ,are they best to purchase in fall ? Thanks ahead!

    • Mary I’m in zone 7 and I plant at both times. Just depends on when they have them available. I think it takes 3 years for any perennial to get fully adjusted. soil preparation is key to having the prettiest and especially with the new cultivars.

    • I live in zone 7 in northeast georgia. I have had mine for 2 summers and have had 5 large blooms that never turned pink ( just a pale tint on edges), It just turned brown and then dark brown. I have been terrible disappointed in mine. I had it in the noon and early afternoon sun near the driveway. Apparently that is too much sun. I plan to move it to the north side of the house this fall and hope for better luck. It is not at all what I expected.
      Good Luck.

      • Shirley, I haven’t seen anyone in the deep South like us who have seen the deep colors. I get the faint pink but not deep pink and mine is growing very slowly. Let me know how it works when you move it.

        • Hi. I have had one now for 3 yrs I think. it was beautifu the 1st year now I pretty much just get white flowers that turn brown as well as Shirley Towe mentioned as well. The bush is definately bigger and has more blooms than 3 yrs ago but it turns brown. can you help?

          • It might need only morning sun if you are like us in the South=====where we don’t get the cool weather the blooms need to turn deep burgundy. Make sure and fertilize it with something like Holly Tone in the spring. That helped mine. I will move it next year and see but then it will take a year to recuperate. Maybe if we hang in there together Char we can get it to perform better.

        • Will do. I love your blog. I hope you are feeling better with your fibromalgia rheumatica,
          I cared for my Mother for almost 2 years ( but she was 89 when hers started).
          She finally recovered and is doing fine. The worst part other than the pain, was the high doses of prednisone that she had to take. Hang in there, God will bring you through it. Just trust him. I know that is easy to say but it is true. Some day it will only seem like a bad dream. Saying a prayer for you. Shirley

  5. I found this answer about color on another site: ‘The bloom color on Vanilla Strawberry is not dependant on the pH of the soil, therefore there is nothing you can add to the soil to change the color. The initial blooms on this variety tend to be white and round. As the plant matures, the blooms will exhibit the color transformation as described.”

  6. Hi, I just bought a one gallon (little) one of these vanilla strawberry hydrangeas. Since you’ve had yours for three years, are the branches, leaves and flowers thick enough to be used as a privacy type of hedge/bush. I was going to put it by a chain link fence to hide my neighbor’s garbage cans.

  7. I just purchased 3 of those lovely vanilla strawberry hydrangeas, and I am worried about using pine straw as mulch, I don’t want them to turn blue. Some sites say they will, others say no…should I or shouldn’t I use pine straw mulch? I have not planted them yet because the mulch issue will determine where they go.

    • Hi Sherry. I use pine straw mulch and have not noticed it affect the color. In warmer climates such as yours and mine–you won’t see the deeper rose color of this variety. They grow slowly but I did notice a big change in growth after using Espoma Holly Tone. That is the best fertilizer I have ever used on my hydrangeas. It is acidic so keep that in mind. I have about 10 different varieties of hydrangeas and they all love Holly Tone. I do not have ph sensitive hydrangeas and I’ve had Vanilla Strawberry for 3 years and they have not been affected by the pine mulch or the Holly Tone.

  8. I requested one of these for Mothers Day. I received to from my daughter.
    It bloomed well, but with the hot days in North Georgia this summer, the flowers only
    turned brown (no pink).
    I kept it well watered and it was planted in full sun in front of my dining room windows.
    this was near the concrete driveway. I think maybe the heat from the driveway and the 95 degree heat was just too much. As soon as it cools and fall sets in, I am going to move it to a little less sunny location.

  9. I live in zone 4/5 in New Brunswick, Canada and saw this bush in the Birds and Bloom Magazine and had to hunt one down!!! I went to my local Nursery and ask if “she” could locate one for me….SHE FOUND IT!! It is now waiting to be planted, I cant wait till it blooms, which may not be untill next year…but its worth the wait…:o)

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