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Oakleaf Hydrangeas



  The Oakleaf Hydrangeas in my garden are showing off their beautiful white flowers.  This is the easiest of all the hydrangeas to grow.  The Oakleaf thrives in light shade, at least in the afternoon. Too much sun makes the leaves unattractive and can cause the plant to wilt frequently, even when it has enough moisture in the soil.  All hydrangeas should be grown in some shade in the afternoon - our summer sun is very hot.

The photos above are examples of Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’ in Kathy’s garden.                                                          Special photo

  The Oakleaf Hydrangea in its basic Hydrangea quercifolia form is excellent.  However, there are cultivars that have their characteristics that make them appropriate for your garden.  There are about 40 cultivars that have been identified, so I am going to mention just a few that I am most familiar with and will be easily found in the trade.

  Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’  will reach over 3 feet in height and almost twice as wide. Foliage is medium green changing to various shades of deep red in the fall. Flowering occurs in early summer. The grape-shaped clusters (panicles) of flowers are about 10 inches long and are upright above the foliage.  While the flowers are white, they soon turn pinkish in color.

  Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’ has white 14” flower panicles held upright above a plant that can grow 5 - 8 feet tall.  Use it in borders or under light shade where you can enjoy this plant in its large size.

  Hydrangea quercifolia ‘ Pee Wee’, only 3’ tall and just as wide will give the landscape the same multi-season interest as do the other cultivars.  It is low maintenance and requires good drainage. The white flowers held above the plant will fade to pink.

  Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Sikes Dwarf’ will be more compact and have a rounded shape and smaller leaves and flowers - great in the foundation or small garden.

  If you are not growing Oakleaf hydrangeas in your garden, you are missing a treat.

  Provide light shade to morning sun, medium soil moisture, organic matter at planting time and mulch and you are sure to have success with this plant.     Good companion plants:  Daffodils along with woodland phlox show off the winter-peeling bark of the bare stems;  Hostas and ferns will like the woodland planting, while sedge, variegated liriope and purple coneflower will thrive in the sunnier locations.



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