The University of Mississippi
Landscape Services Department

Oakleaf Hydrangea


(Hydrangea quercifolia) is a coarse-textured deciduous shrub growing to 8 metres (26 ft) tall with an open crown. The plant sprouts shoots from underground stolons and often grows in colonies. Young stems are covered in a felt-like light brown bark, and the larger stems have attractive cinnamon-tan-orange bark that shreds and peels in thin flakes.

The leaves are yellowish green to dark green on top and silvery-white underneath. They have three, five or seven pointed lobes and are 4–12 in (10.2–30.5 cm) long and almost as wide. They are larger versions some oak leaves, resembling Quercus species with lobed foliage. Plants in shade have larger leaves than those grown in sun. Hydrangea quercifolia leaves turn rich shades of red, bronze and purple in autumn that persist in winter accompanying the persistent dried flower-heads.

Hydrangea quercifolia flowers are borne in erect panicles 6–12 in (15.2–30.5 cm) tall and 3–5 in (7.6–12.7 cm) wide at branch tips. Flowers age in colour from creamy white, aging to pink and by autumn and winter are a dry, papery rusty-brown.
Unlike Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), flower color does not vary with soil pH.
Oakleaf hydrangea and the popular peegee hydrangea (H. paniculata) are the only hydrangeas with cone-shaped flower clusters; all the others have their flowers in ball-shaped or flat-topped clusters, called umbels.

 

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf blight. Heavy flower panicles may droop considerably, particularly when moistened by rain.


  
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