PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Mountain Hydrangea a.k.a. Tea of Heaven (Hydrangea serrata ‘O Amacha Nishiki’)

In general, Hydrangeas should not be eaten. Except this one. Found in mountain forests throughout Korea, Japan, and eastern China, it has leaves that are harvested, bruised, and dried like tea leaves. This process brings out a chemical called phellodulcin which tastes very sweet but is not a digestible sugar – so, no calories and safe for diabetics. It has been named Tea Of Heaven, and sipped by Buddhist monks for centuries. Specifically, it slows the aging process of skin and helps the body retain its youthful elasticity.

What else helps a person look and feel young? Gardening. So, what does this mystical, magical hydrangea look like? Our variety has really interesting variegated leaves which are light green splashed, streaked, and mottled with soft yellow and lighter green. The blooms, which begin in July and continue well into September are the lacecap type. They look like fireworks exploding with small bead-like blooms tightly grouped in the center and an outer ring of open-petaled florets. They can be blue or pink depending on the soil acidity.

‘O Amacha Nishiki’ is used to growing in dappled shade of forests, so mimic that in your garden or landscape. It gets about 3.5 feet tall and wide. Blooms come from old wood, so if you want to prune it, do so immediately after the flowers are spent. Probably around late Sept. or Oct.