The Plant of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is now in it’s 9th year, and the contest has seen some amazing introductions- from tropical hardy Foxgloves to patio Mulberry trees. However, 2018 was the year of the Hydrangea, as ‘Runaway Bride’ clinched the title of Plant of the Year. This new breakthrough variety boasts the flower power we’ve always dreamt of, and is set to the change the world of the UK’s favourite shrub…
Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ is a pivotal moment in the world of horticulture, as it’s the very first Hydrangea to produce flowers from every leaf joint, not just at the tips! Plants become laden with blooms, and hence have a wider range of uses in the garden, as the laden stems produce blooms like confetti. It can even be grown in hanging baskets and tumbling over walls and rockeries!
Despite years of being maligned, Hydrangea are back in vogue again, thanks to the recent revival in vintage style flowers. I wonder if Madonna has changed her mind about them though?? She has been quoted as ‘absolutely loathing Hydrangeas‘.
How to grow Hydrangea ‘runaway bride’:
Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ flowers on the previous years wood, so be careful when pruning. Only trim back the short flower panicles once the flowers have faded on them, do not trim back any further, as the stems may flush again. New shoots will develop after flowering, which will then bear next years flowers. This plant also needs twice as much fertiliser as standard Hydrangea macrophylla types, use a multi-purpose feed. 🙂
Flowering time: May to September
Location: Patio pots, hanging baskets, borders
Soil: Well-drained, and reliably moist
Light: Sun or very light shade
Hardy: Survives down to -15C, fully hardy
Care: Prune after initial flowering, which will encourage a secondary flush
Size: 1.2m (4′) high x 1.2m (4′) in spread
A whole new class of plant for your garden
‘Runaway Bride’ is the brainchild of Ushio Sakazaki, the skilled Japanese breeder who changed the world of Petunias with the introduction of ‘Surfinia’, which is now one of the most recognised plant brands around the world. He also selected the very first ‘mini petunias’ (Calibrachoa), released as the Million Bells Series.
Most standard Hydrangea macrophylla produce their flower buds on stems produced the previous year. This is also true of ‘Runaway Bride’, however the side buds ALSO produce flowers, creating garlands of blooms all along the graceful stems, up to 20 flower heads per stem! Rather than just the icing on the cake, you now have a plant drenched in icing!
The lace-cap blossoms are pure white, gently tinged with pink as they age. There are SIX times as many blooms as a usual Hydrangea, and they just keep on coming- from May to September. Unlike blue and pink Hydrangeas, ‘Runaway Bride’ is always the same colour too, differences in soil pH will not affect the colouring.
How would you use this Hydrangea into your outdoor space? The possibilities are endless!
How was this plant created?
Once Ushio Sakazaki had revolutionised Petunias, he set to work on the much-loved Hydrangea. He searched around for species with more flowers. He studied their habit and branching carefully before choosing an Asian species for crossing with the commonly known Hydrangea macrophylla. What he created was an entirely new category of Hydrangea- ‘The Garland Hydrangea’!
Where can you plant Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’?
The floriferous bush habit of this Hydrangea lends itself well to specimen container planting, and it will look at its best when allowed to tumble over the side of the container. The natural choice would be a vintage style container, but it can also work well in modern slate or jet black containers too.
Plants can be used in patio containers, up-cycled containers, windowboxes, hanging baskets, borders, rockeries, or even trained upwards on trelliswork!
Plants are problem-free, as with standard Hydrangeas, and will grow in sun or partial shade. For best results, make sure your Hydrangea is well-watered, so consider placing a saucer beneath your plant to act as a reservoir. After all, Hydrangea comes from the Greek “hydor”, meaning water, and plants can be thirsty!
Plants produce gorgeous oversized cushioned plants, eventually reaching 1.2m (4ft) up and across. Pruning is simple and will actually encourage fresh, bloom-laden shoots. Trim after flowering to initiate that secondary display!
Where can you buy this plant?
Fresh from it’s win at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ is being launched on QVC on Sunday 10th June in the 9am show. Tune in here to reserve your Plant of the Year.
Can we get in the US?
Is it an evergreen or will it lose all its leaves in Autumn?
Mr Plant Geek
It’s deciduous – so fresh leaves every spring!
Anita E M Bischoff
Can I get this plant in the USA?
My stunning runaway bride plant is pink and cream this year what has happened so gutte
BGT my 2 runaway bride hydrangeas this year from qvc (may 2020). Great healthy looking foliage on both, but only 1 is flowering. What is the reason for this, is it normal – new to gardening. Hope you can help. Many thanks, Karen
You have presented this plant as Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ which is classical genus and variety format . Where is the actual variety name?
You have presented this plant as Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’ which is classical genus and variety format. Where is the actual variety name
Hello I have brought a runaway bride plant from a good garden centre, looks very healthy, when can I put in garden container outside
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Can someone advise please. Healthy runaway, planted about 8 weeks ago showing no signs that it is going to flower. Is it one that needs to settle for a year? I am really confused at the advice I read on pruning, anyone know of a video I can watch! Just when I think I understand I read something slightly different. Thank you.
Paula Christine Taylor
My runaway bride is not trailing but is growing vertically.
Ive been quite disappointed because of this.
Any ideas why
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