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 have a 42 litre metal container which I want to use to plant a white hydrangea. I would ideally like a hydrangea which doesn't change colour as the flower matures through the season. Could you tell me which would be the most suitable hydrangea, what size plant I should purchase and what compost I should fill my metal container with? The position will be morning sunshine and afternoon shade.Asked on 9/10/2016 by Debs from Hampshire
The flowerheads of most hydrangeas will change colour as they mature, however I would say that the following tend to hold their colour better than most...
Hydrangea arborescens Strong Annabelle
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Zebra'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blushing Bride'
I would mention though that metal containers can get pretty hot and that can have a detrimental effect on the roots, so ideally it should be placed in a position that is sheltered from sun during the hottest part of the day.Answered on 10/10/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:When should I plant this?Asked on 13/9/2016 by Hopeless Homebuilding from Northamptonshire
As a general rule fully hardy plants that are grown in containers can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil isn't frozen solid. The best times are in the autumn when the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth but the plant isn't in active growth, or the spring before the temperatures start to rise, so now would be a great time to plant this hydrangea.Answered on 16/9/2016 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:I have a large flower bed that needs some good foliage and colour - when should I be planting these?Asked on 13/9/2016 by Newbuild novice from Northants
As a general rule fully hardy plants that are grown in containers can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil isn't frozen solid. The best times are in the autumn when the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth but the plant isn't in active growth, or the spring before the temperatures start to rise, so now is a great time to plant a hydrangea.Answered on 16/9/2016 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:I have a large flower bed that needs some good foliage and colour - when should I be planting these?Asked on 11/9/2016 by Newbuild novice from Northants
As a general rule fully hardy plants that are grown in containers can be planted at any time of year as long as the soil isn't frozen solid. The best times are in the autumn when the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth but the plant isn't in active growth, or the spring before the temperatures start to rise, so now would a great time to plant these hydrangeas.Answered on 22/9/2016 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:I have had this plant for 2 years now and no flowers have been produced. The plant continues to look unwell with lime green leaves that are brown, any ideas? It is in a partially shady spot that has some late sun.Asked on 10/8/2016 by Mandy from United Kingdom
Hydrangeas are very happy in partial shade, however if you want them to flowr well, they will need a decent amount of light. Also, they are thirsty plants, so if they are grown beneath mature trees or in a 'rain shadow', they will struggle unless they are kept very well watered. Finally, if the leaves are not turning a rich green colour, then it may indicate that the plant is not receiving enough nutrients. Ideally these plants should be fed with a good general purpose fertiliser from mid- to late spring to midsummer.Answered on 11/8/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:I planted a container-grown Zebra last year. It looks vigorous and has grown well (it was planted with plenty of compost and has been fed) but there has been no sign of any flowers developing. It is in a rather shady location (morning sun only and near taller established shrubs) which could be dry but almost certainly hasn't been this year. I have not pruned it at all. The soil is heavy alkaline clay. What is your advice? Should I prune it at all in the spring - or try to move it to a sunnier spot!?Asked on 1/8/2016 by Binkie from Croydon, Surrey
I think your suspicions are probably right as while these plants are tolerant of shade, they will not produce many (if any) flowers if they are grown in heavy shade. Therefore it may be worthwhile moving it to a sunnier spot if possible and giving it some sulphate of potash.Answered on 5/8/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:Can you confirm how tall these grow. We are looking to plant these in a border alongside box balls .Asked on 1/8/2016 by julie from sussex
These are relatively compact so will grow to around 1 metre in height.Answered on 5/8/2016 by Helen from crocus
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
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