Oakleaf hydrangeas are one of our most beautiful native flowering shrubs. They are idea for Georgia residential landscapes as they are tough, shade tolerant plants which are naturally found growing in the forest understory. Oakleaf hydrangea provides multi season interest with large, uniquely shaped foliage in summer which will change to stunning shades of maroon, purple and red in fall. The slightly contorted branches feature exfoliating bark for winter interest and the large, panicle flowers in mid summer are show stopping.
The summer flowers start out white, then go though a rose red color change and eventually turn an attractive papery tan in fall. Blooms may be left on the shrub or used in dried flower arrangements. If you leave the blooms in the plant, be sure to prune them off in early spring.
The native species form of oakleaf hydrangea can grow to 12′ so this beauty isn’t always suitable for small space gardens, but recent breeding programs have resulted in smaller and dwarf cultivars which gives them a lot of versatility space wise. Some of the dwarf varieties may even be planted in large containers.
Oakleaf Hydrangea for Large Space Landscapes and Borders
‘Queen of Hearts’ 6-7′. Large, showy blooms up to 10″ open snowy white and change to a lovely pink as they age. ‘Queen of Hearts’ has a dense form and is a lovely addition to the back of a border or as a specimen plant.
‘Snow Queen’ 6-10′. The cone shaped blooms will really pop in your garden and the large, distinct foliage has a classic oak leaf shape adds texture to a landscape design. Foliage will change deep reds, purples and bronze in autumn.
Dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea for Small Space Gardens and Containers
‘Ruby Slippers’ – This dwarf oakleaf does well in our southern climate. Not all of the smaller varieties have done well during winter, but ‘Ruby Slippers’ is a star. The plant is aptly named due to the extra deep pink tones of the blooms.
‘Munchkin’ – 3-5′. Semi dwarf. ‘Munchkin’ has proven itself to be a vigorous grower in Georgia. This shrub is nice and compact with dense foliage and is a prolific bloomer. At the semi dwarf size, ‘Munchkin’ may be used in a front yard or as an accent in a perennial bed.
Oakleaf hydrangea buds. Even the flower buds are dramatic and showy!