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PlantFiles: Silver Leaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea arborescens subsp. radiata

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: arborescens subsp. radiata

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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
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:
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By mgarr
Thumbnail #1 of Hydrangea arborescens subsp. radiata by mgarr

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #2 of Hydrangea arborescens subsp. radiata by Equilibrium

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #3 of Hydrangea arborescens subsp. radiata by Equilibrium

By mgarr
Thumbnail #4 of Hydrangea arborescens subsp. radiata by mgarr


2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive lmelling On Dec 9, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

There are also several sub-species of H. arborescens, like 'radiata', which produce more ray-flowers than other wild arborescens; and 'discolor' (which has more fertile flowers and may only have a couple showy sepals). Subspecies 'discolor' grows at lower elevations than subspecies 'radiata'. All grow in cool, moist habitats in shade.

In sub-species 'radiata', the upper surface of the leaves has hairs along the veins. The underside of the leaf is more of a silver-white, and covered with a thick fabric of white hairs that microscopically appear woven like a carpet. This sub-species is also not as comfortable in heat or during times of drought, it is also more difficult to root from cuttings.

There are several forms of ssp. radiata in cultivation, like 'Robusta', and 'Spring Grove', which are all listed in the "Hydrangea International Index." And there are other types in cultivation with showy flowers, like 'Samantha' and 'Terry Greer' with mostly sterile flowerheads, more reminescent of non-subspecies like 'Annabelle'.

Zone hardiness in all H. arborescens is 3 to 9 but subspecies radiata should be grown in zone 6 and cooler zones for best chances. Information from "Hydrangeas for American Gardens," by Michael A. Dirr (2004).

Positive OhioBreezy On Jun 4, 2004, OhioBreezy from Dundee, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is the wild form with the "flat-top" heads of flower clusters, unlike the rounded ball form. It grows wild around here and is just pretty in the landscape, doesn't take over, but it does spread by runners. I really like this in my gardens, it dies back to ground each year and spring it shoots up again here in my OH garden. (zone5-6)

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