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QuickFire Hydrangea

18 years ago

I just wanted to post this because earlier this year I couldn't find any information as to when QF's blooms would start to turn pink/red. I'm happy to say that its buds started opening 7/1 and as of 7/14 I'm starting to see a little color. This was after 2 days of rain.

So far, I'm pretty pleased with this plant. It's grown nicely for its first season, and the blooms are beautiful.

Comments (39)

  • 18 years ago

    Very pretty. Looks more like a lacecap than a paniculata. Thanks for posting, it's the first time I've seen one. It looks like it might be a good alternative for colder zones that want a reliable lacecap...yg

  • 18 years ago

    YG thank you. =) I wasn't expecting a lacecap, but it really does look like one doesn't it? I've always wanted a red lacecap, so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised when the color darkens. You never know! =)

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  • 18 years ago

    mehearty, thank you so much for the pic - I wanted to get a Quick Fire but I just could not find it in my area at all! I have tried many, many nurseries but they just don't have it.

    Anyway, would you mind posting a photo with the entire plant please? I would love to see one. Thanks!

  • 18 years ago

    I'd be happy to post a pic Ostrich. I remember your enthusiasm about this plant earlier in the season, and I was hoping you'd see this thread.

    This is a close up of the shrub before it starting turning pink.

    Here it is in the garden for perspective a few days after the buds started to open. The garden is a work in progress.


  • 18 years ago

    Thank you so much for posting the pics, mehearty! What a gorgeous plant!!! I am so mad that we can't get it in my region at all! I didn't want to buy one on-line as I always wanted to see it before I bought the plant... also, I wanted to buy the bigger ones from the nursery too... :-)

    mehearty, your yard is lovely! Can you tell us what the other beauties are in that bed? They are so very pretty! Thanks!

    Oh, please be sure to post some more pics later when the Quick Fire turns pink and then red! I can't wait to see them! Thanks again.

  • 18 years ago

    Thank you so much Ostrich. While watering this am, I noticed at least one flower is starting to darken already! I will definitely keep you posted on this lovely plant's progress.

    Thank you for the kind words on that garden. It's actually boring this month as the spring/early summer bloomers have quit, and I'm waiting for late summer blooms. That's where QF came in. =)

    The very back is a Miss Kim Lilac.

    To her right is a Double Knock Out Rose who has stopped putting out profuse blooms for a little while & is concentrating on growth.

    In front of DKO are WS'd Munstead Lavender planted a few years ago but pruned too late this spring so they're not putting out the color like they have in the past.

    Between Miss Kim & QF is a dying Red Prince Weigela. =(

    The tall plant is a Lucy Hibiscus trained as a tree form. VERY late bloomer.

    In front of the tree form is a Holger Juniper which has yellow tips in the spring. I want more flowers in that bed, so the juniper may have to find a new home.

    The perennials scattered below are some sort of salvia planted from seed which blooms a lovely purple/blue late spring but the flowers only last a few weeks.

    The reddish perennials in the front are dianthus maiden pinks which I love. There are more dianthus by the lavender but they were too tiny to see at that time.

    There are also some geranium pratense Midnight Reiter & waterfall bellflower which bloomed beautifully ealrier. Hopefully next year when they're more established, they will bloom longer.

    That bed is suppose to be pink/reds & blues with a little white for accent.

    Along the ground in front of the bed is creeping thyme which may or may not take off.

    You can just see the corner of the other bed in the background with moonbeam coreopsis (great plant!!) and a nuclear David Phlox (just started blooming this am) which will likely meet Mr Shovel next spring because the mildew problems are ridiculous.

    I think that's it. I'm so glad to find other people who share this passion. BTW I did not fertilze QF this year. I suspect next year she'll grow much faster with some fertilizer. Thanks for your interest. =)

  • 18 years ago

    Nice looking plant mehearty - I grew a bunch of these last year for an arboretum fund raiser this spring and all the plants experienced a darkening of the stems and leaves on the end of the stems - maybe around late August. The color was a burgundy-red and very attractive I thought. So maybe there's a secondary season of color to go along with the blooms.

  • 18 years ago

    That's great to know Mrgpag. Thanks!

