Oakleaf Hydrangea
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If contemplating curb appeal and the enjoyment of your yard and landscaping, it is hard to find a plant that will provide more beauty and interest in each season than an oakleaf hydrangea.

The Oakleaf hydrangea is a dramatic, white-blooming shrub with four seasons of interest. It blooms best in areas where summers are somewhat hot, but it is winter hardy farther north than the macrophylla (mophead). A tremendous advantage of the Oakleaf is that it can thrive in much dryer locations than its cousins. Mopheads struggle in my sandy soil, but the Oakleaf hydrangeas thrive with very little attention.

At this time the Oakleaf can be purchased in two forms: the single blossom types and the, so called, double-blossom type. ‘Snowflake’ & ‘Harmony’ are two most common varieties with double blooms. 

The Oakleaf gets its name from the shape of its beautiful large leaves. These leaves often turn colors of brilliant red, orange, yellow and burgundy in the fall if planted in a sunny location with a little afternoon shade. The Oakleaf hydrangea can tolerate and even thrive in much sunnier areas than the mophead and lacecaps (macrophyllas).

NOTE: Unlike the mophead, the Oakleaf can grow very well in drier soil, but it cannot tolerate “wet feet.” It is important to provide excellent drainage when planting this hydrangeas. It can get root rot in a heart-beat if it stands in soggy soil even for short periods.


Native to the United States this shrub can grow to 15 feet and spread accordingly. Not only will it fill large spaces but provides huge white flowers in the summer that age to light pink and brilliant colored red, orange and burgundy leaves in the fall. Why this plant?  It is:

  • cold hardy
  • drought tolerant
  • sun indulgent
  • vibrant, large fall leaf colors
  • long blooming in spring and summer
  • great for cut flowers that dry naturally
  • insect and disease resistant
  • peeling bark creates interest in the winter

Plant in partial to full shade is best to enjoy this all-year performing shrub.