On Gardening: Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha mountain hydrangea offers landscape exquisite beauty


Until further notice, I vote Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha as the most beautiful hydrangea no one knows about.

I know that is an exaggeration, especially in light of the fact it is Proven Winners’ National Hydrangea of the Year.

If I showed you a blossom, you might think it’s a lacecap hydrangea. But I will bet most of the lacecap hydrangeas you’ve seen are selections of bigleaf hydrangea, known botanically as Hydrangea macrophylla. These are also often called French hydrangea, though they are not from France.

Tuff Stuff Ah-Ah is a mountain hydrangea known botanically as Hydrangea serrata. It is from the higher coastal elevations of Japan, Korea and China. This might lead you to think you really need elevation to succeed, but a trial with University of Florida has shown they are quite adaptable to even central Florida.

I am in my third growing season of Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha, and they are simply getting better and better each season. This is reblooming hydrangea and I am here to tell you that if you have tried other rebloomers and have failed, this one will not let you down. Mine are now slightly over 36 inches tall, and the spread is 42 inches-plus. My flowers are huge, measuring as large as 10 inches across, with most being around 8 inches.

In the landscape, I have been partnering them with hostas. First I created a winding river of sorts with Shadowland Etched Glass, which is a golden-chartreuse and green variegation that just screams “look at me!” when paired with the intense blue color of the hydrangea. If you have alkaline soil, you can expect your Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha blooms to be pink.

This year I added Shadowland Autumn Frost in partnership on the higher side of my slope with the hydrangeas. This one has a creamy yellow gold to almost a butter white variegation, creating a stunning contrast with the blue. I am also adding more Bloom-a-Thon Red azaleas in hopes that they may just sync up in an incredible show of color later on.

The Garden Guy now has about 35 hydrangeas in his landscape in Midland, Georgia. I have Hydrangea macrophylla varieties, H. paniculata selections and a couple of H. arborescens, but it is the Hydrangea serrata Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha that has completely blown me away with not only its beauty and elegant shape, but the size of blooms too. Every day I see pollinators visit the tiny fertile flowers. (I have failed miserably to document this with photos.)

I am growing them in the middle of a small grove of trees that provides the perfect amount of afternoon sun protection needed for hot west Georgia summers. Moist, fertile well-drained soil keeps the hydrangeas, hostas and azaleas looking their best.

There is a large area of the country that can plant the Tuff Stuff mountain hydrangeas as they are recommended for zones 5-9. You will find four selections in the series, Tiny Tuff Stuff (only 24 inches tall), Tuff Stuff, Tuff Stuff Red and Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha.

They have also added a mountain hydrangea to the Let’s Dance series this spring called Let’s Dance Can Do, which will reach 48 inches tall. So let the search commence now, and this weekend, let the planting begin.

Next Post


White label WEBSITE POSITIONING & hyperlink building services. Alternative of Regulation. These Terms and the relationship between the parties, including any declare or dispute that might come up between the parties, whether sounding in contract, tort, or in any other case, will probably be ruled by the laws of the State […]

You May Like