Hydrangea macrophylla 'Zebra' (PBR)
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- Position: partial shade
- Soil: moist, well-drained, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil
- Rate of growth: fast-growing
- Flowering period: June to October
- Flower colour: white
- Hardiness: fully hardy
The glowing white flowerheads and lush green foliage provide a brilliant contrast to the near-black stems. This new hydrangea is perfect for adding a burst of colour to a partially shaded bed and will also make a fine, informal, flowering hedge. Their long flowering period throughout summer and autumn and their tough and undemanding nature, means that these wonderful deciduous shrubs should be top of most gardeners wishlists.
- Garden care: Leave the old flower heads in place through the winter. As the new shoots start to emerge in spring cut back a third to a quarter of the previous seasons flowering stems to the base and cut back the remaining flower heads to the first pair of buds.
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I love the Hydrangea Zebra but I need it for a quite a sunny South / East side. Will it still thrive? I wouldn't like to end up with sun scorched flowers?Asked on 9/4/2016 by dotty from Birmingham
These plants can be grown in full sun, however it is vital that they are kept really well watered - and the water is applied at the base of the plant, not from above, as this can scorch the flowers.Answered on 11/4/2016 by Helen from crocus
I purchased and planted two Zebra Hydrangea's in July which I adore. They have put on lots of new growth and have new white flower heads forming.
However, the existing flower heads very quickly turned lime green on one plant and are tinged with pink on the other plant. They are both planted on an east facing wall, some distance from each other and are not overcrowded. They have been well watered (at root level not over the heads) and fed once a week with a seaweed feed during the summer. Do you have any idea why the existing white heads have gone green/pink while new growth is white? Do you think it may rectify itself when I de-head in the spring and we start afresh! Many thanks!Asked on 15/9/2015 by Head Gardener from Oxfordshire
It is not unusual for the 'petals' of these flowers to emerge green, turn white and then pink as they start to die off. Unfortunately the cold and damp weather we have had this year however has meant that many summer flowering plants have struggled, and therefore I suspect they are not holding their white colour for as long as they normally would. I'm pretty confident that there is noting wrong (apart from the weather) and if we have a better summer next year the flowerheads will be more typical of the plant.Answered on 16/9/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:This is the third season for our Hydrangea BlACK sTEEL zEBRA and the flower heads have been turning brown in the last three weeks and this has been the pattern every year. Its location is a border facing South West and in the sun from, say, 1pm in full summer but there is partial shade from other shrubs. We understand that these are thirsty specimens and we have seen a dry climate and much sunshine from late spring.
Do you have any tips for promoting longer lasting blooms, please?Asked on 10/8/2015 by bugbear from North Somerset
This may be normal as the flowerheads do turn brown as they start to die back, but it could also be caused by a lack of water - or overhead watering during the hottest part of the day. The latter leaves big dollops of water on the 'petals' and if these are hit by a hot sun, they can cause scorching.Answered on 12/8/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:I have some Zebra Hydrangeas just planted this spring in new landscaping. The blossoms are now brown with not many new buds my instruction sheet said I should dead head to get new blooms but I an hesitant as I have always heard one must be careful with hydrangeas.Asked on 18/6/2015 by METS from Northwest Indiana
We recommend leaving the old flower heads in place over winter, and as the new shoots start to emerge in spring, you can cut back a third to a quarter of the previous seasons flowering stems to their base. Then cut back the remaining flower heads to the first pair of buds.Answered on 24/6/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:Is this hydrangea suitable for a container? Want to put it in an urn by the front door.Asked on 5/5/2015 by Lu from London
Yes, this will do very well in a large container, provided it is kept well fed and watered.Answered on 15/5/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:I would like to plant a hydrangea Zebra in a 1m border next to a 2m high fence facing east. Soil is relatively dry but due to be improved with lots of compost. Do you think this hydrangea will thrive? Garden is a white town garden so looking for multiseason plant of this height with white flowers. Thanks.Asked on 24/4/2015 by Nc95 from London
If you can improve the soil and make sure the plant is kept well watered (hydrangeas are reasonably thirsty plants), then yes, I think it would be ideal.Answered on 15/5/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:Hi, I have several of these Hydrangeas planted in large troughs along a border. Some of them seem healthy and have put on some new growth whilst others seem to be struggling. One or two leaves have started to turn brown (from the tip to the halfway point) shrivel up and die. Some of the plants have produced flowers and some haven't. All the plants have been planted in the same soil and in the same area of the garden. Thanks Tracey P.S. What should I do to the affected leaves?Asked on 18/8/2014 by I don't have one from Nottinghamshire
It is not unusual for the leaves of these plants to start looking tatty by the end of summer and any leaves that really spoil the look of the plant can be removed. As for why some of your plants are struggling and others are flourishing, it may be that they are planted too densely and there is just not enough room for them. Hydrangeas are pretty thirsty plants, and particularly when they are grown in pots, they do need lots of water. Feeding them with a good general purpose fertiliser such as MiracleGro or Vitax Q4 during the growing season will also help keep them in tip top condition.Answered on 27/8/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:When will this hydrangea (Zebra) start forming foliage in the spring? I'm looking to underplant with some winter- and/or spring-flowering bulbs, to help cover the woody stems below the dried flower heads. I'm mostly thinking of daffodils (from your "6-months of daffodils" collection), but would tulips come up too late? Any recommendations on bulbs to use would be appreciated. These will be in a relatively small, urban garden, so I'm focusing on year-round interest as the whole garden is quite visible from the house. Thank you!Asked on 31/7/2014 by LAS from London
It is difficult to say as it will depend on the weather. If we have a mild Spring, then it could start coming into leaf in March, but if the Spring is colder, then they may not start coming into leaf until late April. If you are thinking of under-planting with bulbs, then I would opt for early flowering bulbs such as snowdrops or crocus.Answered on 4/8/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:I planted a lace cap hydrangea couple of years ago and it just isn't growing. There should be no issues with soil as we have two other varieties in different locations of the garden. Any suggestions re what I can do to encourage growth...and flowers!
Carol AshleyAsked on 25/3/2014 by Toddy from Wightwick
It can be very frustrating when plants refuse to grow for seemingly no reason. Even small changes in soil moisture and nutrients, or aspect can make a big difference to the plants vigour. The most likely causes of this would be and air pocket or buried builders rubble (or something else unpleasant) in the soil, or a lack of water. I know there are two other Hydrangeas growing happily in other places in the garden, but the one that is struggling may be close to the base of a wall, or in a more exposed position, which will mean that it is much drier. The best way forward then (if you are confident the soil is OK) is to make sure you keep the plant well watered and fed with a good general purpose fertiliser such as Vitax Q4 - please click on the following link to go straight to it
I hope this helps,Answered on 27/3/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:Should I dead head each flower head once it's past its best ? Other websites say not, does this mean I should just leave branches with the blooms on & the plant should grow new branches which will provide the summer long flowering ?Asked on 7/8/2013 by archie from london
I wouldn't dead head as I think the dried dead flowers look attractive left on the plant through the winter. Then in the spring as the new shoots start to emerge cut back a third to a quarter of the previous seasons flowering stems to the base, and cut back the remaining flower heads to the first pair of buds. Hope this helpsAnswered on 7/8/2013 by Georgina from Crocus
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