June 27, 2015
Can you name a native shrub that has white flowers in the spring and has oak-like leaves? Well you’re right if you said oakleaf hydrangea. Today Southern Gardening is visiting our neighbors at the LSU AgCenter in Hammond and enjoying their oakleaf hydrangeas. In the spring the flowers are the main attraction and made up of many smaller individual flowers grouped in cone-shaped clusters that can be up to a foot in length. These plants need ample space to grow and spread; in fact this plant has the potential to reach eight feet tall if left unpruned. But even if you don’t have room for a large plant, there are several smaller selections that really show potential. Ruby Slippers is a compact form that matures to only 4 feet tall and to 5 feet wide. The flower panicles emerge white, but quickly turn pink before finally maturing to ruby red. 'Munchkin' is dwarfish growing plant, only three to four foot tall and wide, with white six inch flower clusters held above the foliage that gradually turn pink as they age. Another smaller option to consider is the selection Queen of Hearts. This is a slower growing plant that may reach 5 feet tall after 10 years. The cone-shaped flowers, which are displayed above the foliage, open white and mature to a deep pink color. As you can see, there are several size option for oakleaf hydrangeas to grow in your garden. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.