Hydrangea serrata Tuff Stuff™ Red
Hydrangea serrata is similar to big leaf hydrangea (H. macrophylla) except it is a smaller more compact shrub with smaller flowers and leaves. It was formerly listed and sold as Hydrangea macrophylla var. serrata. It is native to moist woodland mountain valleys in Japan. It is a deciduous shrub with a rounded habit that, in the St. Louis area, typically grows 2-4’ tall and as wide unless damaged by harsh winters or pruned smaller. It generally features toothed, ovate, dull green leaves (to 6” long) and long-blooming summer flowers. Flowers appear in flattened clusters in lacecap form, with the scattered showy sterile florets forming an outer marginal ring around the tiny fertile florets. Plants are grown in alkaline soils for pink florets or in acidic soils for blue florets. Leaves of Hydrangea serrata can be used to make a sweet tea, hence the sometimes used common name of tea of heaven for this shrub.