Plant DetailShow Menu

Gray Hydrangea Hydrangea cinerea

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Hydrangea arborescens subsp. discolor
  • Hydrangea ashei
Description

Ashy hydrangea native deciduous shrub in the Hydrangeaceae family found in rocky forests, along riparian areas and in shaded ravines.  In North Carolina, it is found in the southwestern region making it fairly rare in the wild.  The common name ashy hydrangea comes from the abundance of gray hairs found on the undersides of the leaves. 

Plant it in full sun to partial or dappled shade in moist to occasionally dry, well-drained soils.  This small shrub will grow to a mature height 6 feet and width of 3 feet.

Once established, this shrub is tolerant of drought and some heat.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#small shrub#deciduous shrub#native shrub#NC native#hairy leaves#late spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#late summer flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#small shrub#deciduous shrub#native shrub#NC native#hairy leaves#late spring flowers#mid-summer flowers#early summer flowers#late summer flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hydrangea
    Species:
    cinerea
    Family:
    Hydrangeaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Members of the Cherokee Nation used this plant medically for liver and gynecological problems as well as to either induce (emetic) or stop vomiting (antiemetic) and nausea.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and southeastern U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AR , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , NC , OK , SC , TN , WV
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Dry capsule fruits appear in May and June are dehiscent (split open) when ripe.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Showy white clusters with two types of flowers appear on branch tips. Tiny fertile ones in the center surrounded by an outer ring of flowers with 4 white sepals in a cross pattern reaching 1/2-1 inch across. The petaled flowers serve to attract pollinators to the center fertile flowers. Flowers appear from late spring to late summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Opposite large simple green ovate to elliptic-ovate with a narrow tip. Leaves have a toothed margins, gray hairs on the undersides, and pinnate venation.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Smooth thin bark in brown to orange-red. Three bud scales overlap in a shingle pattern. Twigs are sparsely hairy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat