Garden Photos of the Oakleaf Hydrangea Plant
The Oakleaf Hydrangea Is a Sight to Behold
Blooming hydrangeas have been known to cause people to break into poetry. Discovering the oakleaf hydrangea in bloom has been known to leave them speechless for at least a few minutes. Most are full of questions about this native, old-fashioned shrub. Enjoy these bloom photos of the oakleaf from my garden and let us know in the comments below what you think of this lovely plant.
The Joy of Garden Photography
I have enjoyed reading various articles on photography here on DenGarden and they helped encourage me to make use of my cameras. One afternoon’s weather and light seemed to afford a perfect opportunity to apply some of the techniques I had been reading about. Cool and cloudy after a good rain following a few hot southern days, my garden’s flowers had finally perked up. They were calling me outdoors, “Come, come, we’re beautiful today!”
This Species is Native to the Southeastern United States
The oakleaf hydrangea is native to the United States, making it the only true American hydrangea. The flowers are stark white and generally turn to a pale pink in early summer. The blooms can last into the summer unless they get too hot and dry.
The Oakleaf Hydrangea Is a Sizable Plant
I tried to get a good shot that would show the 12' x 8' size of my hydrangea, and I think I was able to capture the feel of it in the lens. The photograph above is from the top level of my front porch. I took it in order to get a comparison of the plant's leaves next to the dogwood on the left. This plant is truly larger than life, just like America's landscape!
To me, the oak leaf’s individual flowers are very similar to the dogwood’s blooms, albeit a miniature version. Their profuse blooms literally light up the shadows they grow in.— Author
The Plant Is Hardy and Withstands Most Conditions
This hydrangea species is an old-fashioned type meaning can withstand almost any condition except wet feet. If it sits in damp soil for even a short time, it will likely die. The upside is that it can take some drought, tolerates direct sun, and does very well in deep shade. It doesn’t always lose all of its leaves in the winter, even when we have a lot of snow, and its large leaves provide cool shade in the heat of summer. It likes to be left alone to grow into it's magnificence, but tolerates pruning well when needed.
The cone shape of the oakleaf hydrangea’s bloom is like a grape cluster, and the foliage turns a rich grape color. My friends laugh when I call the plant a "grape leaf hydrangea."
Unique Characteristics of the Plant
Not only is my 8-year-old hydrangea large, but the leaves are also huge. They remind me of a giant fig leaf, but whoever named the species obviously thought of an oak leaf when they saw it. I think the fig leaf image in my mind also comes from the way the plant’s leaves are arranged on the stems.
There are now a couple of varieties of oakleaf hydrangea, but I cherish this quaint friend for it makes me think of people from years gone by who enjoyed this good-natured plant.— Author
How to Propagate the Plant
This plant is easily propagated in a couple of ways. In my opinion, this is the easiest technique:
- Brush out a clean spot of dirt under the plant.
- Set a large rock on one of the prolific lower limbs.
- Wait. In a season or two (definitely by the next year) a new plant will have taken root.
- Cut the growth from the main plant and move it to another location, or...
- Pot it, or give it to a neighbor so your neighborhood can enjoy more of them.
I sure wish I could share a cutting off mine with you!
An Oakleaf Beginning to Bloom Under a Crepe Myrtle CanopyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Videos of the Oakleaf Hydrangea
Questions & Answers
Are Oakleaf hydrangea deer proof?
No, deer do enjoy Oakleaf hydrangea. You might like to check out this useful post on protecting plants from deer damage: https://savvygardening.com/deer-proof-gardens/.
If my Oakleaf hydrangea is in the shade and not growing or blooming into the second year, what is your advice?
Though they do well in shadier sites, some sun may be your need. It may be that you need to water roots regularly about three times a week, keeping water off leaves especially during hot evenings. I imagine that if the ground around the plant were too wet, it would have died by now, as they need to be well drained.