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How to Care for a Maple Leaf Hydrangea

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Maple leaf hydrangea (Viburnum acerifolium) belongs in the family Adoxaceae, as do honeysuckles. Also known as arrowwood, flowering maple and possum haw, maple leaf hydrangea is a deciduous shrub native to the U.S. and is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) planting zone 4. Hardy once established, it makes a perfect addition for gardeners desiring to attract butterflies or birds. Yellowish-white flowers bloom April through May and are followed by red to black berries. Maple leaf hydrangea makes a good screening, hedge, or border plant, as it has a dense structure, according to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Select an area in your garden situated in partial shade to full shade. Make sure it is large enough to allow the maple leaf hydrangea to obtain its full size. The plant grows best in shadier conditions, especially in warm regions and can reach 6 feet in height with the same width.

Grow the maple leaf hydrangea in soil that drain very well and is rich in organic material. Amend the soil with compost before planting. Apply a fresh application of compost on top of the planting site in early spring. Water the compost into the soil after applying.

Mulch the area around the base of the hydrangea. Mulch will retain moisture in the soil, keep the roots warm in winter and will cut down on weed growth in the area. Apply fresh mulch each year in spring.

Water the maple leaf hydrangea regularly to keep the planting site moist, but not flooded. It will grow best in soil that is slightly moist, but will not tolerate growing in soggy soil conditions. Maple leaf hydrangeas are relatively drought tolerant once established in the garden.

Prune off any stems that produced flowers that season, in late fall. Do not prune off the stems that did not produce flowers. Trim off any damaged or dead wood. Trim away suckers, if you do not want the plant to spread. Prune heavily to control the maple leaf hydrangea’s size, if it gets too big for the growing area. Prune the branches to the ground, if a heavy, long lasting freeze is expected.

Fertilize in early spring and late summer with an all-purpose 8-8-8 granular fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer around the base of the plant and water in well.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Water
  • Pruning tools
  • Fertilizer


  • Bacterial leaf spot and nematodes are the main problems that affect maple leaf hydrangeas.
  • Leaves turn yellow to reddish-purple in the autumn.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.