Cardiandra alternifolia

Common Name: Cardiandra 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: White fertile flowers with pink sterile flowers
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy


Grow in peaty, moist but well-drained soils in part shade. Best sited in sheltered locations protected from strong winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cardiandra alternifolia, commonly called cardiandra, is a rhizomatous, deciduous subshrub that typically grows to 16-28” tall and as wide. It is native to alpine forest areas in Japan. Synonymous with and once called Hydrangea alternifolia, however hydrangeas have opposite leaves and cardiandras have alternate leaves. Inflorescence is a corymbose cyme containing white fertile flowers surrounded by a few showy pink, marginal, sterile ones. Flowers bloom July-September. Flowers resemble those of lace cap hydrangeas. Coarsely-toothed, elliptic to oblong-ovate, undivided, hydrangea-like, dark green leaves (to 4-6” long).

Genus name comes from the Greek word kardia meaning heart and andros meaning male in purported reference to the shape of the stamens.

Specific epithet from Latin is in reference to the alternate leaves of this plant.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Best in part shade areas of borders, rock gardens or woodland gardens.