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If you’re looking for flowering shrubs that give months of color with little effort, panicled hydrangeas are some of the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow. Also called pee gee hydrangeas, their opening act is a handsome display of large white or green clusters of flowers, but as the show goes on the petals age to pink, burgundy or red.

Because pee gee hydrangeas bloom on new wood that develops in spring and are hardy to a frigid Zone 3, even if they die back to the ground they will rise to produce color so there will never be another summer of frustration watching a hydrangea that refuses to bloom.

To thrive, ‘pee gees’ need 6 to 8 or more hours of sun a day, but appreciate some shade in the heat of the late afternoon. Pruning is not necessary, however, you can remove up to 1/3 of the shrub annually to keep it reduced in size. Just be sure to do in late winter or when you see green leaves beginning to bud out. However, the new dwarf varieties fit well in smaller spaces with little or no need to prune.

Water is key to color and length of bloom. Though not picky about soil pH, all hydrangeas grow and flower best in soil that is kept continuously moist.

The Proven Winners Color Choice lineup of pee gee hydrangeas offers an incredible selection of showstoppers, so if you’re a collector or flower lover, you will want them all.

The earliest bloomer and a personal favorite is ‘Quick Fire’ that starts the show early in July and colors up quickly. Rising 6 to 8 feet in height, it puts on a lovey display that works in the back of mixed border or a hedge. ‘Little Quick Fire,’ a dwarf form, is perfect for smaller spaces or containers.

Another dwarf variety ‘Bobo,’ that rises to just 3 feet in height, quickly becomes a ball of white flowers that is stunning in any setting and will garner raves from visitors.

‘Pinky Winky’s’ flower clusters resemble upside down ice cream cones featuring luscious pink with white tips — yum.

Imagine a 51/2- or 6-foot shrub covered with fire engine red flower clusters throughout the summer. That’s the promise of the new Proven Winners Color Choice hydrangea ‘Fire Light.’ I gotta have it.

But wait, there’s more: ‘Lime Light,’ ‘Little Lime Light,’ ‘Zinfin Doll’ and ‘Little Lamb.’

Check them out at provenwinners-shrubs.com.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to Yardener.com and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnews.com/homestyle.

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