Award-winning new hydrangea is perfect for patios

For containers or for sunny borders, the ghostly flowers of this neat patio performer keep coming all summer

Varieties of Hydrangea paniculata are generally too tall and bushy for patio use, but this award winner from the Netherlands fits the bill.

Hydrangea paniculata Little Spooky (‘GRHP08’)In the RHS trial that ended in 2008, only two of the entries matured at 1m or less in height. The noticeably floppy Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ came in at 1m while Dart’s Little Dot (‘Darlido’) reached only 45cm, but grows taller in other situations, and has rather sparse flowerheads.

Hydrangea paniculata Little Spooky (‘GRHP08’) reaches only 50cm in height with a spread of just 30cm. Its green-tinted white flowerheads are packed with florets, and are far more impressive than those of Dart’s Little Dot.

I asked Peter Smith, Collection Manager at the Plant Heritage National Collection of Hydrangea paniculata, which includes 165 different plants, about Little Spooky.

“It does seem to be very dwarf,” he told me, “and it will be interesting to compare it with another new dwarf cultivar we have obtained recently, which is ‘Whitelight’, but it will be a couple more years before we will know what that plant is really like and see exactly how tall it grows.

“After planting it stood still for the first year. This is common in H. paniculata varieties as they often produce little top growth while the roots are establishing. I also removed all the flower buds last year to divert the plants’ resources into new roots and shoots.” This is good advice whenever planting varieties of H. paniculata.

Little Spooky was developed in the Netherlands by Guido Rouwette. It won a Gold Medal at the recent HTA New Plants Show, and was also assessed as the best shrub or climber.

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