The development of this cultivar goes back to 1893 and is one of our earliest accessions. It differs from other paniculata cultivars in various ways. It has strong sturdy branches and can reach to 5m tall. We have shaped our plant to be more like a tree than a shrub. Flowering time is earlier, usually June. The flattened 15cm panicles are smaller with a mixture of tiny fertile flowers and the showier sterile sepals. These sepals are unusually prominently serrated. Praecox means early.
The origin is attributed to Charles S. Sargent who, working at the Arnold Arboretum, discovered this form in the wilds of Japan. He collected seeds in 1893 from which the Arnold’s current specimen is derived. The parent plant at Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts in USA is more than 100 years old and grows to about 3.5m tall to 5.5m wide.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Hydrangea Paniculata Trials at RHS Garden at Wisley in 2008 graded it as ‘very good’.