oakleaf hydrangea hydrangea quercifolia
Most flowers become less attractive as they age, but oakleaf hydrangeas just get better. Flowers start out white and age to the pink you see in the photo. Eventually, they turn papery brown, clinging to the plant well into winter. Flower buds on oakleaf hydrangeas are damaged by temperatures lower than 10 degrees below zero, so it’ll need a sheltered spot in USDA zone 5 to flower reliably. Red-purple fall color and peeling bark give great three-season interest. This shrub likes cool soil, so mulch around it to keep the ground from heating up. Because it flowers on year-old wood, don’t prune until right after it blooms. The cultivar ‘Pee Wee’, at only 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, is a good choice for small gardens. Snow Queen has lots of large flowers that stay upright.
TYPE Shrub SIZE 4 to 6 ft. tall by 6 to 8 ft. wide BLOOM Midsummer, but persist into late summer LIGHT Full sun to part shade SOIL Moist, well-drained, acid PESTS None serious HARDINESS Cold: USDA zones 5 to 9 Heat: AHS zones 9 to 1