Also known as H. arborescens ‘Green Dragon’ and ‘Emerald Lace.’
Hydrangea arborescens are mound-shaped, lacecap hydrangeas with cane-like roots (multiple stems coming out of the ground). Dark green, egg-shaped, sharply-toothed leaves turn shades of yellow in fall. Small fertile flowers are less showy than larger sterile flowers. Full sun is tolerated if consistent moisture is provided. Tolerant of poor soil conditions. Can thrive in rain gardens and is useful for erosion control. Plants may die to the ground in harsh winters, but no worries: it blooms on new wood!
For the biggest, most abundant blooms and strongest stems, plant where it gets at least six hours of sun each day. A good layer of shredded bark mulch helps minimize water loss. Cut the entire plant back by about one-third its total height each spring, just as the new growth begins to emerge on stems. This serves to build up a strong, supportive, woody base while also encouraging abundant new growth for plenty of flowers.
The flower color of smooth hydrangeas is not influenced by soil chemistry.
‘Riven Lace’ has distinctive dark green foliage that appears ragged or fringed with deep, irregular lobes. White lacecap flowers with clusters of fertile flowers surrounded by showy white sterile flowers creating a crown-like appearance, similar to the straight species.
Height: 4-5 ft.
Spread: 3-4 ft.
Bloom time: June to September
Sun: part shade
According to Rutgers University, Hydrangeas are in the category “occasionally severely damaged by deer.”
photo credit: Dawes Arboretum