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
Reading various articles on photography encouraged me to make use of my cameras in my own garden. One particular afternoon’s weather and light afforded a perfect opportunity to apply some of the techniques I had been reading about.
Cool and cloudy after a good rain followed a few hot southern days and my garden’s flowers finally perked up. They were calling me outdoors, “Come, come, we’re beautiful today! Don't wait!”
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, generally turning to a pale pink in early summer which seems to make spring last just a little longer.
The blooms can last well into the summer unless they get too hot and dry. Heat we can't control, but when watering it's important to make sure not to overwater for damp roots make the plants unhappy.
The Oakleaf Hydrangea Is a Sizable Plant
In trying to get a good shot that would show the 12' x 8' size of this hydrangea 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.
Hoping to get a comparison of the plant's leaves next to the dogwood on the left, catching the sun playing in the clouds just right was a bit of a trick. This plant is truly larger than life, just like our American 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 it 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 a bit of 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. Its nice large leaves provide cool shade for man and beast alike in the heat of summer.
It likes to be left alone to grow into it's magnificence, but tolerates pruning well when needed. Having at least one oakleaf hydrangea you can let go in a back corner is a luxury everyone should enjoy.
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 mature leaves are also rather titanic compared to most. 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. If I'm really stumbling around to describe I'm likely to call it a grape-leaf hydrangea because of the shapes and colors this plant dances with throughout the seasons.
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
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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.
Can I cut back the blooms of my Oakleaf Hydrangea since they fade and tend to dry up? If I prune the blooms, will they start another blooming cycle?
I do not think they rebloom in one season, at least not in my experience. However, I do find that the blooms last a long time if the plant does not get too dry or too much sun.