Why Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas are the Top Choice for Modern Gardeners


Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas – just the name itself conjures up images of summertime bliss and the sweet scent of vanilla wafting through the air. These charming blooms have been gracing my garden for a while now. I must say, they’ve stolen a piece of my heart. Allow me to share the delightful journey I’ve had with these beauties.

What are Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas?

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas or Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’ are hydrangea native to Asia. They are deciduous shrubs that can grow up to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The flowers of the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea are cone-shaped and can grow up to 8 inches long. They start white, turn pink, and eventually mature into deep red.

History of Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas are panicle hydrangeas with pink and white flowers that change color throughout the season. They are hardy, easy to grow, and drought-tolerant.

They were developed in France by a breeder named Jean Renault and introduced to the world in 2010. Quickly became famous and won the top plant award from the American Nursery and Landscape Association in the same year.

Related to the PeeGee Hydrangea, which also has pink and white blossoms but a more conical shape and a longer blooming period. A full sun or partial shade environment is ideal for its growth, which can reach 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

Cut, dried, or landscaped, they are a beautiful addition to any garden. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds and have a sweet fragrance.

How to Grow Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas

  • Choose a sunny spot with well-drained, slightly acidic soil. You can amend the soil with compost or peat moss to improve its quality.
  • Plant the hydrangeas in spring or fall, digging a hole twice as wide as the root ball and setting the plant at the same level as it was in the container.
  • Water the hydrangeas regularly, especially during dry spells. Avoid wetting the foliage to prevent fungal diseases.
  • Fertilize the hydrangeas every few weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer or every few months with a slow-release fertilizer. Look for a fertilizer with high phosphorus content to promote blooming.
  • Prune the hydrangeas in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. You can remove dead or damaged branches and shape the plant as desired. Vanilla strawberry hydrangeas bloom on new wood, so pruning will not affect flowering.

Enjoy the showy blooms that start out white and gradually turn pink and then red throughout the summer and fall.

Soil and Water Requirements

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They also require regular watering, especially during hot and dry weather. In addition, they need to be fertilized regularly to promote healthy growth.

Sunlight Requirements

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas prefer full sun to partial shade. They can tolerate some shade but will not bloom well in shady areas.

Pruning and Maintenance

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas require minimal pruning. Before new growth begins, they should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Dead or damaged branches should be removed, and the plant should be shaped as desired.

Common Pests and Diseases

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas are relatively pest and disease-resistant. However, they can be susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and powdery mildew. If you notice any signs of problems or disease, taking action quickly is essential to prevent further damage.

How to Use Vanilla Strawberry Panicle Hydrangea in the Landscape

All those beautiful blooms in ombré will encourage you to spend time outdoors with your family. Consider growing a hedge around the patio area. To make it solid, put three feet apart on one side. Take measurements from center to center.

The plants will be so beautiful you could enjoy them all summer long. Put these into mixed borders or as thrillers in large containers. Install vanilla strawberry hydrangea in the garden as a beautiful specimen plant. You can place these on your front lawn if possible.

How big does a Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea get?

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea can grow up to 6 – 8 ft at maturity. The maturity is 4-5 feet.

Potting and Repotting Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Container culture is not typical for Hydrangeas, although Vanilla Strawberry is an extremely small cultivar cultivated in a large patio or deck container. Select a pot 16-24 inches in width. The ideal container for freezing is wooden or glass, as a stiff ceramic pot and potting mix may split and shatter under freezing temperatures. In the spring, potted plants need watering and fertilization. Hydrangea plants require new oats each year until they reach their roots.

What month does Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea bloom?

Vanilla hydrangeas are open between June and July and turn pink and red in August.

Do you have to prune vanilla strawberry hydrangea?

We suggest cutting back to 1/3 by midwinter for stronger stems and blooms from new growths.

How far apart should I plant vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas?

Vanilla strawberry hydrangea spacing plants are 4 feet apart from other Hydrangea trees to create continuous dense plantings.

Why is my Strawberry vanilla hydrangea not turning pink?

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea flowers are green-white. Flowering starts green-white. The flower then turns greenish-pink when the weather drops later on during the summer and cools. Hydrangeas have little chance of changing color when late summer nights remain relatively cool.

What is the difference between vanilla Strawberry and Strawberry sundae hydrangeas?

Vanilla StrawberryTM and Strawberry Sundae® have a similar bloom color, starting with creamy white. This plant differs in the dimensions, with the strawberry shade® being smaller than the statuesque vanilla strawberryTM.

How fast do Strawberry hydrangeas grow?

Vanilla Strawberries can generally be grown in the garden as a potting plant in the early fall or spring. Like the most common Hydrangea paniculationata cultivar, the plant grows exceptionally rapidly and reaches its peak within one month.


The Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, scientifically known as Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’, stands out among flowering shrubs for its dramatic, color-changing blooms. Garden enthusiasts who plant Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea are often rewarded with a long season of visual delight, as these panicle hydrangeas bloom profusely from early summer into late autumn.

The Vanilla Strawberry Panicle Hydrangea offers a unique charm for those looking to incorporate these vibrant plants into their gardens. Its large flower heads begin creamy white in early summer and gradually transition to a blush pink before reaching a bright red or deep red in the cooler days of late summer and early fall. Unlike the classic PeeGee Hydrangea, the flower buds of Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas develop on new wood, promising larger blooms each season.

When you plant Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, you create a beautiful landscape centerpiece that thrives in full sun to partial shade. Young plants benefit from some afternoon shade, especially in hot climates, to protect the tender green leaves from scorching. Well-drained soil is essential to prevent water-logged roots, and adding organic matter can enhance the slightly acidic conditions these hydrangeas prefer.

Pruning in late winter or early spring is crucial to maintain the lush appearance of the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas. This encourages new growth, which is where the blooms will appear. Flowering stems should be pruned back to a set of healthy buds to ensure the plant retains a sturdy structure to support the weight of the large flower heads. Proper air circulation is also key, as it helps keep foliage diseases like leaf spots at bay.

In landscapes, these hydrangeas stand out with their cone-shaped blooms and red stems that starkly contrast the creamy white-to-pink color of the flowers. As the blooms age, they can be cut for use in vases, where they continue their color evolution, or left on the plant, where they provide winter interest.

For gardeners interested in container gardening, the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea can adapt well to being planted in a large container. It is well-watered, and the root ball is given plenty of room to expand. This flexibility allows those with limited space to enjoy the hydrangea’s seasonal color show.

The Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea is a true testament to the diversity and beauty of the hydrangea species, bringing joy and color to gardens from the bright days of early summer to the crisp air of late autumn.