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Cornell University

Cornell University’s Panicle Hydrangea Collection

As of the summer of 2023, Cornell University hosts the largest collection of Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle Hydrangea) genotypes in North America. We currently grow 265 unique selections. Hydrangeas symbolize friendship, devotion, perseverance and understanding.  Walk almost anywhere on campus and you will pass by these beautiful shrubs. [See locations below]

Panicle Hydrangeas are native to East Asia. But they are now common in Europe and North America, likely due to their large showy flowers and ease of growth.  Flowers bloom from mid-summer to well into fall, perfectly timed for students returning to campus.

The flowers also change color over the season. They often start out white or pale pink, then as the season progresses turn to deeper pink or even Cornell red, depending on the year.  Some have attractive fall foliage as well.

Panicle Hydrangeas are easy to grow in a variety of soils with full sun to partial shade conditions. Another reason why they are now ubiquitous is their cold hardiness.  You can see them in Finland as well as Maine.

Many new selections have been introduced in the last three decades, most emanating from plant breeders in The Netherlands, Germany, and the United States. At Cornell we have almost all of the named cultivars as well as unnamed breeding lines from breeders in Virginia and Oregon as well as the Netherlands. In time, we hope to propagate some of the best individuals and introduce them to the nursery industry.

The impetus for creating this collection came from Jim Sollecito ’76 (Ornamental Horticulture), owner of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery. As a nursery professional in Syracuse, Jim grew many Panicle Hydrangeas. He decided to help create this collection at his alma mater in memory of his daughter Hannah Rose Sollecito, CALS’11. Jim procured over 240 of the varieties for this growing collection.

Pride’s Corner Farms, in Lebanon Conn. has donated over 20 varieties and continues to add even more. Pride’s owner is Mark Sellew’78 (CALS). Most of the Hydrangeas in this collection were donated to Cornell by Jim and Mark.

You can view this magnificent collection on the Cornell University Ithaca campus and via this website. Check out the links on this page for more photos and map locations for our world-class collection of Panicle Hydrangeas.

Clusters of Panicle Hydrangea on Campus

Click on the cluster #links below to see the list of Hydrangea paniculata found in that location.