Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Oakleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia

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Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: quercifolia (kwer-se-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

» View all varieties of Hydrangeas

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

63 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Height:
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Spacing:
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Deciduous
Bronze-Green

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 69 photos.
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Profile:

27 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive lejardin24 On Mar 25, 2013, lejardin24 from Hermitage, PA wrote:

Strong, disease resistant, understory ornamental used at woodland's edge in Zone 5a. Majestic and elegant in appearance. Although deer prefer nearby azaleas and mountain laurel, they will nibble the young oakleaf hydrangea when hungry.

Neutral bradleau On May 20, 2011, bradleau from Nashville, TN wrote:

This is the second year I have had this plant. Last year it did not bloom, but this year it is blooming nicely. But a problem of several pencil eraser size brown spots are on several of the leaves. Last year and more so this year. I have seen several of these plants in other gardens and even at commercial establishments. Some have the brown spots...the leaves do not die off. Some next to it will be without the damaged spots. Is there anything to treat the spotting .....Thanks. They seem to do well and are pleasant to view here in Nashville,TN This plant was a bare root plant from a nursery.

Positive bloomingburg On Apr 30, 2011, bloomingburg from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I traded for this hydrangea small plant 2 yrs ago from someone in North FL and this yr it is 3 ft. tall with beautiful green leaves and 2 "balls" of white beautiful flowers. Surprise is that I have never seen it in Fort Lauderdale; lots of water and mostly shade. I live on the intracoastal salt water which does not seem to affect it adversely.

Positive GaPeach1 On Apr 3, 2011, GaPeach1 from Kennesaw, GA wrote:

I don't consider myself a gardener. I live outside of Atlanta - which I believe is Zone 7. I planted a Oak leaf Hydrangea next to the walkway to my home in 1997. It outgrew it's location and in 2006 - I had it moved. A weeping willow had died and was removed. So I got the people who take care of my lawn move it to that location. This location must have some great organic magic because it has grown to gigantic proportions - it's probably 7-8 ft tall and at least that wide. The last four years it has been covered with blooms.

I find the plant so incredibly easy to dry. When the flowers have started to dry I cut them - remove the leaves and put them in a vase with about 1-2 inches of water and a cap full of bleach. I have some I dried three years ago.

This plant is very tolerant of drought and neglect. I have never feed it - nor do I water it.

I don't have much of a green thumb - but apparently this plant is just trying to make me happy. Tomorrow I am going to dig up all the little volunteers and put in pots so they can grow some before I put in the ground. I've never done that so I hope it works.

I wish I could post a picture here - but I did post one to this site.

Positive rkwright85 On Aug 7, 2010, rkwright85 from Horton, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've grown several of these in southern Michigan (zone 5) and they've done fine. They can lose flower buds and there might be some twig dieback if they aren't protected from the wind (so I've heard anyways) but I've never had that happen.

Positive PammiePi On Jun 16, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

Bought a Native Oakleaf Hydrangea from a local nursery which sells native plants, and planted this beauty off my driveway, in a shady location on the edge of the woods. This plant required minimal care and after it was established it started to bloom. Giant, beatiful oak-shaped leaves add texture to an area of my yard which was otherwise bland. In fall, the leaves change color. The plant is tall & stately, & has pretty bark. Blooms every spring with white, single flowers, which later fade to pink, then finally brown. The blooms last a long time. I don't take any special care of it, it just does well with Mother Nature as the gardener. Planted in sandy soil with leaf litter, and in a somewhat dry, shady location, and it does just wonderfully. Seems very forgiving.

Positive MUDCATSLIM On May 23, 2010, MUDCATSLIM from Chesapeake, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Oak leafs are native to the southeast. Found around Macon Ga. etc. I guess the Piedmont area? Anyway whatdya think good ole Ga. has for soil? Clay clay and more clay. Does it need to be amended? Yep. But found in the wilds the clay has had umpteen years to build up to a nice loam. So amend the devil out of your clay, raise it a bit and go for it. You really are not committing a planticied like most folks think. I kill plenty of plants and grow even more. It is called learning what works for you. If one dies buy another and replant. I say it is worth it to keep trying until you finally get one to take. Finally the oak leaves are an in plant. What ever that means.

