If you’ve usually turned your nose up at the thought of growing a Hydrangea, then it’s time to have a word with yourself. ‘Miss Saori’ is the most magnificent Hydrangea with mounded blooms, made up of hundreds of mini tiaras, each smudged with brilliant red lipstick! That’s some party dress! Just wait ’til I tell you about the leaves..

Boom! That phrase seems overused a bit these days, but this Hydrangea really justifies such a reaction! ‘Miss Saori’ is definitely a head turner, and it certainly turned the heads of the committee of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2014 show when it was named as Plant of the Year!

The tiered, red-edged blooms of ‘Miss Saori’

This beauty was created by a guy who has devoted his life to the Hydrangea, Mr Irie, who grows his plants on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. His deep knowledge of the genus led him to experiment with cross-pollinating different species together. The parents of ‘Miss Saori’ remains anonymous of course, but you just know they’ll be proud to see what she wore to the prom…!

Breeder Mr Irie with his ‘Miss Saori’

The flower-heads are tiered, and cluster together on the usual Hydrangea-style flower stems. What’s particularly different about ‘Miss Saori’ is the red edge to each floret. All in all, this gives a really eye-popping effect, which some describe as ‘variegated’. All this going on above foliage that glows ruby-red too, intensifying in the summer sun.

The ruby-red foliage of ‘Miss Saori’

Usually, gardeners get muddled and cut down their Hydrangea stems in the autumn, and accidentally remove the next season’s flowers in the process. However, this pruning process isn’t such a worry, as the variety gives flowers on wood produced in the same season (new wood).

This isn’t one of those untidy, burly Hydrangeas though, at 90cm in height and 90cm in width, it’s compact and well-rounded. You can grow this little Miss in a container or the border. June to September is then carnival season, with a handsome smattering on blooms on those shapely plants for months on end! Remember, the plants are 100% hardy too, coming back every year, for many years.

‘Miss Saori’ in a patio container

The colour you see in the photos isn’t far off the colour it’ll be in your garden, either. Unlike other Hydrangea macrophylla, the blooms of this variety only change colour slightly in different soils; alkaline brings pinky blooms, and acid gives a purply-pink.

From the first moment I saw this variety, I knew it has the X-factor!

I was lucky to visit Mr Irie at his nursery a couple of years back, and thank him personally for his breeding efforts! And, in case you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s actually the name of Mr Irie’s wife!

‘Miss Saori’ is extremely special, and even after 3 years in the marketplace, supply can barely meet demand. Well worth the investment, when you buy a ‘Miss Saori’, you’re guaranteed to get the neighbours talking!

Buy plants of Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’ now. Click here.

How to grow Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’:

Flowering time: June to September
: border, bedding, patio pots
Soil: well-draine, moist and rich
Light: sun or part shade
Hardy: yep! Comes back every year.
Size: 90cm (36″) x 90cm (36″)

Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe (with Concept Plants doing the same job in North America). Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’ was introduced by Plant Network, who source for Plantipp in Japan. 

  • Hydrangeas seem to be holding color than older varieties. Blues stay might turn purplish, but do not change completely to pink in the alkaline soil like they used to.

    November 1, 2017
  • Or in this case, pinkish and reddish hydrangeas do not turn so blue where the soil is more acidic . . . not that I am experienced with acidic soil.

    November 1, 2017
  • Iris

    I was very excited to plant Ms Saori hydrangea last fall anticipating its beautiful pink blooms. Alas! All it’s blooms are turning blue this summer. I wonder if its my standard liquid fertilizer or the natural soil pH. Really disappointed as the hydrangea’s label said it will hold its pink hues regardless of a soil type 🙁

    August 3, 2022

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