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HYDRANGEA arborescens ssp. radiata

Image of Hydrangea arborescens ssp. radiata

Pride of Place Plants, Inc.



Botanical Name

HYDRANGEA arborescens ssp. radiata

Plant Common Name

Silver-leaved Hydrangea

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Few flowering shrubs are better for woodland gardens. The resilient and beautiful silver-leaved hydrangea is a deciduous shrub native to the forests of the eastern United States. 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. This is a natural subspecies of the smooth hydrangea.

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 -- often described as lacecap -- appear at the stem tips. The fertile flowers are small, prolific and occasionally are surrounded by showy, sterile flowers (with white tepals) along the outside of the cluster. 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, it 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. Their flower clusters dry well and will offer outdoor winter interest if left uncut. Cultivar 'Samantha' produces showier, larger white flower clusters.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-8' / 1.2m - 2.4m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    North America, United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Light Green, Ivory

  • Fruit Color


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Dark Green, Yellow Green, Silver

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing