Evergreen Hydrangea Relative

A local gardening "personality" recently did a TV spot on Dichroa febrifuga, an Asian evergreen cousin to the more familiar hydrangea. Since that TV feature, my nursery has been deluged in calls for the "evergreen hydrangea".

This is not a very common plant and my first exposure to it was at Heronswood Nursery a number of years ago where the most striking feature was the bright blue to lavender berries that appear after the flowers fade. It is becoming much more common in my area, but is worth searching out in other parts of the country where it will be hardy (zone 7 or above).

Definitely a shade lover, this will not tolerate much sun even here in the mildly sunny PNW. Flowers resemble hydrangeas to some degree, but tend to have narrower petals and appear more star-shaped. And it is truly evergreen, but the foliage has a much lighter texture than most ther broadleaved evergreen shrubs. As with macrophyllas, the flower color is influenced to some degree by soil acidity - more acidic = more intensely blue. Less acidic soils will generate flowers in a pale lavender-blue hue. A relatively compact shrub, this may be worth growing as a container specimen in colder climates, where it can be brought in for winter protection.

Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:996918}}

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