Hydrangea sargentiana - Velvet-leaved hydrangea

Origin and Distribution

Velvet-leaved hydrangea is native to Central China and is closely related to our well-known bigleaf hydrangea.


The slowly growing bushes can reach a height of 2.5 m in total. Their growth is upright with only little branching. Young branches are wooly hairy and thick as a finger. Older branches develop a decorative, peeling, reddish bark. That’s why velvet-leaved hydrangea still look nice during winter times. The extraordinary big and hairy leaves are egg-shaped. Numerous purple and flat cymes with white marginal flowers decorate the shrubs for a long time from July until the beginning of September. The capsules are inconspicuous.

Garden Design

Velvet-leaved hydrangea like to be safe from wind and want to have a rather shady place. Therefore, a location in the midday sun should be avoided. The shrubs can handle neutral and sour soil, but are sensitive to calcareous substrate.  In summer times velvet-leaved hydrangea will easily go limp and need to be watered quite frequently. Although they are sensitive to late frost they easily recover after frost damages. In favourable locations they even produce runners.

Velvet-leaved hydrangea look very appealing together with other white or purple blooming perennials and shrubs. On the right hand side you can see an attractive combination with silver-blue Perovskia abrotanoides and white Hydrangea arborescens.