Little quick fire hydrangea, is a selection of Hydrangea paniculata (hy-DRAIN-juh, pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh), is a deciduous shrub and belongs to the Hydrangeaceae family.
This is the dwarf form of the popular quick fire hydrangea.
The genus name “hydrangea” derives from hydor which means “water” and aggeion means “vessel” – referring to the cup-shaped fruit of the flowering plant.
This upright, steady-growing plant is native to China and Japan and is often referred to as “SMHPLQF”.
Other than the distinguishing botanical name, the hydrangea variety has a few common names as well.
- Panicle hydrangea
- Hydrangea paniculata smhplqf
- Hardy hydrangea
Little Quick Fire Hydrangea Care
Size and Growth
Little quick fire hydrangea is a medium to fast-growing plant species.
In its bloom season, the plant usually grows up to 3′-5’ feet tall at mature height, producing oval green leaves, pointy, terminal white flowers, and stunning green foliage color.
The dark green leaves are up to 3” – 6” inches tall and 1.5” – 3” inches wide and tend to change its color to dull yellow as fall approaches.
Flowering and Fragrance
The lovely dwarf plant is known for its early bloom time.
The flowers usually blossom on new wood a month before the other hydrangeas, offering a bloom time from early spring to late summer.
Originally, the non-showy, axial flowers have a white flower color which eventually transforms into pink-red as the summer progresses.
With early blooming, the plant produces dense flower heads with sharp and narrowed panicles for up to 15” – 18” inches long.
The upright flowers also have a spicy scent to them which makes them more noticeable and attractive.
Light and Temperature
Unlike many hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas are capable of thriving in full sun for a few hours but part sun is preferred.
During hydrangea season (late spring to early summer), the plant is happy under direct sunlight.
The plant performs well in partial shade as well, but not in full shade.
The USDA zone or hardiness zone of little quick fire hydrangeas are from 3a – 8b similar to other varieties such as the ‘limelight’ hydrangea.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘SMHPLQF’ prefers moderate to warm temperatures, 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C) (during the day) and slightly below 60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C) (during the night).
Watering and Feeding
The young hydrangea plant requires regular watering to establish the root system.
The best time to water the hydrangea is in the morning.
Deeply water it, using a soaker hose, to prevent it from wilting in the scorching summer heat.
Ideally, water the summer plant three to four times a week to stimulate root growth.
Once it is well-established, the plant does not require frequent watering.
Little quick fire hydrangeas prefer a slow-release fertilizer such as a tree fertilizer or rose fertilizer.
Make sure to fertilize the plant in early spring.
Soil and Transplanting
Loamy and well-drained soil is the ideal soil conditions for growing hydrangea paniculata.
Make sure to keep the soil cool by providing it with a good amount of moisture.
The soil pH has no effect on the flower color of the dwarf plant.
However, soil pH preferences are from 6.6 to 7.3.
Ideally, transplant little quick fire hydrangea in fall or late winter when the shrub is at rest.
Sever the long roots by cutting the base of the plant, using a spade.
Deeply water the hydrangea a night before transplanting and eliminate all the unwanted debris (weeds, grass, etc) from the plant.
Choose a location where the hydrangea receives maximum morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
Dig deep to easily accommodate the root ball and transfer it in its new growing spot.
Cover it with well-moist native soil and organic compost for healthy growth.
Grooming and Maintenance
Lightly prune the hardy hydrangea in late summer or early fall to encourage new growth.
Make sure to eliminate all damaged or dead leaves and branches.
Pruning older shrubs is more important than the younger ones as they are difficult to handle.
Never cut a branch more than a 1/3 of its length.
Also, provide part shade to the plant and apply mulch, at 2″ inches deep, to keep it safe in extreme temperatures.
More on Hydrangea Care
How to Propagate Panicle Hydrangea
Panicle hydrangeas are typically propagated from softwood cuttings.
Take two small cuttings of about 4″ to 6″ inches long and propagate them in the sand.
Water them thoroughly to establish the roots in their growing season.
Hydrangea Paniculata Pests and Diseases
The Little Quick Fire plant is susceptible to no serious pests or diseases.
However, the plant may suffer from powdery mildew in humid locations with irregular air circulation.
Little Quick Fire Hydrangea Uses
This showy specimen is employed for mass plantings in a hydrangea garden or a landscape area.
The dwarf plant fits perfectly well into container gardens and mixed borders but also looks great as a cut flower.
All in all, little quick fire hydrangeas can suit any outdoor space and take the beauty level a notch higher with their sheer presence.