From the Sperry Gardens: November 2013


Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a large shrub that grows to 6 feet tall and 7 or 8 feet wide. It must have shade, and it needs a highly organic, constantly moist planting soil.

Its fall color is outstanding. This one plant in our landscape always starts to turn red a couple of weeks earlier than all of my others, probably because it’s in a more stressful setting where it is watered less often. Note that its leaves are as large as dinner plates. And, they hold onto their color for several weeks.


But most people grow oakleaf hydrangea for its spring floral bracts. They’re large, creamy white and glorious. Some people cut them off once they have dried and use them in floral designs. Others leave them as a source of seed for wild birds. I’ve actually had one plant germinate in my yard. It’s now 5 feet tall and growing.

So if you’re complaining that you can’t find a quality flowering shrub for the shade, give this one a try. It’s a long-proven winner.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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