Name: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘PllHM-l’ (doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, does it?) luckily, it’s aka Hydrangea Twist-n-Shout
Type of Plant: This is my favorite hydrangea from the Endless Summer series of plants. It is a big-leaf lacecap hydrangea, a shrub that is hardy in zones 4–9 but blooms best in zones 6 and above.
Why I love this: This lacecap produces large, showy flowers that stay attractive for a long time when grown in afternoon shade. It also grows some new flowers in September, so there are fresh, bright blue flowers in the fall even as the others have faded. I would call this a medium sized hydrangea, at least in zone 6 gardens and above. My plant is six years old and is basically five feet tall, although since it pretty much died to the ground last winter there are some “gotta-replace-what-I-lost-quickly” stems that are almost six feet tall. Don’t believe any listings that say that this is a shorter variety – give it room to grow taller so you won’t have to fight its size.
A Word to the Wise: Although all the hydrangeas in the Endless Summer group flower on new wood as well as old, this plant produces the most flowers on the older, second year canes. So don’t prune this shrub back either in the fall or spring! Do deadhead it promptly when the first flowers brown or fade, however, as this will stimulate more flowers being produced on new growth in the fall.
Those of you in zones four or five will find this plant is root hardy but not bud hardy, and in your normal winters you’ll only get flowers in the fall. You could, however, grow this plant in a large container and pull it into an unheated garage where it doesn’t go much below 20 degrees in the winter, or try planting it in a protected micro-climate on your property.
In all zones plant Twist-n-Shout where it will get morning sun but afternoon shade. These plants bloom best, and their flowers last the longest, when they get at least three hours of direct sun (morning or late-afternoon is fine) but are protected from the mid-day heat and sunlight.
I love this plant!