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Similar but less problematic plants:
Euonymus Euonymus spp.
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Itea virginica Itea virginica
Ceanothus americanus Ceanothus americanus
Rosa carolina Rosa carolina

Oakleaf Hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
hy-DRAN-jee-ah kwer-sih-FOH-lee-ah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Oakleaf Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub that may grow to 8 feet. It has 4- to 12-inch oakleaf-shaped leaves that are fuzzy when young. The leaves turn red or purple in the late fall. A pyramidal cluster of white blooms matures in the late spring and summer, turning purple with time. Tiny, dry seeds mature in the fall. Specific epithet is in reference to the leaves that look like those of Quercus (oak).

The Oakleaf hydrangea is easily grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It needs some sun to bloom, it thrives in moist soils and appreciates a summer mulch which helps retain soil moisture. Bloom occurs on old wood. Prune if needed immediately after flowering (little pruning is usually needed). Winter damaged stems may be pruned in early spring. Plants should be given a sheltered location and winter protection (e.g., mulch, burlap wrap) in USDA Zone 5, particularly when not fully established. Plants can lose significant numbers of flower buds or die to the ground in harsh winters (temperatures below -10 degrees F), thus respectively impairing or totally destroying the bloom for the coming year.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: This plant has some susceptibility to leaf blight and powdery mildew. Aphids and spider mites are occasional visitors.  Deer love to eat this plant.

TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN.

More information on Hydrangea.

Profile Video:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alice'
  • 'Harmony'
  • 'Little Honey'
    golden foliage
  • 'Munchkin'
    semi-dwarf
  • 'Pee Wee'
    Dwarf 3' x 3'
  • 'Ruby Slippers'
    semi-dwarf
  • 'Sikes Dwarf'
    3' x 4' smaller leaves
  • 'Snowflake'
    Double white flowers, 6-8 ft.
  • 'Snow Queen'
    Cold hardy down to zone 5, 6' x 6' flowers remain erect
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#songbirds#drought tolerant#fall flowers#specimen#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#native shrub#cut flowers#low maintenance#winter interest#mass planting#mixed borders#playground#year-round interest#hedges#dried flowers#food source#cpp#NC native#nighttime garden#children's garden#bold#woodland#edible seeds#pollinator plant#food source fall#butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alice'
  • 'Harmony'
  • 'Little Honey'
    golden foliage
  • 'Munchkin'
    semi-dwarf
  • 'Pee Wee'
    Dwarf 3' x 3'
  • 'Ruby Slippers'
    semi-dwarf
  • 'Sikes Dwarf'
    3' x 4' smaller leaves
  • 'Snowflake'
    Double white flowers, 6-8 ft.
  • 'Snow Queen'
    Cold hardy down to zone 5, 6' x 6' flowers remain erect
Tags:
#fragrant#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#songbirds#drought tolerant#fall flowers#specimen#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#native shrub#cut flowers#low maintenance#winter interest#mass planting#mixed borders#playground#year-round interest#hedges#dried flowers#food source#cpp#NC native#nighttime garden#children's garden#bold#woodland#edible seeds#pollinator plant#food source fall#butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Hydrangea
    Species:
    quercifolia
    Family:
    Hydrangeaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    GA, FL, LA
    Wildlife Value:
    Its flowers are attractive to butterflies and other insects. Songbirds eat the seeds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    The Oakleaf hydrangea is noted for producing pyramidal 4-12" erect panicles of creamy white flowers in summer. The fragrant flowers fade to pink, then tan in the fall.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The Oakleaf hydrangea is clad with dark green, large, opposite, simple, bold, leathery 3-7 lobed, oak-like leaves. The leaves are fuzzy when young and grow to 3-8 inches long. Fall colors are wine, orange, mahogany.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Papery
    Bark Description:
    Exfoliating branches with brown papery bark that reveals cinnamon-colored bark underneath especially as branches age .
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Upright stems with little branching
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Hydrangin, a cyanogenic glycoside.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Leaves