Pride of Place Plants, Inc.
HYDRANGEA arborescens ssp. radiata 'Samantha'
Plant Common Name
Samantha Silver-leaved Hydrangea, Silver-leaved Hydrangea
This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.
Deep green leaves with silvery white undersides and large white flower clusters are highlights of sterile cultivar 'Samantha'. The resilient and beautiful silver-leaved hydrangea, a naturally occurring subspecies of the smooth hydrangea -- is a deciduous shrub native to the forests of the eastern United States. Georgian Clarence Towe happened across this plant in the woods and selected it for its atypical floral features. In the wild, it has a more rangy, open habit, but once nurtured in a garden setting it is more compact and densely in habit.
Large, oval, coarsely serrated leaves of medium to dark green cover silver-leaved hydrangea. The leaf undersides are powdery white to silver, most noticeable when breezes dance through the plants. The foliage later turns shades of lemon yellow and brown in fall. The yellow color seems to be better when fall temperatures are warmer and the seasonal cool-down is gradual. In summer, dense, rounded flower clusters -- normally described as lacecap -- appear at the stem tips. However, few of the tiny fertile flowers occur on 'Samantha'. Instead, the showy, sterile flowers (with white tepals) dominate the clusters, making the shrub look draped in wads of snow. This hydrangea is pollinated by the hydrangea sphinx moth (Darapsa versicolor) and is also a food source for the moth larvae.
Grow silver-leaved hydrangea in nearly full sun to bright, dappled shade and fertile, moist, humus-rich soil. Once established, 'Samantha' will tolerate periods of drought, especially if planted in shade, though it always looks better with regular water. This is a fast-growing shrub that flowers on the current season’s growth. If pruning is needed, cut back stems in late winter or spring.
Silver-leaved hydrangea is an outstanding woodland shrub for shaded, naturalistic landscapes. Its flower clusters dry well and will offer outdoor winter interest if left uncut.