Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly called oakleaf hydrangea, is an upright, broad-rounded, suckering, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that grows 4-6' (less frequently to 8') tall. It is native to bluffs, moist woods, ravines, and stream banks from Georgia to Florida to Louisiana. It is noted for producing pyramidal panicles of white flowers in summer on exfoliating branches clad with large, 3-7 lobed, oak-like, dark green leaves.
Hydrangea's genus comes from hydro, meaning "water," and aggeion meaning "vessel," about the cup-like capsular fruit.
Specific epithet is about the leaves that look like those of Quercus (oak).
They are quickly grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to shade. 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 required). 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, mainly 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 destroying the bloom for the coming year.
Light: Full Sun, Part Shade
Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Origin: North America