There are many amazing plants in a market, but hydrangeas stand-alone because of their great blooming and lush shape.
Today we take a close look at two great hydrangeas – Quick Fire and Pinky Winky. Both of them are panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata), and in some aspects, they similar.
But as is often the case, the difference is not immediately noticeable so let’s dive deeper into it.
The originator of Pinky Winky is Dr. Johan Van Huylenbroeek. He is a famous breeder and has created many beautiful ornamental plants.
When he worked in BFIA, he was lucky to get this new variety by using chemicals and seeds of Hydrangea ‘Pink Diamond.’
The Quick Fire is a hybrid variety. It is a result of crossing between Hydrangea ‘Dharuma’ and ‘Pink Diamond.’ Thanks to Dharuma, Quick Fire got an early blooming, and the other parent is responsible for the color.
As a result, we have two lovely hydrangeas with their own pros and cons, about which we will talk next.
|Quick Fire||Pinky Winky|
|Mature height||6-8′ (1.8-2.4m)||6-8′ (1.8-2.4m)|
|Mature width||6-8′ (1.8-2.4m)||8-10′ (2.4-3m)|
|Light exposure||full sun, partial shade||full sun, partial shade|
|Soil||moist, drained||moist, drained|
|Watering||1-2 times per week in a drought||1-2 times per week in a drought|
|Pests||insects, mites||insects, mites|
Quick Fire blooms earlier
The main thing that distinguishes these two varieties is the time of flowering.
Quick Fire blooms first. The beginning of flowering may occur in late May or early June, depending on the climate you live in.
On the other hand, Pinky Winky blooms much later, usually in late June or early July.
Since these two hydrangeas bloom until autumn, Quick Fire is better because it will provide its owners with beautiful flowers earlier.
However, early flowering is not always a positive feature because late frosts can destroy the flowers. But this is true only for 3-4 hardiness zones where the last frosts can occur from May 15 to June 1.
The next difference is the color of the flowers. Here’s something to talk about, so let’s go!
At the beginning of flowering, both of these varieties have white flowers, and the color persists until mid-summer. Then the mature flowers begin to turn pink.
The difference is that Pinky Winky continues to form new flowers on top of the panicle until the end of summer. These young flowers are white, while the lower part of the panicle is pink.
This feature gives an unsurpassed two-color effect, 80% of the panicle is pink, and the tips are white. It’s a bit like a candle.
On the other hand, when Quick Fire turns pink, it does not form (or form tiny) new flowers, so it does not have a two-color effect. Its flowers are pink with a crimson or red hue.
Thus, the panicles of Pinky Winky are more decorative and noticeable. On the other hand, many gardeners prefer one-color Quick Fire flowers.
Another small color difference is that Quick Fire can burn out in the summer in strong sunlight. As a result, its flowers become brownish, which many do not like.
In general, both of these hydrangeas change color in autumn to a more reddish-brown.
However, Pinky Winky is more resistant to the summer sun and becomes rusty pink no earlier than the end of September. In comparison, Quick Fire flowers may lose their attractiveness in August.
The similarity of these varieties is that their color is not affected by soil acidity. Which means you can’t change their color by changing the soil pH.
Flowers size and shape
Another noticeable difference is the size of the panicles. Also, their shape is different.
Pinky Winky has large panicles, averaging 12 inches (30 cm) in length. Some claim that the panicles reach 16 inches (45 cm) under favorable conditions, although I have never seen anything like it.
Quick Fire, on the other hand, has significantly smaller panicles. Their length rarely reaches 8 inches (20 cm).
As I mentioned above, Pinky Winky continues to form new flowers until the end of summer, which is why its panicles are longer.
However, this is not the only difference; in the second half of summer, the panicles take the shape of a cone with sharp tips. The pointed shape and sharp contrast of white and pink colors make Pinky Winky very unusual and expressive.
The shape of Quick Fire panicles is more rounded, and they do not have sharp tips. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage because not everyone likes the spear-shaped forms of Pinky Winky.
One thing is for sure: Pinky Winky is much more noticeable than her current competitor. You will not be able to miss this hydrangea even at a considerable distance.
Pinky Winky slightly wider than Quick Fire
The size and shape of Pinky Winky and Quick Fire are different.
Both of these varieties in maturity have approximately the same height, 6-8 ‘(1.8-2.4m).
However, Pinky Winky is slightly wider 8-10 ‘(2.4-3m). This is due to the fact that it has larger and more massive panicles, which means that the branches hold more mass. As a result, the plant has a broader habit.
Even with heavy loading, the branches of Pinky Winky never break or lie down. This hydrangea is just a little more sprawling than Quick Fire.
Quick Fire has a more compact habit at the same height. Its width is 6-8 ‘(1.8-2.4m). The branches of this hydrangea also do not lie down, but they do not hold the same weight as a competitor’s branches.
In general, Quick Fire is better suited for a hedge because it requires less space in width. It also grows a little faster, which is also important for the hedge.
Pinky Winky looks best as a specimen plant due to its two-tone panicles. And if this variety is grown in the shape of a tree, it’s just a fantastic view.
There also is Little Quick Fire Hydrangea
For those who love dwarf plants, I want to introduce Little Quick Fire Hydrangea. This variety has the same advantages as Quick Fire (early flowering), but it is much smaller.
Little Quick Fire grows up to 5 feet in height and the same width. The color of the flowers is also crimson-pink. This variety is ideal for a small garden or a low hedge.
Little Quick Fire, as well as Quick Fire, have similar care requirements, namely:
- 6-8 hours of direct sunlight (morning sun, afternoon shade)
- Nutritious and drained soil
- Watering 1-2 times a week in a drought
- Spraying with pesticides and fungicides
- Mulching with a 1-2 inch layer of mulch (compost, pine bark)
- Feeding twice a year with slow-release fertilizers
- Removal of dead branches, leaves, and inflorescences