  • 18 years ago

    Thank you so much for the list of your lovely plants, mehearty!

    I have some similar plants/color combos too! I too have a couple of DKO roses - they have been nothing short of SPECTACULAR! So much better than the regular KO roses too. I love them! Instead of putting lavendar next to them, I have some Marcus Salvia and also Walker's Low Catmint, which put out some gorgeous blue color against the DKO roses, similar to your lavendar!

    Now, I would love to have a hibiscus tree in my yard! And some lilac too.... you have a wonderful selection there!

    And of course, I WANT YOUR QUICK FIRE!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

  • 18 years ago

    Thank you Ostrich. I love your enthusiam I know you;ll get your QF one of these days.

    Can I ask you a question? Are your Marcus Salvia and Walker's Low Catmint long bloomers? I'm not happy w/my 2 week bloomers.

    Thank you!

  • 18 years ago

    mehearty - you know me!? Oh..... LOL

    My Marcus Salvia is NOT a long bloomer. It looked good for a few weeks and then the flowers were spent. I just pruned it though last week, so let's see if it re-blooms...

    The Walker's Low catmint though, is a LONG BLOOMER! It has been blooming NON-STOP since June! It's still looking spectacular after all this time. The bees love it - in fact, they love it too much, so if you want to get it, be careful that it will attract very many bees!!!

  • 17 years ago

    Just an update Ostrich ...

    A month later, I am not crazy about he color of these blooms. They are a very dusty, dingy pink that looks unappealing. I haven't been able to capture the tint on my camera otherwise I'd post it. I'm not loving this plant in August.

  • 17 years ago

    mehearty, thank you for the update! I am sorry that you are not enjoying the colors.... yes, if you could post a photo, that would be great. I saw them in 2-3 gallon pots in a local nursery last week, and I thought of you! The plants were very big and blooming profusely in white. They were nice looking and I was even tempted to get one! But of course, I have no more bed to put it in so I didn't... anyway, I really appreciate your update and I am now glad that I didn't get one!!!

    Thanks again!

  • 17 years ago

    Hi there - I just posted a picture of mine in a different link - wonder if the color of yours is the same?

  • 17 years ago

    Mehearty, don't be too discouraged just yet. I don't have Quickfire but many other hydrangeas go through an ugly duckling stage of aging only to come out of it later with fantastic colors. Hope yours will be one of them.....yg

  • 17 years ago

    Hello, I have been trying to figure out how to view the photobucket pictures. I have even joined the photobucket brigade (just alittle levity). I still can't see the pictures. I'm sure I'm not typing in the right thing or clicking on the right spot. Any suggestions. Or is the just a wayward advertisement and there really isn't any picture for me to see.

  • 17 years ago

    Good AM garden friends - I was searching for a more recent QF H thread and I'm so glad to find several of you in this and a bonus peek on Mehearty's beautiful bed!

    Silvergold, I'm sure you'll remember me looking for Angel's Blush after I've seen yours posted in the pink H thread. None of the 4 nurseries I go to for special Hs could get it - HD, Lowes etc did not get them either ... mostly tons & tons of ES and F&E only and Tardivas certainly.

    One of the nurseries asked me to come and view the last 3 QFs they had, to consider. Another nursery had a few Glowing Embers H left too. I did a quick search and QF seems to fit better in the sunny spot I had prepared since last year for Angel's Blush - so home I came with a 3gal pot fully bloomed and turning to pink QF!!! I hope I wont be sorry - she will sit nicely just a few feet so of Little Lamb on top of our retaining wall and about 3-4ft from edge.

    My?? - since her max hgt is 6ft would her roots be big and strong to push against the wall. I have a row (12) Mem'Day Peonies (that I'm thinking to deminish as I add other paniculatas in the future. Mehearty claims that the color didn't quite turn as dark as expected, which suits me fine ... I prefer a more merlot or even mellower shade since I couldn't find AB. I set my heart on an AB to plant for my angel g'dau this year - 'hope I wont be sorry.

    Ostrich did you finally really decide against adding QF in your collection?

    TIA and 'hope Ego45 will see this post too!

  • 17 years ago

    Ditas, I did not get a Quick Fire in the end, because the one spot that I had for it last year, I put in an Annabelle instead (and I have not looked back since!).

