Zebra HydrangeaHydrangea macrophylla ‘Zebra’ (PP# 18,688)
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Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zebra’ (PP# 18,688)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Zebra Hydrangea is a rounded evergreen shrub growing about 4 feet tall and wide. It has a dense, rounded form that’s ideal for all your beds. Glossy black stems hold many large clusters of pure white flowers upright above it, and it is in bloom for at least 3 months through the summer. The broad, dome-shaped heads carry many large flowers that begin pale green and open to a pure, snowy white that lasts for weeks. Flowers may turn pinkish as they age. This reliable shrub is excellent anywhere in your garden and perfect for edging driveways and paths. Grow it in large tubs on terraces and patios.
Partial shade, for example sun only in the morning, is ideal for the Zebra Hydrangea, which will also grow well on the north side of a wall or in the shadow of trees. It grows in both acid and alkaline soils, and prefers moist, well-drained soil that is rich in organic material. Water regularly during summer, and feed In spring. Pests or diseases are rare. Prune lightly in spring, removing any dead stem-tips and a few complete branches from older plants.
One color that we never seem to tire of seeing in the garden is white. Always in fashion, always elegant and calm, white flowers glow across the garden like no other color can. They are especially beautiful later in the day, when you are home from work or relaxing around the barbeque. As the light fades most other colors disappear, but white comes to life and shines like the moon. As well, white goes with every other color, and in every style of garden, so you can’t go wrong when you choose white flowers. We are always on the lookout for interesting shrubs with white flowers, so when we saw the Zebra Hydrangea we had to offer this great plant to our customers. The large heads of flowers start out a wonderful shade of pale green, turning snow white and looking just perfect. But what sets this plant apart are the striking black stems that really make the flower color pop. That’s why ‘zebra’ was such an obvious choice to name this unique combination that you just don’t see in hydrangeas. Dramatic and beautiful, this surely is the ultimate, perfect white hydrangea.
The Zebra Hydrangea is an upright deciduous shrub, growing 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, bringing bulk and substance to your beds. Growth is rapid, with plants adding 6 inches of stem length each month during spring. The sturdy branches create a dense structure, and the strong stems hold the flowers up, so they don’t do the dreaded ‘hydrangea flop’. The leaves are a robust dark green and always look fresh and healthy. They are broad ovals, about 3½ inches long, with saw-tooth edges and a pointed tip.
Blooms form at the ends of shoots growing from older branches, and develop at first as small clusters of tiny green buds. When the blooms first open they are a wonderful soft lime green – another fashionable garden color – turning pure, pure white as they mature. The color is held for at least 4 weeks, and since flower heads develop progressively you will enjoy beautiful blooms all through June, July and August. The flower heads are carried on the end of stems that are a striking, glossy black and they stand well above the main foliage, so they really show well. Each flower head is a low dome, about 5½ inches across, and this bush blooms profusely, making many flower heads and putting on a wonderful garden display. There are about 45 large, 5-petalled blooms in every head, and each one is well over 1½ inches across. The glistening, pure-white petals have scalloped edges, adding to the richness of the display. As the blooms mature they take on pink tones, bringing warmth and variety.
The Zebra Hydrangea is a beautiful specimen shrub for your beds, and also an excellent plant for filling large areas. Plant in rows along driveways and paths, at the foot of a hedge or wall, or to make a low barrier between one part of the garden and another. It is also excellent in large tubs, and fits into all garden styles, looking magnificent in the most formal garden, and just as wonderful in a semi-wild setting.
Since this variety flowers on stems from old wood, it is best grown in zone 5 and in all warmer zones. Check out our selection of reblooming hydrangeas if you live in colder zones.
The Zebra Hydrangea grows best with some shade and morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal. It also grows well in light full shade, such as at the foot of a north-facing wall – a popular place to grow these lovely plants – or in the shadow of trees where there is blue sky overhead. The ideal soil is rich with organic material and moist but well-drained. White hydrangeas perform well in both acid and alkaline soils, so no worries there.
Hydrangeas rarely suffer from any serious pests or diseases, so they are great easy-care plants. Water regularly during dry weather, and use fertilizer for flowering shrubs in spring. You can leave the flower heads on for the winter if you wish – they have a charming look – or remove them once they are less than perfect. Prune in spring once you see new growth developing. Simply trim back to the first pair of healthy shoots, and remove any weak or tangled branches. Once your plant is a little older remove about one-third of the oldest stems each year, cutting back low down, to a side branch or bud.
The Dutch were one of the first people to trade with China and Japan, and along with the silks and porcelain they brought back plants. The first hydrangeas probably arrived with the doctor and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold, who landed in Antwerp in 1830 and left plants for the botanic gardens in Ghent. Since then the Netherlands have become a center for horticulture, and hydrangeas are produced in huge numbers in the many greenhouses across the country. Arie Klaveren runs the Van Klaveren Plant Nursery in De Kwakel, outside Amsterdam, specializing in hydrangea production. In 2003 he was growing 10,000 bushes of a classic German variety called ‘Schneeball’, when he spotted something different. One branch on one bush had a black stem. He grew a plant from that branch, and that was how the plant called ‘Zebra’ was found. He was granted a patent on it in 2008. Van Klaveren are represented in North America by Garden Concepts, who placed this plant in their Onyx™ range of hydrangeas. Our plants are grown by the Greenleaf Nursery Company, under their Garden Debut® brand.
You simply can’t go wrong with white flowers, and the striking black and white contrast of the Zebra Hydrangea makes it a superb choice. This unique plant is in high demand everywhere, and we know our stock will be gone in a flash – so order now, or be disappointed when you come back.