Fragrant White Hydrangea

sunita_fleuristeJuly 3, 2007

Hi all,

Does anyone know a scented hydrangea that s white?? I saw one that was white scented and I believe the flowers were double!

If anyone knows of one like this that s hardy to zone 4/5 please let me know....I d love to have this.



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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Some of the paniculatas as well as the climber have fragrant flowers. Others are very lightly fragrant. In either case, they are not as powerful as some roses who will scent large areas of the garden or large rooms with just one bloom so, if you can, check them out first before buying... even just to make sure you can detect the scent (some people have a hard time with scents).

Smelling an old, currently blooming specimen on a sunny, warm (70s or low 80s), no-wind, early-to-mid-morning would be the ideal way to test since fragrance is sometimes developed after the plant has bloomed for a few years. Plant age, temperature, humidity, wind and disease can all affect how much fragrance there is on a plant and how much we can detect. Some humity (not rain) can make the oils last longer.

Consider these: H. Paniculata Grandiflora, H. Anomala Petiolaris. Also, I thought I smelled something when I strayed into a large H. paniculata Limelight during a car trip out of town but maybe.... I am not sure now. It is a paniculata so check it out too, just in case.

H. macrophylla varieties usually have no scent but Ayesha is commercially advertised as fragrant. I do not have it but maybe someone who does can chime in; it may be a very light scent.

Of the H. quercifolias (oakleafs), I have seen commercial claims of fragrance for Alice, Snow Queen, Pee Wee. Unfortunately, I have never tried smelling mine.... just never occured to me to check until now.

Let us know how your search goes, sunita_fleuriste.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 3:19AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

H. macrophylla varieties usually have no scent but Ayesha, while not white, is commercially advertised as fragrant. I do not have it but maybe someone who does can chime in; it may be a very light scent.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 3:33AM
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neither 'ayesha' or 'limelight' have a fragrance that i can detect. personally, i don't associate fragrance with any hydrangea. perhaps, as luis mentions, some of the lacecaps might have a slight scent from the fertile florets but doubtfull it is strong enough to grow it just for that.
never sniffed a climbing hydrangea but i would imagine any fragrance coming from it would be something like a simple, light and "sneezy" scent similar to, say, pyracantha flowers(?)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 11:10AM
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Agree with Jeff....Once in a blue moon, if you have a good nose and you catch the blooms in the very early stage,(and Venus is aligned with Mars), you may get a whiff of something that smells like a blossom. I have had this experience with Limelight. It was a fleeting moment indeed.

However visually impressive hydrangeas may be, unfortunately none of them are worth planting for scent purposes. If only it were so. Wow, wouldn't that be having your cake and eating it too??.....yg

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 5:05PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Yes and that would be a good thing, yellowgirl! Hee hee hee. If someone can increase their fragrance power to the order of roses, man!, he or she would become very wealthy.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 5:42AM
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Thanks everyone for all their suggestions...I saw this shrub when I went up north (northern Ontario). There certainly was a was planted along a pathway and and you can smell it from several feet away. I m not good at distinguishing smells but my mum said that it smelt like jasmin to her...but perhaps this may be because the individual flowers look a bit like jasmin flowers.

Here s a link to a pic I found...the flowers look just like this! I m thinking it may be this one...though it doesn t mention that there s a fragrance.

I m be going up there again later this month and I will take some pics of the plants and flowers (if it s still in flower). I ll try to get permission to take a few cuttings as well :-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Hydrangea Serrata Fujinotaki

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 8:57AM
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More likely it was a viburnum, several species of which can offer flowers that resemble a hydrangea blossom. Many viburnums are very fragant, with an aroma that can carry over quite a distance. Unfortuntely, most viburnums tend to have rather limited bloom seasons, which are probably past by now. You should stil be able to tell from the foliage, which is very matte in appearance compared to the very glossy, almost fleshy (Dirr describes it as a "cabbage leaf") texture and appearance of a hydrangea.

And while flower fragrances are very subjective, I'd have to agree with others that hydrangeas are not known for having any distinct scents and I'd be hardpressed to consider ANY hydrangea as being noted for fragrance.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 9:07AM
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hello Gardengal,

I think you may be right. I ve googled some images of virburum and they look quite similar to what I thought was the hydrangea. The leaves of most of the virburum I saw were lobed whereas this plant had ovate leaves similar to
the Endless summer hydrangea that I have..But there are some virburum with ovate leaves too.

I guess I ll know for sure if I see berries when I visit next!!(But I think you are correct...and it it did smell lovely).

Sorry...I feel a right idiot!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 12:07PM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

This is going to sound funny, but I have a fragrant Hydrangea quercifolia 'Pee Wee' in my yard!!! In the heat of the summer the flowers emit a sort of vanilla like scent!!! The aroma wafts up to my raised deck since it is on one of the corners outside of the deck area. Everyone who visits my house says they never heard of a fragrant hydrangea and this is the first mention of someone saying that their oakleaf hydrangea flowers have a fragrance besides me!!!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 8:08PM
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I am convinced my limelight has a fragrance. I smell them on the plant and in the room when I take cuttings, Proven Winners told me LimeLight definitely has no fragrance, but my experience tells me different. The plant is a very sunny location, maybe that makes a difference.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 1:07PM
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Hydrangea arborescens subsp. radiata is a white lacecap and has a fregrance, which is called "scented hydrangea" in Japan. The spieces could be double flower just like 'Starburst'.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:18AM
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auntpeach(z5 il)

I have 7 oakleafs (Snow Queen, I think, sorry can't be positive since plant tags didn't indicate) along my backyard edge and they have been particularly fragrant this summer. The fragrance is kind of a lilac-y but citrus-y at the same time. Maybe because there are so many of the flowers this year, I can smell them from at least 20 ft. downwind. Wish I could bottle all the wonderful fragrances of the July garden for those dreary January days.
Aunt Peach in Elgin, IL

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:32PM
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Had to bring this thread back today after cutting my limelight for vases. It absolutely has a fragrance. It reminds me of Phlox-David, just not as strong. But still very noticeable. My LL is in its 3rd season, but this is the first time I've noticed a scent????

Now if it would just age pink as the "info" says it should. Mine always turns brown, no pink :(

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 9:58PM
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I just returned from a visit to my daughter's home in Buffalo. She has 2 obviously oakleaf hydrangea's that were incredibly fragrant. I couldn't believe that there's a hydrangea that emits that strong of a scent. However, most catalogs don't mention fragrance in there ads for Oak Leaf Hydrangeas. I'd like to get one for my fragrant garden but am afraid that it may only certain plants.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 9:14AM
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