    I am creating a new flower bed full of hydrangeas. I have a Limelight, a Little Lamb, and I will have a Pink Diamond there too. However, now that I have possibly more space, I can't find any Quick Fire in my local nursery any more! Yikes... we'll see.

    Thanks for thinking of me, Ditas!

  • 17 years ago

    ' that I have possibly more space...'

    Leave a spot for it.
    Could be a winner.

  • 17 years ago

    I bought my QF hydrangea last year and it didn't bloom at all. Look at how much bloom this year so far?! It's beautiful. It has double the size at least and has flower buds on every branch.

  • 17 years ago

    Thank you Ditas. =)

    QF impresses me early in the season but she peters out just when my side garden starts to pop in August. I will say that she was smashed to half her size by heavy snow this winter & put out some nice, long growth this season. That makes me pleased. She's started budding out already & probably has started to bloom a little by now. She has much less budss this year but I think all that snow damage caused that problem.

    I didn't photograph her nearly as much as I should have last year because at one point I really thought I was going to send her to the back yard for badly behaving plants. Her growth this year saved her spot in that side garden for another season.

    Sorry these aren't better pics. She gets about 6 hours of morning sun:

    QuickFire Early August

    Looking at the pic, QF appears to be right under the basketball hoop. I really disliked the pantyhose color. IIRC, she looked like that for about 3-4 weeks. I happen to snap the pic a week or 2 into her homely stage.


    Prettiest Color End of August

    This is when she really blushed. I liked the color (sort of an antique dusty rose) but most definitely not even close to the red she was claimed to get.

    QuickFire in October

    She was unremarkable in September, but I remembered to snap a pic of her late October. Just as a frame of reference, the weather was so nice that I had roses blooming at that time.

    QuickFire Today
    Just starting to bloom but with much less flowers than last year which is understandable after our harsh, late winter. She was probably less than half that size this spring. I'd say she probably put on about 18-22" growth. Had we not had such a dry spring, she probably might have grown more.


  • 17 years ago

    MH, thank you so much for posting the latest pics - I just checked out your pic from last year when I was looking at this thread earlier today, and now you have posted the current pic for comparison! Thank you!!! That is just such a treat! I really love your arrangement in that flower bed - it's so gorgeous! Anyway, just look at how much fuller and lovelier everything is this year.

    Just like George said, I just might have to leave room for a QF.... :-)

  • 17 years ago

    Many thanks for taking the time to post photos to give an idea of plant habits, progression of growth and color changes. I don't mind at all the blushy or dusky pink as the blooms mature at the end of the season (pic taken Aug. 22) - do you remember how long the color lasted before turning more tannish?

    I've kept a garden journal with sketches, photos and plant tags, as early as the late '80s - 'helps me keep tract of the ever changing and ephemeral nature of seasonal gardening. Its always fun to look back on the transformation as new beds and island patches are created ... plants lost, replaced relocated added ... toils, woes and joys ... sights, sounds and scents ... etc etc ...

    Many thanks again!

  • 16 years ago

    My QF Hydrangea is turning pink. I like it.

  • 16 years ago

    WOW! Finegarden, thank you for the lovely photo! It's great to see your QF!!!

    How much sun do you get in this location please?

  • 16 years ago

    Thank you ostrich :)

    My QF is facing west in my front yard. So it gets the sun from later morning until later afternoon. It's very sunny location. I live in Vancouver, BC. Even though our summer is not that hot, you still feel burning under the afternoon sun. I am surprised that it never looked wilted.

  • 16 years ago

    WOW!!! ... indeed, Finegarden <:- ... can wait for mine to mature in her dirty white stage and some of the florets are speckled hopefully will not show when she finally turns. this is first season like yours gets late am sun through pm.>How long have you had her and how large is she in this photo?

    Appreciate your response! :-)

  • 16 years ago

    Hello, all.
    I put in a small QF in similar sun as Finegarden and Ditas. Its leaves started to scorch around the edges and it has no intention of blooming this year. I'm hoping this is because we've been having horrifying heat. But my question is, does it need less sun because I'm at >5000 feet? Or should I just shade it until it gets established? Thanks for any help!

