Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrange, Smooth hydrangea)

Native to the northeastern region of the Unied States, Wild Hydrangeas can be found in somewhat shady, nutrient rich soils in the wild. They tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and light conditions if the proper watering requirements are met. These grow quickly and can form colonies by sending up newabove-ground plants from the root system. The flowers are numerous and work well in boquets.

Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea, Smooth hydrangea)
: Yes, some die back entirely to the ground if the winter is harsh enough.
Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Height: 1.0-1.5 meters (3-5 feet) tall
Diameter: 1.3-1.8 meters (4-6 feet) across
Growth Rate: rapid
Age: fairly short-lived
Root System: fairly shallow, capable of forming gentically identical colonies
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Subspecies: var. ‘Annabelle’ (larger, white flowers in bigger corymbs with more erect stems), ‘Grandiflora, ‘Ryan Gainey’, ‘Abetwo’, ‘Dardom’

Tolerates: rabbits, shallow/rocky/clay (heavy)/wet/dry soils, erosion, salt
Problems (major): drought
Problems (minor): Intolerant of full sun unless constant moisture is provided. Bud blight, bacterial wilt, leaf spot, and leaf mildew are all minor problems.The flower heads (corymbs) frequently wilt during intense rains.
Poisonous: Consumption may lead to gastrointestinal problems among other pains.

Soil requirements: perform best in well-drained soils with a pH of 5.5-6.5 (slightly alkaline), tolerate light (sandy) and medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils ranging from slightly alkaline to highly acidic soils
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: moderate in part-shade or full shade, high if in full sun
Sun requirement: does best in part-shade, survives in full sun with frequent watering

Leaf shape: somewhat ovate, serrated/toothed, opposite
Leaf size: 7-20 centimeters (3-8 inches) long and 7-15 centimeters (3-5 inches) across
Flower structure: rounded clusters of light-green/white flowers (corymbs) (grow up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) across for cultivar ‘Annabelle’, larger and sterile flowers tend to be on the outer edges of the corymb while smaller, fertile flowerd are present more in the center
Flowering frequency: begins in June, ends around September
Bulb/tuber: neither
Monocot/Dicot: dicot
Annual/Biennial/Perennial: perennial

Notable characteristics:
The root system can send up clones and, combined with a fast growth rate, maycreate colonies. The flowering structure (a corymb) has sterile flowers on the outer edge and smaller, fertile flowers closer to the center.

The stems or newly formed leaves are edible and are sometimes used in tea. These are sometimes used as ornamentals in gardens.

Sources used:


Newly produced flowers in a corymb in Missouri


Older flowers (petals gone) alongside the round, toothed foliage

The images provided were taken by me during June of 2014. They may be used for eductional/informational purposes only, provided that this article or online journal is appropriately cited first.


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