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Dichroa - Growing Guide
Growing Dichroa febrifuga
Commonly known as ‘Chinese Quinine’
Dichroa are rare hydrangea-like plants whose leaves, and to some extent their flowers, could readily be mistaken for a hydrangea. They grow with us as small bushes to about 4ft with a 2-3ft spread in a sheltered location with dappled shade. Although they have proved to be short lived, possibly because of their lack of hardiness, we have one plant which has flowered away for over 20 years.
The flowers appear in large flower heads of many individual flowers but they lack the sterile flowers around the edge of lacecap hydrangeas. The flowers can be blue or pink and often both in more sun as they develop. The nearest hydrangea equivalent is H. ‘Ayesha’ whose flower heads can also be pink or blue.
Dichroa make attractive small conservatory plants and flower away at a young age in their first year from cuttings. These are just as quick and easy to root as hydrangeas.
One cannot help wondering how long before the botanists will incorporate dichroa into hydrangea rather than treating it as a separate genus. In recent years other species of dichroa have been introduced to UK cultivation. Our initial view is that these are more tender even than D. febrifuga.