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Oakleaf Hydrangea


   Oakleaf hydrangea, 'hydrangea quercifolia', is native to the southern Appalachian plateau. This leafy, flowering shrub has qualities that make it beautiful in every season of the year. In the early spring, tender lettuce-green, oak shaped leaves appear. Later in the spring, the flower clusters appear, which are large, creamy pyramids that can grow to a foot long. The flowers of the oakleaf hydrangea will change color over time, from light pink to rose to a nice tan color. The flowers also remain well into the winter months.

   The leaves of the oakleaf hydrangea remain in place well into winter as well. The leaves turn to deep purple and red and remain until late November and sometimes into December. When January arrives, the branches and peach covered exfoliating bark of the oakleaf hydrangea provide a good deal of winter interest that many gardens often lack.

   The oakleaf hydrangea is easy to grow and practically disease and insect free. Once established, the oakleaf hydrangea is drought tolerant. Pruning should take place immediately after flowering, as buds are set in the early fall. The oakleaf hydrangea will bloom heavily, even in the shade. 

   Growing six to eight feet both in height and width, the oakleaf hydrangea prefers part shade to full shade. Propagation can be done by division, cuttings or seed. The soil should be moist and well drained for the oakleaf hydrangea to thrive. The oakleaf hydrangea is hardy in zones five through nine, and can be used in a shrub border, as a specimen or massed for a focal point.


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