Plant Common Name
Blue Evergreen Hydrangea, Chinese Quinine, Fever Flower
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.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 5
USDA Hardiness Zone
8 - 15
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m
4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m
Late Spring, Early Summer
Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, China
Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns