Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Amazingly Beautiful Oakleaf Hydrangea

     I have so many favorite plants, but Hydrangea quercifolia or Oakleaf Hydrangea is one of my favorite favorites.  It is a beautiful four-season plant which is another way of saying, it saves time and money. 

      Native to the southeast, it is a great addition to our local gardens.  It grows six to eight feet, with some varieties topping out at twelve feet.  The large leaves emerge a light green in spring, turning deep green by summer, giving this plant a lush appearance.  The summer bloom is a cone shaped flower which can be a foot long.  The blooms are primarily white, developing a pink tinge, and then a deeper russet as their season ends.  The leaves of the Oakleaf hydrangea remain in place well into the winter.  The leaves turn shades of deep purple and red, staying on the plant until November and sometimes into December.  Come January when the leaves are finally gone, the beautiful peeling bark of the plant can be seen and along with the dried flower heads, provide  a good deal of winter interest that many gardens often lack. 

     Oakleaf hydrangeas can handle the heat, but prefer some afternoon shade.  They do not ‘faint’ in the middle of the day as their mophead cousins do.  They also do not like wet feet, so make sure there is good drainage when planting.  Pruning is rarely necessary, but if you do, make sure it is done after blooming and before the end of August.   The following year’s flower buds are set in late summer and early fall
     I am a big fan of white and a big fan of hydrangeas, so this plant is high on my ‘must have’ list.


  1. The Oakleaf varietites are definitely beautiful! I wish I had room for one or five! :o) I have three Endless Summer mopheads that are coming out next spring. They're growing in a heat island and are miserable.

  2. I love the oakleafs as well. The mopheads are absolute wimps when it comes to heat and drought, but the oakleaf just takes it all in stride. No, they are not a xeriscape plant, but they don't need extra water either. I have one that might be getting a little bit too much sun, but I have a new tree planted near it, so I am hoping it can hang on for a couple more years till the tree is large enough to provide more shade. It's too large to move right now. I was a nursery the other day and they showed me a new variety of oakleaf that is coming out next year with PINK blooms. It is gorgeous. I might just have to find a spot for one :-)

  3. Oh Toni....let me know the name of the pink oakleaf, because I can learn to love pink as much as I love white!