Positive GreeneLady On Mar 3, 2009, GreeneLady from Oak Island, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

My next door neighbor planted one of these next to the privacy fence 6 years ago. Last summer I noticed baby shoots coming up in my yard the by the fence. It was spreading to our side! They bloomed the first year I noticed the new shoots, and they grew to 3 feet tall the first year. The original hydrangea in my neighbor's yard is taller than the 6 foot privacy fence and nearly that wide. We have a sandy clay soil. The plant gets morning sunlight and then has shade from about 2pm to dark. I love the fact that this plant is native (we are in zone 8) to our area, and the pink/purple leaves are gorgeous! I can't wait for it to fill out.

Positive tufe On Aug 21, 2008, tufe from Newtonville, MA wrote:

This is my favorite hydrangea. It's by far the best looking and so trouble-free. One prob--I live in Newton, MA and it can be kind of a wind tunnel. Oakleaf hydrangeas do seem to get a bit annoyed by blasting winter winds. I have all of mine in protected areas now.

Neutral DonnaMack On Aug 19, 2008, DonnaMack from Elgin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

It grows and blooms beautifully in zone 5a even in full sun (the southeast side of my yard) IF you keep it watered. I also wrap my quite large ones in burlap and use string to keep it in place. If I do, the flowers are amazing. It also flowers more heavily over time.

Donna

Positive 3D On Aug 18, 2008, 3D from Manchester, NH wrote:

I planted my oakleaf three years ago in my Manchester, NH yard. The first year I didn't think it would make it. The second year it grew a bit more, but was nothing to brag about. This year, it took off! It's now about 3.5-feet-tall and has foot-long (no exagerration) blooms that right now (mid August) are multi-hued: white, pale green, rust. Absolutely stunning! I suggest that you be patient if your oakleaf doesn't bloom the first few years.

Positive joylily514 On Aug 7, 2008, joylily514 from Staunton, VA wrote:

On the contrary to someone saying that this plant will not grow in heavy clay, I grew it almost too successfully in Richardson, TX, where the soil is "gumbo", black heavy clay that shrinks when dry to the point that there are cracks in the ground that will eat your foot and swells and becomes like glue when it 's wet. My hydrangeas grew and bloomed like crazy reaching 8-10 feet and had to be pruned back every year. In the kind of heat there, they had to be in a lot of shade, otherwise they burned and did very poorly.

I now live in Virginia, and have Oakleaf Hydrangeas again. They do well here. One is in sun most of the day and, surprisingly, it is fine. The first year it burned a little, but is growing and blooming beautifully now. We have red clay soil here, but not as much as Georgia. I have to say that the clay here is so much easier to deal with that the gumbo in TX. Add a little organic matter and it grows almost anything. Also, I plant as many natives as possible.

Positive akcrafter On Jun 4, 2007, akcrafter from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I have an oak leaf on a slope under neath a large dogwood. The soil is dry, sandy and a bit acidic. I cut the six foot plant back last fall, but only lightly and now think it needs heavier pruning to keep its size appropriate to the bed it is in. It is surrounded by rhododenrons, hosta, astilbe, ferns, vinca, anemone, heuchera and columbine and they seem to get along well. It gets dappled sun, Its a new plant for me, but seems trouble-free. I appreciate the comments of others as to its growth potential.

Positive JonthanJ On Dec 14, 2006, JonthanJ from Logansport, IN wrote:

About ten years ago, my church planted a row of these in what has become perhaps more shade than they like. The sandy hill top in Logansport, IN, has proved to be a functional site. The shrubs bloom nicely, but we have let them get a little leggy. Over the summer, we started to limb up the trees that shade the garden to get a little more light and air back.
Update for 2008
Opening things up did help. The survival of even Magnolia grandiflora in town does suggest that between the Wabash River Valley microclimate and global warming Logansport itself should be understood as Zone 6 despite the regional designation as the colder part of Zone 5. My own efforts to grow H. quercifolia at my wilder home in the colder country have been stymied by hungry rabbits, but I got another one last month.

