I Love the Fire Light Hydrangea
C.L. Fornari is a speaker, writer, radio talk show host and gardening consultant
gardening, speaking, lectures, writer, plants, annuals, perennials, shrubs, garden advice, gardens, Cape Cod, radio, gardenlady, garden lady
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I Love the Fire Light Hydrangea

I Love the Fire Light Hydrangea

Name: Hydrangea paniculata Fire Light aka the Fire Light Hydrangea

Type of Plant: A medium to large shrub that flowers from late July until hard frost. Grow this hydrangea in full sun to part sun. 

Why I Love/Hate this plant:  This panicle hydrangea flowers on new growth, which means that it doesn’t matter if it’s a cold winter or if someone prunes it back in the spring, it will still bloom. I love the bright pink color that the flowers turn in the fall. I also love how the plant grows in a round, bushy shape, unlike some paniculata varieties that are more upright and almost tree-like. This shrub is in bloom  from late-July into October, changing from white to bright pink and then wine-red flowers.

A Word to the Wise: If you have a place that gets late-afternoon into evening sun, put the Fire Light hydrangea there because the end-of-day sunbeams illuminate this plant. Prune this hydrangea in the spring, first removing crossed/rubbing branches, then any that are growing into the center of the plant, and finally trimming it back by up to a third if it needs rejuvenation. Frankly, when placed in the right location this shrub doesn’t need much pruning.

You can see the Fire Light hydrangea on the right, this photo taken in early July. (Note the Flower Carpet ‘Pink Splash’ Rose in full bloom at the bottom of the photo.)

In August the Fire Light Hydrangea starts to gradually turn pink. In this photo the Fire Light is on the right and for comparison the Little Quick Fire is on the left. Little Quickfire (and the taller Quickfire) start to turn pink in August. Fire Light is close behind.

In late August through September Fire Light is an OMG Hydrangea. First the vibrant pink you see here in September, then into a wine red in October. This is a “WOW!” shrub, and it’s easy to grow.

  • Sammie Pearce
    Posted at 12:10h, 18 March Reply

    I just discovered your website and blog while searching for answers about what to do with all the rocks in our clay soil. Oh my! Thank-you!! I am so grateful to you for sharing your knowledge! We moved from California to northern Idaho 1 year ago. I have only just begun! I found last year I had to buy an attachment for our drill to be able to dig holes to plant all the bulbs and hostas I purchased. We have a huge shady back yard that I am excited to plant in. I have always had hot sunny gardens before. I appreciate your info about hydrangeas as they are one of the main things I want to grow in our zone 6b. Can I grow them in dappled shade under the many birches we have in our yard?

    • CL Fornari
      Posted at 09:03h, 27 March Reply

      This type of panicle hydrangea does best in full sun. But you can grow the H. macrophylla and serrata varieties – such as Endless Summer, Enchantress and Tuff Stuff in dappled shade very successfully

  • Dale Kapp
    Posted at 12:51h, 25 April Reply

    Darn, I was told the Fire Light was for shade, and it would give the colors you speak of for it’s transitions. Now, having 2, sounds like I need to dig them up and relocate them, I planted them as small shrubs last year. Can I lift them now?
    Thanks C. C.

    Dale (FGC)

    • CL Fornari
      Posted at 13:01h, 25 April Reply

      Yes, dig them and move them now to a sunnier spot now. They’ll move easily, only having been in the ground for a year.

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