I've always said that my favorite hydrangea is our native Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia. Honestly, this shrub is beautiful in every season! In Spring, new leaves emerge that are thick, rich green, and shaped like an oak leaf. Soon thereafter, bloom buds begin to develop, and you can tell early on which stems will have a bloom. Bloom size varies from plant to plant, but each bloom is a panicle shaped cluster of smaller flowers, all creamy white. With the species, this panicle can be smallish when compared to some of the named cultivars, but it is very beautiful. Pollinators just love it.
|Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake'|
There are a number of named selections, of which I have only a few. The hardest one for me to find was Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake.' Large panicles of blossoms have one flower on top of another, giving it the appearance of double blooms. This plant took a little longer to establish and bloom for me, because it receives no supplemental water other than the little bit of rain we get. This year we were blessed with plenty of rain, so my Snowflake Hydrangea is sporting beautiful fluffy blossom clusters like the one in the photo.
|Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice'|
As they dry, the creamy white blooms age to a rosy shade of pink, unless your summer heat and lack of rainfall cause them to turn a crispy brown instead. Fall foliage is spectacular on all the Oakleaf Hydrangeas. With onset of cold weather, the large leaves change to a deep burgundy color, quite visible from a distance. And in winter, after the leaves fall, you'll notice the exfoliating cinnamon colored bark.
|Oakleaf Hydrangea Blooms Age to a Rose Pink|