Guess what? It’s fall, y’all! That means plants with autumn interest are about to take center stage. You may have noticed hints of yellow, orange, and red creeping into the trees around you. Trees though are not the only plants that look awesome in fall. Many shrubs and perennials have a ton to offer as well. If you are looking for a shrub with great fall interest, we have just the plant for you. Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly known as the Oakleaf Hydrangea, is a perfect specimen of autumnal beauty. Oakleaf Hydrangeas get their name from the shape of their leaves which resemble oak leaves. These hydrangeas are in no way related to actual oak trees. They just coincidentally share some key aesthetic features. If you have never heard of these hydrangeas before or want to know more about them before committing one to your landscape, we have listed some of our favorite features about them below as well as tips on how to care for them.
Top Reasons to Plant Oakleaf Hydrangeas
1. Leaf shape: Some Like their namesake, Oakleaf Hydrangeas have incredible, oak-shaped leaves. Their foliage not only sets them apart from other hydrangea species, but it also sets them apart from other shrubs as well.
2. Fall color: The leaves are an unique shape, but their fall colors may be even more noteworthy. The majority of them turn a deep crimson in the fall, which makes them show stoppers to say the least.
3. Bark: Bark is not something you usually talk about with shrubs, but not when it comes to Oakleaf Hydrangeas. They have papery bark that peels away as the plant grows bigger. The bark adds a nice texture to the plant even when it is barren of leaves.
4. Dried flowers: The flowers on these hydrangeas are beautiful to begin with. They tend to be white, and some of them fade into a nice pink. Oakleaf Hydrangeas bloom all summer, but once they are done blooming, they keep a hold of their flowers. The flowers then dry up into visually stunning displays adding great fall and winter interest to these plants.
5. Great backdrop: Most Oakleaf Hydrangeas grow fairly tall, so they can provide a nice backdrop to landscapes. The leaves, flowers, and bark stand out but compliment other plants well.
A Few of Our Favorites
1. Ruby Slippers: We love this one for two reasons. One, its white flowers turn to a dark pink, and two, the leaves turn the most astounding shade of maroon in the fall.
2. Pee Wee: If you are looking for a medium-sized Oakleaf, this is the way to go. It only grows about four feet tall and wide.
3. Gatsby Pink®: The pink on these hydrangeas is why they make our list. Their flowers start out white but turn a vibrant pink after.
Oakleaf Hydrangea Care Guide
Oakleaf Hydrangeas are pretty hardy and do not take too much extra care. They are native to the United States, so they are already fairly acclimated to a lot of our local areas. Here are a few tips you should know though if you decide to plant one.
1. Sun and Shade: Oakleaf Hydrangeas are grown best with morning sun and afternoon shade. They can also take up to full shade though.
2. Trimming: Like many hydrangeas, these bloom on old wood. To help keep the plants nice and full while also not damaging the chance for them to bloom, trim them right after they finish flowering in fall or early winter.
3. Watering: Do not over-water or under-water Oakleaf Hydrangeas. They need watered every now and again but do not need to be constantly soaked. Make sure to water the base of the plant and avoid watering the leaves. This will help prevent against leaf spots on the plants.
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