The large, bright green leaves of Sargent’s hydrangea are covered in such dense hairs that when touched they feel almost like a Persian carpet. These special leaves and the exfoliating bark of the branches make this shrub almost ugly, but nevertheless extremely fine. Few plants stand out so much from their environment. Unfortunately, winter hardiness in Finland is poor. The shrub usually freezes down to the snow line, so seldom flowers.
However, poor winter hardiness doesn’t prevent the growing of Sargent’s hydrangea, as the old plantings at Mustila show. The occasional frost damage is no problem if the species is grown mainly for its foliage and the occasional flowering taken as an added – rare - bonus. The inflorescence is flattish and the surrounding sterile flowers are pale red-violet.