Hydrangea quercifolia

Creamy white flowers of Hydrangea quercifolia.
  • Common name: Oak Leafed Hydrangea
  • Type: Hardy deciduous shrub
  • Flowering: Summer
  • Height and spread: 1.5 m
  • Soil: Moist but well-drained
  • Aspect: Sun or partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Care: Easy

Want to find it at Reveley?  Look in the Clay Lane Bed, for three specimens.

A native of woodlands in the north east of the United States.  Hydrangea quercifolia’s deeply lobed dark green leaves turn red and then purple in autumn.  The mass of tiny white flowers appear in summer and, as the season wears on, take on pink tinges eventually drying on the plant to a delicate papery brown.  Hydrangea quercifoliais the only species of hydrangea that bares its tiny sterile florets in a large cone shape – which can measure 6 to 12 in long (15 to 30 cm).

Named quercifolia as its deeply lobed leaves resemble the shape of the leaves from the oak tree – Quercus robur.

Unlike other species of hydrangeas, the pH of the soil does not affect the colour of the flower heads which are white.  Although varieties within the species are now being bred where the transition from white to pink flower heads has been speeded up.

Hydrangea quercifolia requires minimal pruning.  If pruning is necessary this should be carried out in early spring.  Traditionally, the spent flowerheads are left on to protect the new growth from frost.  

You can propagate Hydrangeas by softwood cuttings taken in spring and early summer.  

Hydrangea’s are perfect as a specimen shrub, in any garden border or woodland garden.

Pests can include red spider mite, capsid bug and hydrangea scale.  Hydrangea scale is a recent sap sucking pest to arrive in the UK.  It manifests as white oval shaped scales (the eggs) under the leaves.  An infestation can sap the energy of your plant – if worried please take professional advice on how to combat this pest.

Hydrangea means hydor from the Greek for water and aggeiona vessel or vase which refers to the shape of the seed heads.   Hydrangeas need a lot of water – and the plant will droop easily in hot dry weather.

Hydrangea quercifolia is the official wildflower of Alabama.