Plant of the Month - July 2022
GENERAL INFORMATION: I fell in love with oak leaf hydrangeas many years ago. They are mostly easy to grow in the Toronto area and have year round interest in the shade garden. Flowering is reliable with a long season of bloom. The strong dark burgundy reds and purples of fall colour contrast well with nearby Japanese maples.
‘Snowflake’ was discovered as a chance seedling in the Alabama woods in 1969. It is now a common garden shrub.
I bought mine 18 years ago (a day after my Granddaughter was born). It grows well in a shade garden but has really expanded in the last 4 years. Luckily the suckers are easy to pot up and bloom true.
There are many other selections of Hydrangea quercifolia, ranging from small to over 3 m in height. Leaf colour can be yellow. Others have pink florets.
Hydrangea quercifolia - developing inflorescence.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' June.
Common Name: Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea.
Alternate name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Brido’, Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Flore Pleno’.
Life Cycle: Deciduous multi-stemmed shrub.
Dimensions: 1.5 m tall, 2 m wide.
Bloom Time: July to Fall.
Flower Colour & Size: Large, first upright, then down hanging, 30 cm long panicles with multiple florets.The double petals of 2 cm sterile white florets are nestled together (hose-in-hose). They age to pink, then become brown in the fall and over winter.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' July.
Leaves: Similar to an oak leaf in shape. Large, hairy and coarse textured. Can be up to 30 cm long and wide.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' Leaves.
Stems: Exfoliating cinnamon to tan bark gives winter interest.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' Peeling bark and lines of suckers.
Fall to early Winter Colour: Magnificent burgundy red and purple leaves.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake' Mid October.
Native Range: From Georgia south to Florida and west to Mississippi.
Habitat: Open forests.
Light: Full shade to partial shade.
Soil: Fertile, well drained and slightly acidic soil.
Water: Evenly moist. It grows well in drier soils when established.
USDA Hardiness: Zone 5-9.
Pruning: Flowers on old wood. Dead head in late winter and remove any dying twigs. Prune to shape if wanted after flowering.
Companion planting: Woodland perennials, spring bulbs.
Propagation: Dividing suckers, layering, soft wood cuttings.
Seedex availability: Sterile flowers, no seed.
Problems: Very few. Deer browse.
Text and images supplied by Anna Leggatt