Positive Sherlock221 On Oct 9, 2006, Sherlock221 from Lancaster, KY wrote:

This is a stunning plant and a great addition to any landscape! It's very showy. It doesn't require a lot of care and is a prolific bloomer. The huge white bloom clusters turn pink in late summer and fall -- and they are still attractive even after they turn golden brown in winter. The large oak-like leaves are beautiful as well and turn a gorgeous scarlet in fall, later darkening to a deep plum. It grows quickly and doesn't require pruning unless it gets too large for the space it's in. NOTE: If you need to prune, do so before August!!! If you prune after August, you will have no blooms the following year. This plant sets its buds for the following year in August, September or October. This particular type of hydrangea can tolerate dry areas better than others. Mine is planted under a large bay window (the bay is quite far off the ground). It doesn't get as much rain as plants out in the open, but continues to thrive. I do water it during dry periods to make sure. Like many plants, it doesn't like clay or compacted soil. I'm fortunate to have wonderful soil here -- but if you have clay, be sure to dig a very large hole and amend the soil well with organic material to lighten it and help it drain. Leave a lot of room for this bush, as it can get quite large. Interesting, I just read that this is one of the only hydrangeas that are native to the United States.

Positive zinvendel On Aug 25, 2006, zinvendel from Fremont, CA wrote:

I have a Pee Wee variety of an Oakleaf Hyd. Says full sun-deep shade. I keep all of my Hyd. in big pots in afternoon shade.They are 4 years now, I think. I only have this one Oakleaf. I just recently moved it in it's pot to an area with more sun in the afternoon to see if more flowers will bloom as it seems to be a slow bloomer, but it had more this year than ever before. It is now in it's brown stage and the leaves are barely changing over to reddish. I am in the San Fran Bay area, zone 9. It isn't my favorite, as the mopheads are, but it is different. It is at 4' as the tag says it grows and it needs lots of water, being in the pot etc., it gets limp if not kept moist, even in the shade as it was being kept in. I do like it tho. I have about 11 varieties of Hyd.

Positive kb4859 On Jul 2, 2006, kb4859 from Danbury, CT wrote:

This plant is gorgeous! It has something for all seasons. It does take about 3 years before plant it produces a bloom. I live in Connecticut, and the plant gets morning shade and partial shade in the afternoon. This bloom is hugh, ice cream shaped and about 1/2 foot long. The Oakleaf Hydranges stands out.

Positive terimac On May 9, 2006, terimac from Pensacola, FL wrote:

I moved to Pensacola this summer from Miami, and was unfamiliar with plants that donot grow in the tripics. There was a clump of scrub oaks in the front yard that I was going to cut down, but recently I noticed this white flowering plant growing in the middle. I was reading a gardening book and realized it was an oakleaf Hydrangea. I cut back the oaks and vines and now have a 7 by 5 feet bed of oakleaf hydrangeas. It is absolutely beautiful. It has had hardly any water and no fertilizer and looks beautiful. I can't wait to see what happens with a little tlc.

Positive BamaBelle On Apr 29, 2006, BamaBelle from Headland, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is gorgeous! It has something for all seasons....which down here in the South is rare. It blooms in the warm weather, in the Fall the foliage turns orange and red, in the winter the leaves go scarlet and dark purple/almost black. Mine were here when I bought the house and were medium sized...but with regular watering and a little TLC, they have doubled in size in just 2 months.

Positive LC711 On Jul 7, 2005, LC711 from Des Plaines, IL wrote:

Unless I missed something, no one mentioned the vanilla scent.. it's beautiful and lasts about a month.

