Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Discover why Hydrangea quercifolia, with its large panicles and oak-like leaves, makes a bold statement in the landscape as a foundation planting or as an informal hedge or accent shrub. First, though, watch a female bumble bee gather pollen on the fertile flowers hidden beneath each panicle’s decorative florets.

Video © 2019, Mary Free

Oakleaf hydrangea may not be indigenous to the Mid-Atlantic Region but this southern native can still be at home in local landscapes unless deer are frequent visitors. In late spring, white flowers bloom in showy pyramidal panicles and turn shades of pink as they age in summer. Each shrub’s large, oak-like leaves display a variety of brilliant colors in fall.

Print Version: Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Shrub Height: 6–8 feet Exfoliating old stems provide winter interest Bloom Color: Green to white to shades of pink Characteristics Broad, upright, suckering, deciduous shrub Large, coarse-textured, dark green, oak-like leaves Inflorescences (tiny fertile flowers covered by larger sterile florets) in pyramid-shaped panicles bloom on old wood from May to July then sporadically to September; decorative florets turn from white to shades of pink then tan with age Spectacular fall foliage: orange & gold interspersed among red & purple leaves may persist into winter Attributes No serious pests (aphids and mites may visit on occasion) or diseases (susceptible to leaf blight and powdery mildew); deer may browse canes/leaves Flowers striking in fresh and dried arrangements Attracts a variety of bees, wasps, and syrphid flies, although not in large numbers Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained Light Requirements: Partial Shade Water Requirements: Moist Prune if needed directly after flowering; cut out winter damaged stems in early spring Use as foundation plantings, as informal border/ hedge, or as an accent or specimen plant Excellent Replacement for Buddleia davidii - Butterfly Bush Hydrangea macrophylla - Mophead Hydrangea Rhodotypos scandens - Jetbead Hardiness: USDA Zones 5**–9

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets