How to Plant and Grow 'Berry White' Hydrangeas

This gorgeous hydrangea variety puts on a spectacular show with its abundant flowers.

The 'Berry White' hydrangea, a type of panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), is a newer variety of this popular shrub. 'Berry White' has pink and white flowers with strong stems (so they're less likely to flop over from the weight of its many blooms). Usually, this hydrangea starts blooming in mid-summer and lasts into the fall. Its deep, rich fall color will add interest to your landscape even after summer's last days have faded.

close up of white and pink flowers on berry white hydrangea
Courtesy of First Editions Shrubs & Trees

Where to Plant 'Berry White' Hydrangeas

'Berry White' performs best in full sun (six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day) or part shade and well-drained soil, though it can also tolerate some drought. It's hardy in Zones 3-8, so it'll survive the winter in almost any part of the country. Once the plant matures, it can reach up to 6 or 7 feet tall and about 5 feet wide.

How and When to Plant 'Berry White' Hydrangeas

Like other panicle hydrangeas, the best time to plant 'Berry White' is either in late autumn, just after the plant goes dormant, or in spring before it starts growing. Dig a hole about twice the width of the pot and deep enough for the root ball to sit at the same depth as it was in its container. After filling in soil around the root ball, water deeply to help eliminate any air pockets.

'Berry White' Hydrangea Care Tips

Light

dark pink and white berry white hydrangea shrub
Courtesy of First Editions Shrubs & Trees

'Berry White' hydrangea performs best in full sun (six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day) or part shade. Morning-midday sunlight and dappled afternoon shade will produce the best blooms.

Soil and Water

If the soil is poor, add compost before planting. Dig a hole about twice the width of the pot and deep enough for the root ball to sit at the same depth as it was in its container. It thrives in well-drained soil, though it can also tolerate some drought. After filling in the soil around the root ball, water deeply to help eliminate any air pockets. A soil pH near neutral (7) or slightly acidic is best for 'Berry White'.

'Berry White' hydrangeas may need extra watering if the weather is very hot or dry. Don't let the soil completely dry out.

Temperature and Humidity

These hardy shrubs can survive frigid temperatures during the winter to begin blooming again in summer. When the temperature warms up, make sure the soil is kept moist for the healthiest plants.

Fertilizer

Fertilize with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in late winter or early spring. Keep in mind that over-fertilizing can produce a profusion of leaves instead of more blooms.

Pruning

Like other panicle hydrangea varieties, the best time to prune 'Berry White' is late winter or early spring (usually February or March) once the worst of the cold has passed. This will help your plant produce even more flowers; if you want, you can just shear off the ends of each branch, or if it needs intense pruning, you can cut the plant back to about one foot above the ground while it's still dormant. Panicle hydrangeas bloom on new growth, so pruning encourages the plant to produce new stems and more flowers.

Pests and Problems

Common garden pests can potentially harm 'Berry White' hydrangeas. These include aphids and Japanese beetles. A strong blast of water can dislodge most bests, or you can use an insecticidal soaps. If you aren't squeamish, you can hand-pick larger pests like beetles from the plant and drop them into soapy water to get rid of them.

Diseases that can affect 'Berry White' hydrangeas include botrytis blight, caused by damp, cold conditions without much sunlight; bacterial leaf spot, and powdery mildew, which looks like white powder on leaves.

How to Propagate 'Berry White' Hydrangeas

The right time to propagate hydrangeas, including 'Berry White,' is from late spring through early fall. First, find a healthy plant to prevent spreading any diseases. Cut a branch at least 6 inches long with bright green leaves and no flowers. Strip the leaves, except for two at the top of the branch. New growth will sprout from the stripped sites.

Propagate in a small container of potting soil, planting each stem at least 2 inches apart. Roots begin to form after about a week, which you can check by gently pulling on the plant. Once the roots are there, transplant them into your garden.

Companion Plants for 'Berry White' Hydrangeas

Iris

Irises work well planted with 'Berry White' hydrangea because they require the same amount of sunlight and water. Irises also come in a variety of flower colors, so you can find varieties that either complement or contrast with your hydrangea.

Boxwood

Boxwood can be pruned and shaped in geometric designs, whether round or square. This orderly look would work well with the more dynamic style of 'Berry White' hydrangea, which grows with a more freeform aesthetic. In winter, when hydrangeas go dormant, evergreen boxwood provides interest to the landscape.

Hosta

Try shade-loving hosta planted in front of 'Berry White' hydrangea, where it can grow comfortably, protected from the sun by the bigger plant. There are many types of hostas to choose from, ranging from blue-green leaves to bright yellow-striped ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's special about the color of 'Berry White' hydrangea flowers?

    When they first bloom, the cone-shaped clusters of flowers will open up white, then turn dark pink, starting with the flowers at the base of each cluster. It looks especially stunning when just some of the flowers have started to change color, leaving two-tone clusters of pink and white. Eventually, as summer ends and fall takes over, all of the blooms will change to deep pink (almost red).

  • What's the best way to use 'Berry White' hydrangea in a garden?

    'Berry White' hydrangea is an excellent choice for creating a hedge or living screen in a garden. It can also be used in a cutting garden. The clusters of blooms are so large, you could easily fill a vase with just three or four stems from the plant.

  • Is 'Berry White' hydrangea an old or new wood plant?

    This type of hydrangea blooms on new wood. You can tell because no buds appear on its branches in fall.

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