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Plant Profile: Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Hydrangea quercifolia snowflakeOakleaf hydrangea is a deciduous stoloniferous shrub native to the Southeast US where it grow in moist woodlands. It is a member of the Hydrangeaceae family that also includes mock orange and Deutzia. The branches are exfoliating and provide winter interest. The dark green, oak-like leaves are large, lobed, coarse, and handsome in spring and summer but really put on a show in the fall when they turn shades of burgundy. The flowers are produced in long pyramidal panicles four to eight inches long in early to mid summer They emerge white and slowly become shades of pink as they age. Flowers are produced on old wood so prune immediately after flowering. Although hardy in zone 5 the tops may be killed to the ground or the buds frozen resulting in poor flowering. Good cut flower.

Type: Deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers, autumn coloration, exfoliating stems

Form: Round

Growth Rate: Slow when young; moderate when mature

Bloom: Pyramidal panicles of white flowers in early to mid summer

Size: 6-8’ H x 6-8’ W

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Organically rich, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but susceptible to leaf blight, powdery mildew, aphids and spider mites.

Propagation: Seed, stem cuttings, division, removal of rooted suckers

Outstanding Selection: ‘Snowflake’ (double white flowers)