Name: Hydrangea quercifolia aka oak leaf hydrangea
Type of Plant: A woody shrub native to North America, hardy in Zones 5 – 9, and flowering in the early to mid-summer
Why I Love This Plant: There are so many things to love about this hydrangea, starting from the shape of the leaves and on to the long flowers. There are also many cultivars, which offer different mature sizes, an assortment of flower shapes, and the colors of the blooms as they age. In other words, there is an oakleaf Hydrangea for every garden.
I also love Hydrangea quercifolia for its brilliant fall foliage colors. Stunning!
A Word to the Wise: Don’t think of this as strictly a shade plant, although that’s where most people plant it. This shrub does just fine in full sun, and has the most fall color in those locations.
Plant these shrubs where they can grow to be the size and shape their genetic dictate…in other words, don’t try to control them with pruning. If you need to clip here or there, do so in mid-summer as the flowers fade. Like some of the other Hydrangeas, these form their flower buds for the following year in late-July and August of the previous summer.