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I am hooked on Hokaido mountain hydrangea. There's a fine China aspect to the lacecap flower heads. Maybe it's the way the sterile florets are spaced further apart than on other lacecaps. Maybe that gives it a remote, unattainable quality that I moon over.
Oh, and then there was the day a green anole lizard hung out on a Hokaido flower while nearby I took cuttings for propagating more Hokaidos. Together - flower and lizard - they seemed like a porcelain figurine.
Hokaido flowers open white, then turn light pink or light blue depending on your soil's pH. Upon pollination of the fertile florets, the sterile florets flip over and turn pink. A few of our other lacecaps do the same thing (Lady in Red and Cherry Explosion). I love that! It extends the season and is a sign that some insects were feeding on the pollen.
Hokaido is a serrata and therefore more reliably cold hardy than macrophylla sisters.
white, light pink, or light blue lacecap
single specimen and accent use
large container use
grouping and massing - large swaths
flower and shrub borders
tolerant of salt spray so great for maritime climates
USDA Hardiness Zones
flowering shrub, deciduous
pink, purple, blue
Fall Leaf Color Quality
Native to USA?
Soil Moisture Requirements
moist-but-draining, no standing water
Soil pH Requirements
acid, neutral, alkaline
sun, part shade, shade
To Make It Thrive
Give Hokaido hydrangea rich soil plus consistent moisture in a soil that drains. It may require extra watering, but avoid standing water. Grow it in full shade or afternoon shade in the deep south (zones 8 and 9), not only for the foliage, but so the flowers don't get sun scald. Full sun is okay farther north. For flowering in cold climates, situate it in a warm, sheltered location. During the ups and downs of spring temps here in Zone 8a - we cover to protect flower buds.
The flower color is not as you described, it's paler. Yes, I've come to the conclusion that Hydrangeas don't like to have their flower color profiled and clinically categorized like we humans try to do to everyone and everything. Please keep in mind that flower color varies widly and wildly depending on soil pH and the amount of aluminum actually in your soil, the amount of time aluminum has been availalbe to the plant (did you add Al only last month?), the unique propensity of how each cultivar reacts to Al, and if the flower heads get a touch of sunshine as they age.
The flower color is not as you described, it seems darker to me. Same issues as when it's paler; say after me, "a-lum-i-num-a-vail-a-bil-i-ty plus time plus cultivar plus a touch of sunshine."
This is science for sure, but also a whole lot of art. Enjoy the outcome Mother Nature deals!