last updated 26/10/2014

Hydrangea quercifolia

Known as “Oak-leaved Hydrangeas” on account of their wonderful leaf shape, these are gorgeous plants. I have planted our burgeoning collection out in an area at our new site which will give a great opportunity to directly compare the different cultivars. Their characters are starting to emerge already and dare I say that some are quickly establishing themselves as my "favourites"...

They all produce great conical panicles of flower bracts in June, usually becoming creamy white in colour, and some maturing to pink dependant on the growing conditions. They may benefit from staking when young to prevent the weight of the flower-head demolishing the plant. These flower heads dry and remain on the plant through the winter for impressive effect. To complete a long and spectacular season, they give wonderful autumn colours too.

They prefer well drained soil and thrive in full sun. If mulching, avoid mounding it against the base of the stem as they dislike excessive wetness in winter.

HYDRANGEA anomala 'Winter Surprise'

HYDRANGEA arborescens 'Pink Pincushion'

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Alice'
The perfect choice where greater height is required, since 'Alice' is much taller growing than most cultivars. Heights of 3m or more have been reported in the States, but I'm slightly sceptical as to whether the same will be achieved in our climate. Try it and see!

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Amethyst'

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Burgundy' 
A lovely form in which the tendency of the bracts to mature to dusky pink is enhanced to the point that it almost resembles a deep burgundy flower spike at maturity.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Harmony' 
The flower heads consist mainly of large sterile bracts, thus making the panicle itself huge. Potentially a large shrub.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Pee Wee' 
This is the most compact growing form that we have available this year, so is much more suited to the smaller garden. It still has wonderful great panicles of white bracts though.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Sikes Dwarf' 
This compact growing form is a great plant. It still has wonderful great panicles of white bracts though.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Snowdrift'
Masses of white flowers.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Snowflake'
The panicles of double white sterile florets are simply huge.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Snowqueen' 
This is a fantastic form of the "Oak-leafed Hydrangea". The panicles of single white sterile florets are so big that they often need to be supported. Lovely crimson autumn colour. Prefers a sunny well drained site. We have selected this clone due to the particularly attractive foliage. Don't confuse it with the woodland growers though; it does best in a well drained sunny site.

HYDRANGEA quercifolia 'Tennessee Clone'
Introduced in 1974 by Belgian “plantspeople” Jelena and Robert de Belder from seed collected in Tennessee, the flowers are huge – potentially 25cm long by nearly as wide. Last summer i was struck by their scent too - I'd never noticed fragrance from this group previously. The abundant pale green fertile flowers turn copper red with a hint of green at maturity. More vigorous growth than many, to 2m.

HYDRANGEA seemanii 
Similar to H. petiolaris, this rare species is a little more refined. A strong growing evergreen climber which is ideal for a north wall and other "difficult" sites. The large white lace-cap flowers are freely produced in June.

HYDRANGEA villosa 'Velvet Lace'

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