Positive gardenermaid On May 14, 2005, gardenermaid from Bellaire, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I noticed this plant only being grown through zone 6a but I live in 5a and it grows well for me, here. It is on the north side of the house and only gets early morning sun. I sure enjoy each season of them except winter, when were not here anyway.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Mar 25, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I planted a small seedling of Oak Leaf Hydrangea about 3 years ago as a gift from a friend when I bought my house. The plant continues to survive, but has only grown about 2 ft high and has not bloomed. I may have placed it in too much shade (receives mostly morning sun at the base of an oak tree). It grew more last year than the previous two years, so I have hope that it will someday reach heights similar to what is reported here. I do greatly enjoy the blossoms and the dried flowers are wonderful and long-lasting for arrangements.

April 2006 update -- the plant made a great deal more growth this past year and finally bloomed for me this month. My recommendation for this plant would be to practice patience - put it in a favorable spot and leave it until it develops a good root system. It will then grow larger and flower over time.

December 2007 update -- I don't know if my original Oak Leaf Hydrangea made it through the drought we had here this summer. I got another small Oak Leaf Hydrangea a few months ago that I planted in more sun in an area that I drag the hose to more frequently. The new hydrangea is showing signs of vigorous growth already.

I recently discovered in my part-time job of tending a new garden at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens that Oak Leaf Hydrangeas will not survive standing in water for even a few days. We had a very heavy deluge that lasted a couple of days just after the hydrangeas were planted. Several of the freshly planted hydrangeas didn't survive. The differences of the reports above about Oak Leaf Hydrangea not growing in heavy clay in one area whereas it does in another, may have to do with the amount of water the hydrangea gets. "Less is more," would definitely be the recommendation for water applications to Oak Leaf Hydrangea in heavy clay or other soils that won't drain quickly.

Jeremy

Positive nevadagdn On Mar 24, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

Contrary to lupinelovr's experience, and entirely ignorant of it, I planted a pathetic, abused $3.98 gallon oakleaf hydrangea in heavy clay soil and fairly dim shade in my garden. 3 years later, it's a splendid shrub, about 4-5' high, covered with white panicles of flowers in late summer, and decorated with burgundy leaves later in fall.

Positive TREEHUGR On Mar 6, 2005, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Some cultivars have double or single blossoms. Search for photos. Suckering habit. Good Florida fall color choice. And is one of only 2 native hydrangeas (US). I think it is probably more cold hardy than indicated above, having seen reports of it growing in lower zones at another web site.

Positive MsMaati On Nov 14, 2004, MsMaati from Newburgh, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I planted a very small Oakleaf Hyd. back in 1974. My soil is very hard clay. We have not done anything to it over the years except trim it back in the fall each year. It is now 20ft or more tall each year depending on how much we cut it back. I like mainly because the flowers are beautiful both in the spring and in the fall. The transition from white to brown over the late summer make it a nice plant all summer. My only regret is that I planted it in the back yard and no one else can enjoy it. I posted a fall picture of it here.

Positive grandie On Apr 30, 2004, grandie from Grove, OK wrote:

Here in Grove, Oklahoma, oak leaf hydrangeas thrive in the shade, on a northeastern slope, under tall oaks. A sprinkler system waters weekly July through September, otherwise they receive no care, but are very vigorous.

Positive suncatcheracres On Jul 26, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

The largest oak leaf hydrangea I've even seen grew in my parent's backyard in Southcentral Georgia, on a sand hill under huge, old, live oak trees. Every spring this thing would emerge and grow at least 15 feet tall and as wide. At first my Father tried to keep it pruned, but as both the plant and my Father grew older, eventually the huge thing had that flower bed all to itself every year, as nothing else could compete with it. In full flower it was an absolutely splendid sight.

