Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), also known as smooth hydrangea or sevenbark, grows as a mounded, multi-stemmed shrub in the range of 3 to 6 feet tall, with heads of white flowers through much of the summer, plus yellow fall foliage color. The dried seedheads last through the winter, catching the snow and ice and adding another season of interest.
I started with a pack of seed about 20 years ago, and that produced some plants with mophead-type domes of mostly sterile florets and some plants with flat, lacecap-type heads, with many small, creamy white fertile florets surrounded by a loose ring of the larger sterile florets. Both types self-sowed over the years, moving out of the sunny site I started them in and ending up in the small amount of afternoon shade my garden can provide. These seeds are from one of my favorite self-sown seedlings: a lovely lacecap type. I suspect these seeds will produce similar-looking plants, but it’s certainly possible that the flower forms might vary.
Partial shade is usually best: ideally light all-day shade or morning sun and afternoon shade. Wild hydrangea attracts bumblebees and some butterflies, so if you’re looking to add some pollinator-supporting plants in shade, this dependable, eastern US native shrub is definitely worth a try. Zones 3 to 9.
Collected in late October to early November 2023. At least 25 seeds. Unknown ecotype. Shipping to US addresses only.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.