How To Grow Dombeya Seminole – The Florida Hydrangea

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The Dombeya Seminole is a gorgeous plant to grow in your garden. It thrives in tropical regions and brightens the cooler months with its glowing pink petals.

The Burgessiae Seminole, also called the Florida Hydrangea, Tropical Hydrangea, or Tropical Rose Hydrangea. Dombeya produces pink snowball-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves. It grows on a medium-sized shrub and the pink flowers attract bees.

Flowering Dombeya Seminole Pin

Dombeyas sometimes have a slight sweet smell comparable to honey or cake. Despite their soft appearance, these hardy plants can survive in soil types like sand, loam, and clay. The flowers stay on the shrub past their blooming cycle.

Below we will cover how to grow Dombeya Seminole – Florida Hydrangea in your garden.

Learn Tips On Hydrangea Care

How To Grow Dombeya Seminole – Florida Hydrangea

When growing Dombeya Seminole water it regularly until it becomes established. Keep it in a sunny region and fertilize it during the growing season.

It grows in most soil types and requires little maintenance. You can prune it to about five feet in width and trim the flowers to improve the appearance.

What Is A Dombeya Seminole?

The Dombeya Seminole resembles the hydrangeas of the North, but they originated in Florida.

As a group, the Dombeya genus is native to Tropical Africa. Researchers in Miami’s Subtropical Horticulture Research Station crossed two different Dombeya burgessiae varieties to create this plant.

In 1973, the USDA’s Miami Plant Introduction Station released the Florida Hydrangea for commercial use.

This mid-sized, mound-shaped shrub can reach eight feet in height and ten in width if in full sun. It has minimal care needs, grows fast, and has no known diseases or pests.

The Florida Hydrangea can attract bees and butterflies, and it will keep your garden beautiful during winter.

Why Isn’t My Dombeya Seminole Blossoming?

  • Too much or too little moisture
  • Too little sun exposure
  • Too cold of a climate
  • Soil too acidic or alkaline
  • Incorrect soil type
  • Improper pruning
  • Excessive fertilization

How To Care For The Florida Hydrangea

If you find that you are having trouble growing your Dombeya Seminole, you may have one of these issues:

The Florida Hydrangea is easy to care for because of its low-maintenance soil and water requirements.

You can improve its appearance and longevity by experimenting with the following:

  • Water quantity
  • Sun exposure
  • Soil acidity
  • Fertilization
  • Shaping it to an attractive size

Water Requirements

The Dombeya x Seminole has average water requirements but is considered fairly drought tolerant. Water them regularly, but do not overwater them.

After their roots have established themselves in the soil, they become relatively drought-tolerant. Yet they may need irrigation.

If your plant lacks sufficient moisture, it can wilt. Too much water can also harm it.

You can maintain satisfactory moisture levels with a 2″ – 3″ inch layer of mulch surrounding the stem’s base.

Sun Exposure And Climate

The Dombeya genus originates in sunny Africa, and researchers cultivated this species in South Florida. As a result, Dombeya Seminoles need plenty of full sun to bloom.

These Tropical Hydrangeas grow in partial to full sun, and they prefer subtropical to tropical climates. You can grow them in partial shade, keeping them shaded during peak UV exposure in the afternoon.

The Florida Hydrangea prefers temperatures above 30° degrees Fahrenheit. The plant will lose its leaves if the temperature drops below that.

Since they are most commonly grown in South Florida and Southern California, you likely will not run into this issue.

If you are growing them in a colder climate, you will need to get frost protection to help your plant.

Frost protection involves constructing a wire framework around the plant. Then, you insulate it with 10”-12” inches of shredded leaves.

Even the warmest places can become chilly at times. During an unexpected frost, you can cover your Dombeya Seminole with heavy paper, cloth, or burlap to protect the buds. Plastic can damage plant tissue, so try not to use it for winter protection.

Soil Quality

Dombeyas are not fussy about soil and can grow in hardiness zones from 9B to 12, but they prefer 10A to 11 with soil. They can withstand slightly acidic to mildly alkaline soils between pH 6.1 and 7.8.

You can experiment with the soil’s pH level by adding lime juice to make it more alkaline or sulfur for acidity. Try to avoid aluminum sulfate and instead opt for elemental sulfur or iron sulfate. Aluminum sulfate can make the soil toxic and damage your hydrangea.


While you can plant them in a container, Florida Hydrangea does best when planted in the ground.

Since Dombeyas are fast growers, you would need to prune them frequently. You can safely prune the Florida Hydrangea to about five feet in size, but it can grow to 15′ feet with enough space.

Unlike other Dombeyas, the Dombeya Seminole has an upright flower. Since the flowers stay on the plant past the growing season, you will need to prune them off to maintain the appearance of your Dombeya Seminole.

This plant does not deform with pruning, and you can shape it like a hedge, a screen, or a border. It’s decorative and compliments most gardens.


These plants appreciate the occasional fertilizer, but be sure not to overdo it. Too much nitrogen can harm the flowers, even if they improve the appearance of the cordate leaves.

Fertilize them early in the growing season, which runs from late fall to early spring. The flowers look their best in the middle of winter.

Related: Fertilizing Hydrangea Plants


If you want to propagate the plant, you can do so from hardwood, semi-hardwood, and woody stem cuttings. Many owners struggle to propagate their Dombeya Seminoles, but some have found success using air layers with a large stock plant.

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