Shrub of the Week: 'Phantom' Hydrangea

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{This bygl-alert is from Joe Cochran, Director of OSU’s Secrest Arboretum. We will soon get his name in the alert author listings.}

  Introduced by Pieter Zwinenburg, Boskoop, Netherlands in 1990, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’, in my opinion, is one of the best panicle hydrangeas on the market.  The name ‘Phantom’ comes from the pristine, white blossoms that adorn this plant. In June, the inflorescences begin as lime-green, transitioning to a creamy-white and by July have developed into massive, pure white flower clusters. These panicles, up to 15 inches long, are quite possibly the largest of the species.  In September, as the weather cools, soft undertones of pink develop, creating a spectacular floral display.   Held up by strong sturdy stems, ‘Phantom’ is an excellent choice for cut flowers.

 

Closeup of Phantom hydrangea

 

  Due to its “paniculata” heritage, ‘Phantom’ shows exceptional cold hardiness. Zones 3-8.  As with most hydrangeas, it prefers a moist, well-drained soil, slightly on the acidic side (pH 5.6-7.5). Unpruned, it will reach a height of 8 ft. with equal spread, however, I recommend cutting it back in early spring to ensure an abundance of strong-stemmed, large flowers.