Smooth Hydrangea



Botanical Name:  Hydrangea arborescens

Common Name:  Smooth Hydrangea, Wild Hydrangea, Sevenbark

Description:  This is a beautiful Florida native hydrangea that isn’t used as often in our gardens as it should be. It’s a small, mound-shaped, densely multi-stemmed shrub,  that quickly grows 3-6′ tall and often broader than high at maturity. The flat-topped clusters of delicate, greenish-white flowers are the deciduous shrub’s main landscape feature. Some flowers are so heavy as to weigh the stem to the ground. The flowers are very delicate looking and can be either lacecap or mophead shaped. They bloom May through August. They do not change color according to the soil pH. Native bees and other pollinators are attracted to the blooms. The naturally peeling bark is attractive. Gray-brown stems are clad with opposite, broad egg-shaped to rounded, sharply toothed, dark green leaves (2-6” long) with pale green undersides. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Flowers give way to dehiscent seed capsules which ripen in October-November. This isn’t drought tolerant, so it will need supplemental watering during times of drought. It grows naturally as an understory shrub, so plant it in the part sun to part shade areas of your garden. Is a good choice for your rain garden. Good cut or dried flower.

Its native habitat is woods, rocky slopes, and stream banks in rich, well-drained, moist, acidic soils. It get chlorosis in alkaline soils.

The plants favor moist streambanks, rich woods and calcareous ledges.

Is a host plant for the Hydrangea sphinx.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 1-2′ tall.

This plant in 7-gallon containers is 2-4′ tall.

Plant Lore: A very cool tidbit about this plant is the flowers can be either lacecap or mophead style. There’s no way to tell how they will look until they bloom. Both types can occur on the same plant. The genus name Hydrangea comes from hydor meaning “water” and aggeion meaning “vessel”, in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit. Specific epithet comes from arbor meaning “tree” in reference to the similarity of this shrub to a small tree.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9




Additional information

Container Size

3-gallon, 7-gallon


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