  • 16 years ago

    Hi ditas, I bought my QF in July 2005 and it looked like this(in the picture). The longest branch is 3' and rest are 2' and it's not very bushy. They didn't flower last year, but it showed some buds in the fall. The buds are killed by the frost. I didn't do pruning except cut down a little the tallest one. This year is growing very fast. So far, the longest branch is 4' and rest of them are 3' and 3' wide.

  • 16 years ago

    Thank you very much, Finegarden, for responding to my ?? - even if Vancouver, BC is a very Hydrangea-friendly place compared to ours (challenging Winters and hot & humid Summers) nevertheless, your experiences with your QF give us hope and inspiration!,<:->Hi Lilgreenfrog, although we both are in similar z# your elevation and our relatively flat midwest may make real difference as far as sun exposure is concerned, perhaps some experts will clear your ??

    But one thing certain is patience and following advice from more experienced afficionados pays off. My 17y/o Nikko has rewarded me this year with many and huge blooms and to this day, I still find new buds that have just formed while the earliest clusters are now turning to her mature, sagey-green, color - thanks to Hayseedman's Overwintering thread & Maria' s (from Ottawa) flat cardboard method. Too much sun exposure is another question ... I resorted to sheltering Nikko with an arbor and a fast climbing SA clematis when she lost her source of shade. QF will not need such extensive protection thank heavens, hopefully someone will anwer your question ... I'm interested to know too. Hang in there & Good luck!

  • 16 years ago

    Hi Ditas, thank you for your reply. I could certainly put an arbor over this guy, or move him - he's pretty little. I really just don't know if should expect QF to be more sun tolerant once its established, or if I've just put him in too much sun in this thin atmosphere. I've already learned that many plant labels that say "full sun" actually mean "full sun EXCEPT at 5000 feet".
    So, I appreciate the encouragement! I've read Hayseedman's overwintering treatise, which made me realize how horribly lucky I got last winter putting 3 inches of mulch around my new PG, and having it survive 36 inches of snow. I'm prepared to be less cavalier this year!
    Thanks again,

  • 16 years ago

    Just resurrecting this thread because QF has won me over this season. She went from about 12-18" this spring to over 5 feet by the end of August. She's even putting out a few new buds on her new growth.

    Her flowers were not particularly abundant this year but that may be a product of a tough winter & too much alfalfa (I'm convinced that some plants put out more green growth with alfalfa & less blooms though roses are definitely the exception).

    Here She is Today in Her Deepest Color

    Bloom Color End of August

    The ugly duckling phase seemed to last a much shorter time this year.

    New Growth Putting Out Buds

    It almost looks like the buds are starting to blush.

    Garden Shot for Perspective

    Both QF & ES got much larger this year than anticipated. Next year ES will go in a different bed, and the smaller, bluer Nikko will go next to QF. Also for perspective, the bottom of that window is a little more than 5 feet from the ground.

  • 16 years ago

    mehearty, thank you so much for sharing the latest pics!

    I really enjoy seeing how your flower bed has matured over the last year. It's so beautiful! I love it! Everything is so gorgeous around the porch, the grey siding and the bay window.

    OK, I am getting carried away and I will stop it! LOL! Your QF is very nice. You know, I gotta find somewhere to plant one... I found some small but lovely ones in a local nursery this past week. Let's see what I can do... :-)

  • 13 years ago

    Fine Garden, I thought I'd bump up this thread since I am researching Quick Fire. All of the pics and info on growth were really helpful! Any chance you have a new photo to share of how large your Quick Fire is today?

  • 13 years ago

    I have 2 Quick Fires and I love them - they are now 3 years old, very bushy, about 3-4 ft tall. The deer found them last year and ate the tops off but I sprayed them this year and they're fine. Everyone asks me what they are - gorgeous plants.

  • 8 years ago

    i bought mine on year end clearance in oct it had 3 broken branches. this is it 2 yrs ago it is 6 feet tall now

  • 8 years ago

    wow they are great plants

  • 7 years ago

    Holy hell Cearbhaill, that QF is enormous!! That's year 4 in full sun? Mine is year three and it's about 4.5' high..full sun zone 5... I guess I'll keep an eye on this guy this year