PlantsHydrangeas→Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Wild hydrangea
Give a thumbs up Smooth Hydrangea
Give a thumbs up Sevenbark
Give a thumbs up Seven Barks
Give a thumbs up Hydrangea

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Moderately alkaline (7.9 – 8.4)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 3 to 6 feet
Plant Spread: 3 to 6 feet, often suckers to wider spread
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Dehiscent
Other: brown capsules in dry brown flower clusters
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on new wood
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: 5"-6"
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Erosion control
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: cold moist for 1 to 2 months hastens and unifies germination
Sow in situ
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Stolons and runners
Pollinators: Bees
Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious

shrub in bloom in native, natural landscape

Garden Tours:  LarryR, Larry RettigGarden Tours: LarryR, Larry Rettig
By Sharon on December 3, 2011

It's to Iowa we travel this week, to visit the gardens of Larry Rettig and his wife, Wilma. I've been fortunate, I met Larry's Amana Colonies garden face to face earlier this year. I wandered those garden paths for days and every day I found something new. Let's take a look at these unbelievably beautiful Iowa gardens.

(Full article51 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: Mount Cuba Center, Hockessin, DelawareDate: 2018-06-29shrub in bloom in native, natural landscape
By ILPARW
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Location: Longwood Gardens in southeast PADate: 2018-07-10foliage and flower clusters
By ILPARW
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Location: Phoenixville, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-01-31shrub in winter
By ILPARW
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Location: Mount Cuba Center, Hockessin, DelawareDate: 2018-06-29full-grown shrub in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Phoenixville, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-01-31winter flower clusters, mostly fertile florets
By ILPARW
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PADate: 2012-06-10flower clusters with lots of fertile florets in centers
By ILPARW
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Location: Phoenixville, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-06-29close-up of flower clusters with many fertile florets
By ILPARW
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Location: Mount Cuba Center, Hockessin, DelawareDate: 2018-06-29shrub in white bloom in native, natural landscape
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2018-07-03a bee on my young, newly planted shrub's flower cluster
By ILPARW
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Location: Longwood Gardens in southeast PADate: 2018-07-10full-grown specimen in woods in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2020-07-023 tiny bees or bee-like insects on fertile florets
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2020-07-17fertile florets in center are green after bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2020-10-04tiny brown capsules on flat inflorescences
By ILPARW
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Location: Stroud Land Preserve in southeast PADate: 2013-06-28shrub at headquarters
By ILPARW
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PADate: 2012-06-10a mass of shrubs along walkway
By ILPARW
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Location: Phoenixville, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-06-29full-grown shrub in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Phoenixville, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-06-29another shot of full-grown shrub in bloom
By ILPARW
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Location: Phoenixville, PennsylvaniaDate: 2017-06-29close-up of flower clusters and foliage
By ILPARW
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PADate: 2011-12-18the bare mass of shrubs in winter
By ILPARW
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Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, PADate: 2011-12-18a dry flower cluster in winter
By ILPARW
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Location: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-10-24getting some yellowish fall color
By ILPARW
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Location: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, PennsylvaniaDate: 2019-10-24some yellowish fall color
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2020-06-30my maturing specimen in bloom in part-shade
By ILPARW
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Location: Downingtown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2020-07-17fertile florets in center are green after bloom
By ILPARW
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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 21, 2017 7:51 PM

So far, I have not seen this mother species of the Smooth Hydrangea in the wild. I have seen some planted in landscapes and arboretums. This Wild Smooth Hydrangea has what is termed as a "lacecap" type of hydrangea flower cluster. Most of the flower cluster is composed of the tiny white fertile florets starting in the center of the cluster, and then there is a ring of the larger, showy infertile florets on the outside of the cluster. (What I really find in landscapes are: the old-fashioned 'Grandiflora' that is 4 to 6 feet high with rounded flower clusters about 6 to 8 inches across with all sterile florets, and the 'Annabelle' that is more compact about 3 to 4 feet high with larger, rounded, all sterile flower clusters about 12 inches across.) I prefer the more gentle beauty of the mother species which is useful to many pollinating insects as bees and butterflies, since it produces pollen, and also seed. In fact, I've seen this species just crawling with lots of happy bumblebees and small bees.

The species is native from southern New York down to northwest Florida over to eastern Oklahoma up through central Illinois to around Starved Rock State Park, in deep rich upland forests to sheltered mesic coves to floodplain forests to the banks of watercourses. It does not like dry soil or drought, so be prepared to give it some water in summer. It bears its flowers on new wood so that one can prune it down, even very low or to the ground, in early spring. It is one of those shrubs that is barely woody, almost a perennial. It does ground sucker some. Only native plant nurseries sell this straight species.

A number of new cultivars have been developed that have the "lacecap" type of flower clusters that are larger and showier than the mother species. Some more cultivars of the round "hortensia" flower cluster also have been developed along with a few pink flowered hortensia cultivars also. The hortensia (mophead) flower clusters normally have few or none of the tiny fertile florets that are loved by pollinating insects. (There is a possibility that my photos taken in Phoenixville, PA, may be the cultivar of 'White Dome' in that the flower clusters are a little more domed and less flat than most.)

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Droopy Hydrangea help by Happyharry21 Jul 28, 2021 1:30 PM 1
Incredible Hydrangea wilting and dying by tanyatobin2021 Jun 18, 2021 9:13 PM 9
2021 hydrangea blooms by Rose1656 Jul 25, 2021 6:17 PM 37
Hydrangea issues by misslys Jun 1, 2021 4:14 PM 1
Does Hydrangea Paniculata Tree Form Phantom Attract Bees? by farahsyed Mar 27, 2021 11:08 PM 2
Hydrangea Pruning by CityofRoses Nov 17, 2020 4:44 PM 2
What is this flower by the train tracks by Loveartist Oct 17, 2020 11:04 AM 7
Hydrangeas don't bloom by Kissii Nov 23, 2020 12:18 PM 2
Should a Snowball tree/bush be cut down in the fall? by smarterwoman Nov 14, 2020 9:50 AM 5
No blooms on hydrangea by FarminginPink Sep 16, 2020 2:29 AM 6

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