I mentioned in my last post that Hydrangea quercifolia, a.k.a. Oak-Leaf Hydrangea, is and I find that it does well even in sunnier situations if given enough water. There are a few cultivars out there that are differently sized, have longer flower clusters and provide additional interest in the fall. More recently there are Hydrangeas with pink to reddish flowers.
I like Oak-Leaf Hydrangea (species) because it has showy white flowers in a conical shape and blooms in shade. White flowers, like variegated leaves, are especially useful in shade because it reflects light and therefore can be seen in otherwise dark areas of the garden. Hydrangea q. ‘Amethyst’ and Hydrangea q. ‘ Ruby Slippers’ have pink to dark pink flowers. The large leaf (6-8” long) is also attractive and provides good contrast for less interesting and smaller leaves in the garden.
Oak-Leaf Hydrangea is deciduous, meaning that it loses its leaves for the winter. What’s great about some of the cultivars is that they have wonderful fall color before the leaves die back.
Use Oak-Leaf Hydrangea in a woodland landscape, under trees, or against walls. I think it also looks nice with California native plants. Hydrangeas like regular water but once established they need less. In late winter prune back branches to desired size and in summer, removing old blooms will provide additional flowers into the fall.
- Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’ - a large, mounding shrub that grows 5-6’ tall and wide. It has large white flower clusters and fantastic bright red fall color.
- Hydrangea q. ‘Snowflake’ - another similarly sized shrub like ‘Alice’ that has double white flowers and crimson-purple fall color.
- Hydrangea q. ‘Pee Wee’ - a dwarf cultivar at 4’ tall and wide. Yearly prunings will keep this plant on the smaller side.
- Hydrangea q. ‘Ruby Slippers’ - I have never grown this cultivar but I’d like to. According to Monrovia, its eventual size is about 3 ½’ tall and 4-5’ wide. The flowers open white but turn pinkish red and it has mahogany-colored leaves in the fall. Sounds good to me!
Read more of Angele's gardening and landscaping tips in the Patch Archives.