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Pinky Winky Hydrangea Care Guide

Pinky Winky hydrangeas produce beautifully large flowers in clusters known as panicles. For this reason, they are part of the family of panicle hydrangeas. Their flowers start off white and fade to pink.

They also love full sun which makes them very versatile and they have thick sturdy stems that make their flowers grow straight up. Today I will explain how to look after Pinky Winky hydrangeas so that they do very well.

Pinky Winky Hydrangea care tips

  • Plant Pinky Winky in soil that has a pH of 6 to 6.5, and no more than 7
  • Set up so that the stem is 4 feet (1.2 meters) apart from any other plants
  • Spray them with neem oil after sunset to control pests and diseases
  • Use well-draining soil with 50% garden soil, 25% sand, and 25% compost
  • Place them where they’ll get full sun or partial shade
  • Water them when the top inch of soil is completely dry
pinky winky hydrangea care

Pinky Winky Hydrangea

Plant profile

Care/requirements Pinky Winky Hydrangea
Hardiness: USDA zone 3-8
Size: Height 8 ft. and width 10 ft.
Shape: Rounded with upright stems.
Type: Perennial, deciduous, shrub.
Light requirements: Full sun or at least 4-6 hours of direct sun per day.
Soil: Loam or amended soil.
Soil pH: 6.2-7.0 Grow best in slightly acidic soil.
Watering: When 1 inch of soil is dry. Don’t water in the winter.
Growth rate: Fast
Blooming: New wood.
Flowers color: White-red.
Leaves color: Bright green.
Fragrance: Low scent.
Best time for planting: Early spring and early fall.
Pruning: Deadheading after flowering and removing deadwood.
Reblooming: No
Spacing: 4 feet apart (center to center).
Transplanting: Early fall or early spring.
Fertilizer: Balanced NPK formula, twice per year.
Propagation: By cuttings in early spring.
Deer resistant: No
Problems: Pests, diseases.


Pinky Winky hydrangeas grow quite wide and can grow up to around 6 ft (182 cm). For this reason, you want to give them enough clearance above. For example, don’t plant them below another tree that has low-hanging branches. You also want to plant them 4 feet (1.2 meters) apart – measured from the stem. 

They should be planted in full sun ideally, but partial shade is also OK. However, they won’t grow as fast. And ideally, Pinky Winky hydrangeas should be planted in early Spring. This is when temperatures are very mild and will reduce the impact of what is called transplant shock. This is where the plant struggles a little bit initially after being taken out from its pot.

Light requirements

Pinky Winky hydrangeas do best in full sun. In particularly hot climates the midday sun can be quite intense. So, if you’re growing them in pots it can be a good idea to move them out of the hottest part of the day around midday.

However, they should hold up pretty well, provided the soil doesn’t dry out. Pinky Winky hydrangeas will grow OK in partial shade but not full shade.


The quality of the soil is a very important factor for plants, and this variety is no different. The ideal soil for Pinky Winky hydrangea is well-draining. Clayey soils that are very thick, and typically orange or light grey in color aren’t suitable for this hydrangea. Neither is very sandy soil, that doesn’t hold water very well.

If you already have nice dark garden soil that is free draining, then you can plant them directly into that. However, if your soil is a bit clayey then you should create a soil mixture and pour it into the hole first. As well as, around the root ball after putting the placing it in the hole.

A good mixture is to use:

  • 50% of the soil you removed from the hole
  • 25% Sand
  • 25% Compost, or a compost and manure mix (half and half, compost and manure)

If your soil is particularly clayey, thick, and dense then only use 25%, and use another 25% of compost. The pH of the soil should ideally be 6 to 6.5, and no more than 7. The pH can be tested using an inexpensive soil testing kit available from most garden supply stores or online. 

It’s best to test the pH of the soil before planting them, as changing the pH at a later stage can take some time. As it takes a while for the nutrients you add on the surface to change the pH of the soil.

Whereas, if you mix some soil additives such as lime (crushed limestone) into the soil that you’re placing around the Pinky Winky hydrangeas before planting it can change the pH of the soil almost instantly.

pinky winky hydrangea care

Pinky Winky Hydrangea


When to water your Pinky Winky hydrangeas needs to be monitored using a ‘finger in the soil test’. This is where you put a finger into the soil and feel how moist or dry it is. You don’t want to let the soil completely dry out. But, you also don’t want them to be sitting in standing water for more than two hours.

