Oakleaf Hydrangeas


Oakleaf hydrangeas, botanically named Hydrangea quercifolia, deserve a spot in your garden for many reasons.


Reason #1: They offer four seasons of interest. Large, dark green, lobed leaves resembling those of an oak emerge in spring. Huge cone-shaped flowers begin creamy-white in summer and blush shades of dusty pink in fall. It’s a standout in the fall landscape when foliage turns burgundy, red, orange, gold and brown. When leaves finally drop in winter, cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark is revealed.


Reason #2: They are easy to grow. Oakleaf hydrangeas are cold hardy to Zone 5. They grow best in well-drained soil amended with organic matter and are wonderfully drought tolerant. They are adaptable to a variety of light conditions, however, best fall color and more flowers are achieved when oakleaf hydrangeas are planted where they receive morning sun and shade in the afternoon.


Oakleaf hydrangeas bloom on growth from the previous year. They rarely need pruning but if necessary, it should be done right after blooming to avoid cutting off the following year’s flowers.


Reason #3: There is a variety of oakleaf hydrangea for almost every garden. Munchkin, Pee Wee, Ruby Slippers and Sike’s Dwarf are small varieties growing 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. The mature height and width of Snow Queen and Snowflake is 8 feet. The giants of the family, Alice and Harmony, reach a height and spread of 10 feet.


Reason #4: They are beautiful in the landscape. This U.S. native is a beautiful understory shrub for a woodland garden. Their flowers brighten the landscape in summer and their fall color lights the garden on fire in autumn.

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