Hydrangea arborescens

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Common Name: Smooth Hydrangea, Wild Hydrangea

Part sun to light shade; medium moisture level; prefers rich organic soil but will tolerate rocky and clay soils; slightly acid to slightly alkaline pH.

3-6 feet height by 3-6 feet spread; blooms in June and July; greenish-white flowers; brown seed head with little urn-shaped seed capsules in fall.

Growth Rate:  Fast.  Can sucker rapidly into colonies.

Maintenance:  Occasional disease and insect problems.  Frequent problems with sunscald, chlorosis in alkaline soils, and winter dieback.  Susceptible to wind and ice damage.  Blooms on new season’s growth so can be cut back hard in late winter and can still grow rapidly to 3-5 feet in a single season.

Propagation:  Easy from cuttings or from seed

Native Region:  Statewide

Deciduous shrub with showy flowers, large bold-textured leaves and exfoliating bark on older stems.  Intolerant of drought and becomes significantly less attractive when drought-stressed. Cultivars such as ‘Annabelle’ are widely available.  The wild form of this species is fairly weedy with minimal flower effect.  Low wildlife value.

Smooth Hydrangea, Wild Hydrangea - Hydrangea arborescens
Photo Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center http://www.wildflower.org/