Hydrangea Quercifolia originated from the Southern states of the USA as opposed to the common mop-head Hydrangeas, which originally stem from Japan. This in itself makes for a completely different plant or shrub, ideally suited to all the gardens in the cooler, temperate regions. A lax, almost cascading growth habit and large, bold, deeply lobed leaves set Hydrangea Quercifolia completely apart from most of its more common relatives.
In summer the bushes are covered in conical flower heads comprised of creamy-white fertile and sterile florets. These last well into the autumn with the sterile flowers becoming pink with age. The foliage turns a rich bronze-red to purple in autumn adding to the value of this superb garden plant. The flowers last well in water if picked when fully mature and are admirable additions to the summer and autumn vase.
Plant Hydrangea Quercifolia in dappled shade in rich, loamy soils with plenty of compost. Water generously from early spring, through to summer to ensure that the flowers form and develop properly. A thick mulch of well-rotted leaf mould or pine needles around the root zone reduces the water requirements substantially.
Regular applications (every 6 weeks) of a balanced garden fertiliser (such as 3:1:5 slow release N) promotes vigorous, healthy growth and ensures top quality blooms. Dead or spent flower heads must be removed to keep the bushes looking neat and tidy. Large or overgrown plants can be pruned back hard in early spring to rejuvenate the shrubs, although this will definitely result in fewer flowers in the first season after pruning.