Positive ButterflyGardnr On Jul 25, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

My oakleaf hydrangeas are very happy on the north side of my house where they get early morning sun and afternoon shade. The soil is quite rich in the gardens they are in. The first plant I purchased is now as tall as the house (about 8-9 feet tall). It was purchased in a one-gallon pot and was about 2 ft. tall three years ago. It has bloomed for me every year, and each year the blooms are more prolific. As the blooms mature, they turn a deep pink color, then turn brown and dry out. In the fall, you get color from the large, oak-leaf shaped leaves. Mine turn bronze. In Zone 9b, they will drop some or most of their leaves in the winter but quickly resprout new ones in the spring.

Negative lupinelover On Jan 16, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Oakleaf hydrangea does not tolerate heavy clay soil.

Positive Terry On Mar 7, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Oakleaf Hydrangea is native to the southeastern United States and was found near Macon, Georgia and described by William Bartram in 1773.

Handsome deciduous shrub has large, coarse leaves that resemble those of an oak tree. They are about 8" long and turn from red to bronze to purple in the fall. Pyramidal clusters of white 4"-12" "mophead" type blossoms appear in late spring.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Ashville, Alabama
Atmore, Alabama
Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Dothan, Alabama
Fairhope, Alabama
Georgiana, Alabama
Headland, Alabama
Mentone, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Monroeville, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama
Pelham, Alabama
Juneau, Alaska
Mena, Arkansas
Peel, Arkansas
Frazier Park, California
Fremont, California
Mckinleyville, California
Merced, California
Occidental, California
Palo Cedro, California
Perris, California
Redding, California
Rocklin, California
San Francisco, California
Danbury, Connecticut
Oxford, Connecticut
Windsor, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida
Crestview, Florida
Floral City, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Inverness, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake City, Florida
O Brien, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Orange Park, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Pensacola, Florida
Port Orange, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Athens, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia (2 reports)
Cornelia, Georgia
Dallas, Georgia
Harlem, Georgia
Jonesboro, Georgia
Norcross, Georgia
Patterson, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Waynesboro, Georgia
Ashton, Illinois
Du Quoin, Illinois
Grayslake, Illinois
Hampton, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Lake In The Hills, Illinois
River Forest, Illinois
Woodridge, Illinois
Logansport, Indiana
Mishawaka, Indiana
Newburgh, Indiana
Rossville, Indiana
Bloomfield, Iowa
Wichita, Kansas
Clermont, Kentucky
Fort Thomas, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lancaster, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Owensboro, Kentucky
Versailles, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
West Monroe, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Brookeville, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland
Centerville, Massachusetts
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Needham, Massachusetts
Newtonville, Massachusetts
Bellaire, Michigan
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Horton, Michigan
Marquette, Michigan
Plymouth, Michigan
Southfield, Michigan
Trout Creek, Michigan
Mathiston, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Camdenton, Missouri
Marshall, Missouri
Sparks, Nevada
Manchester, New Hampshire
Brookside, New Jersey
Collingswood, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
East Hampton, New York
Ithaca, New York
Lake Grove, New York
Montauk, New York
Bessemer City, North Carolina
Burgaw, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Elkin, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Greenville, North Carolina
Jamestown, North Carolina
New Bern, North Carolina
Raeford, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Akron, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Mansfield, Ohio
Mogadore, Ohio
Zanesville, Ohio
Grove, Oklahoma
Ashland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Tillamook, Oregon
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Hermitage, Pennsylvania
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Mountain Top, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Lincoln, Rhode Island
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Goose Creek, South Carolina
Greer, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
College Grove, Tennessee
Germantown, Tennessee
Hixson, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Pikeville, Tennessee
Pocahontas, Tennessee
Athens, Texas
Atlanta, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (4 reports)
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Nacogdoches, Texas
New Waverly, Texas
Onalaska, Texas
Richardson, Texas
Terrell, Texas
Willis, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Boston, Virginia
Chesapeake, Virginia
Disputanta, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Manassas, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia (2 reports)
Roanoke, Virginia
Staunton, Virginia
Ahtanum, Washington
Tacoma, Washington
Great Cacapon, West Virginia



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