Bigleaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea, Mophead 'Nigra'

Hydrangea macrophylla

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: macrophylla (mak-roh-FIL-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Nigra
Additional cultivar information:(aka Mandshurica, Black Stem)
» View all varieties of Hydrangeas


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:



Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

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Propagation Methods:

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Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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Water Requirements:

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Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Louisville, Kentucky

Needham, Massachusetts

Newport, Rhode Island

Knoxville, Tennessee

Gilmer, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 10, 2011, pointgarden from Newport, RI wrote:

Forget this one, weak stems,tired looking in summer heat even in shade,I would toss it but it was a gift.If you would like the look of black stems and like lacecaps midnight dutchess is worth looking at.


On May 30, 2010, MiniPonyFarmer from Gilmer, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I too moved this plant several times trying to find the right location to please it. I finally put it under a north facing porch eave in a well mulched bed. It has taken 4 years and equally as many moves and now it is blooming for the first time. The blooms are not overly colorful, just a pale splash of pink at the edges of the mostly white clusters. It does wilt a little in the evenings where our hot East Texas sun beats down on it. But it renews its shape every morning! It is a beautiful and unusual hydrangea to own.


On Jun 21, 2008, gxiong from Knoxville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

This shrub does not like extreme heat. Even under shade this plant will wilt. It is unfortunate since this hydrangea is so beautiful; the nearly black stems contrasting with the pink flower clusters make this an unusual addition to any hydrangea lover's garden. I've tried moving this hydrangea at least four times to find the perfect spot for it to thrive. This hydrangea blooms on new wood, so I recommend it for cooler climate zones.


On Dec 2, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

According to the authors of "Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas" C.J. and D.M. Van Gelderen (2004 - Timber Press), " A huge shrub with slender purplish black branches ( a distinguishing characteristic), sometimes up to 6.5 feet. The flowerheads are untiday, pale pink or lightest blue, sepals entire. Flowering time is from August to September. This interesting plant was forgotten for many years but is again available."

AKA 'Cyanoclada', 'Kuro jaku', 'Mandshurica'. Imported from China to the US by E.H.Wilson in 1853.

Not cold hardy. Flowers form at terminal buds.