One of the plants that I have had great success with is Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora – also called Pee Gee Hydrangea. While it’s not on most people’s nectar list, I have found that when it blooms it attracts tons of pollinators. It also attracts Spring and Summer Azure butterflies which lay eggs on the blossoms.
I’ve decided to create a hedge with these and am going to use this page to collect ideas and notes from the web.
Here are some recommendations from Craig of SurfingHydrangea.com
- A few that I like are Limelight, Tardiva and Pink Diamond. These plants all have sturdy branches that help hold the large flower heads up with minimal flopping.
- Placing plants at 3′ on center would allow for a tight hedge in a reasonable period of time without overplanting. You may be able to space even farther if you begin with larger stock plants.
- Personally, I would stay with one variety to allow for uniform shape and growth pattern among the plants. All varieties have a very long length of time between bud stage, full bloom and gradual fading of flowers through the fall.
I believe that Limelight is a good pollinator plant, but have no real evidence to support this. I do not know if any studies have been done on this characteristic for various paniculata forms.
Deborah Silver says, “I would plant your hedge 4′ off the sidewalk. No need to crowd that walk.”
Limelight is a variety that seems to get good reviews, so I may go with this hydrangea.
Note – if any readers grow this variety, I’d appreciate their comments.
Hydrangea is also listed as a good native nectar plant.
Here’s a good video on pruning this shrub.