Silver-leaved hydrangea is an attractive shrub native to Appalachia. It's lacecap clusters of flowers in early summer emerge green and change to white. Its distinctive characteristic is the silvery underside of its leaves. Silver-leaved hydrangea is somewhat sensitive to drought, so it needs a site with moist soil. The plant pictured here is the cultivar 'Samantha'.
May be difficult to find in nurseries.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Mixed border
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest:
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Form
4 to 6 feet high and wide; mounded form.
It is similar to the smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens), but the silverleaf hydrangea has a more impressive flower display.
Tree & Plant Care
Prefers full sun to light shade in average to moist, well-drained soil.
If pruning is necessary it can be done right after flowering or they may be cut back in late winter.
Mulch to help maintain soil moisture.
Disease, pests and problems
No serious problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to mountainous areas of NC, SC, GA, and TN.
Found in rich woods, rocky slopes and stream banks.
Bark color and texture
Smooth, shiny gray-brown.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, opposite, green leaves; 2 to 8 inches long with toothed edges.
Lower leaf surface is densely covered with felt-like hairs, appearing bright white or silver giving the plant its common name.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Large clusters of creamy white, flat-topped flower clusters on the ends of its branches.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
The fruit is a dry capsule, not ornamentally important, but the remains of the dry flower heads that surround them do provide winter interest.
Cultivars and their differences
Samantha (Hydrangea radiata 'Samantha'): The flowers are in a snowball-type cluster, instead of a lacecap.