Exactly when you water will depend on how often it rains. When you test the soil and it remains moist, then you shouldn’t water them. But, if you’ve had no rain for a while, or it’s particularly hot and you feel that the soil is getting a bit dry then you should water them immediately. 

About 1 gallon (4.5 liters) each time you water is about right. But, you can up this to about 1.5 gallons in the heat of summer. As you may know, it’s also a very good idea to have mulch at the base of your Pinky Winky hydrangeas. 

This keeps the soil from drying out as fast, and also attracts beneficial insects. If you get an extreme amount of rain or accidentally water them too much and the soil remains very wet, or waterlogged, don’t water them at all until it dries out more, and water drains through the soil.

However, the added sand in the soil described in the soil section should largely prevent them from getting waterlogged.


Pinky Winky hydrangeas don’t necessarily need to be pruned. The main reason to prune them is if they get too tall. As they will only grow so wide. It’s generally done for aesthetic reasons. For example, to create an interesting contrast in height between them and the other plants you have in your garden.

The best time to prune them is in early spring. In autumn and winter, they will drop all of their leaves and only leave dry brown flowers, which is a mere shell of their former glory. However, the dried flowers hold their shape and look quite good. So, most people leave them on and don’t cut them off, also known and deadheading.

Pruning hydrangeas is very easy, you want to decide how short you want to cut back a particular set. And cut directly above the notches on the stem. These notches are where new stems will grow out when it puts on new growth in the spring.

The good thing about Pinky Winky hydrangeas is they will produce flowers from new growth, as well as, old-growth. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about your hydrangeas not flowering after pruning.


Generally, the causes for flowers not to bloom, or much smaller blooms than the previous year are a cold snap in spring and summer when the buds are forming. However, Pinky Winky Hydrangeas are very hardy to cold temperatures, so this typically isn’t the cause.

Unless you’ve had a particularly cold snap, then it’s likely your Pinky Winky hydrangeas weren’t acclimated to your climate prior to planting. Many plants grown in nurseries are housed in greenhouses that are quite warm. When a plant grows it becomes accustomed to the temperature. 

Therefore, when you buy it and plant it in your climate it can give the Pinky Winky hydrangeas a bit of a shock. This can cause them not to bloom until they’ve become accustomed to the temperature and therefore, they won’t bloom until the following Spring/Summer. 

Any issues with the leaves are related to pests, watering, or nutrient deficiencies. Yellowing or curling leaves of the leaves is a sign that they are being overwatered, or not getting enough water. As well as, a lack of some nutrients. It’s difficult to know exactly what the cause is. 

However, provided you’re using the recommended amount of water explained in the watering section above, these issues will go away and new growth won’t show any yellow spots, dead areas, and won’t turn crispy and drop off.

If the issue persists it’s likely that the soil is nutrient deficient or your Pinky Winky Hydrangeas are affected by pests or mold. Using a fertilizer can restore new leaves so that they don’t develop yellow spots.

Pinky Winky Hydrangea

Pests and diseases

Yellow spots and dead leaves can also be caused by pests such as mealy bugs, aphids, and scale. As well as, by diseases such as mold. These are all treated in the same way by spraying the stems and leaves with neem oil, or a neem oil and water mixture. 

It’s best to do it after sunset. When done during the day the water can magnify the sun and cause burnt spots on the surface of the leaves. Affected leaves can be trimmed off within reason.

But, you don’t want to leave your hydrangeas with no leaves at all in Spring and Summer as it will cause a lot of stress to your plant. It’s generally best to trim off the leaves that are affected the most by yellowing or browning. But, leave as many of them on the plant as you can.


A general all-purpose fertilizer is good that is 2-4-8 or 10-10-10 is good for hydrangeas. Generally, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the bottle. 

Another really good option is to buy a soil testing kit from your garden supply store and in the USA from the County Extension Office. These will tell you if the soil is deficient in any nutrients, and what to add to make it ideal.

Overall, it’s best to fertilize Pinky Winky hydrangeas in Spring, and a few more times during the Summer. But, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. And most gardeners agree it’s best to err on the side of giving them less fertilizer than more.

When the soil is overfertilized it can damage the fine root hairs of the roots, and cause it to take up fewer nutrients. This can cause the leaves to exhibit yellow spots.