Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

DICHROA febrifuga

Image of Dichroa febrifuga

John Rickard

Family

Hydrangeaceae

Botanical Name

DICHROA febrifuga

Plant Common Name

Blue Evergreen Hydrangea, Chinese Quinine, Fever Flower

General Description

This less common member of the hydrangea family produces lovely clusters of pink or blue summer flowers followed by magnificent blue berries. As its name suggests, evergreen blue hydrangea is a fully evergreen shrub, though it has been known to get nipped back by light winter freezes. This tropical to subtropical plant hails from southern Asia, from China and India southward to Indonesia, where it naturally inhabits damp, shrubby areas and forest margins.

Its long, oval leaves are medium green and have reddish tan stems, or petioles. In late spring and early summer, the stem tips bear rounded clusters of flowers. Each small, star-like bloom has five petals and many colorful stamens. The blooms may be pink, blue or white. As with many hydrangea relatives, flower color depends on the soil pH; acid soils cause bluer flower color and alkaline soils pinker. In late summer and fall this shrub offers glorious clusters of shiny, cobalt blue berries that far exceed the flowers in beauty.

Grow blue evergreen hydrangea in partial sun or shade. It thrives in evenly moist, well-drained soil and is intolerant of drought. It responds well to pruning but should only be manicured in winter or early spring, after the berry display but before the emergence of new spring growth. In zones 8 or 9, it may die back to the ground like a perennial during particularly cold winters. It is a lovely accent shrub for lightly shaded borders or foundations and may also be planted as an informal hedge for screening.

Also known as Chinese quinine, Dichroa febrifuga has historically been valued in Chinese herbal medicine to cure malaria and rid the body of parasites, though it is known to be quite toxic. To learn more about its toxicity please refer to the following journal article: Alkaloids of Dichroa febrifuga, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1948, 70 (6), pp 2091–2093.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 15

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink, Light Blue

  • Fruit Color

    Indigo, Dark Blue

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes