Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a fast growing shrub reaching 4 to 6 feet tall. The blossom clusters start out pale green then turn creamy white, then later change to rose or purplish pink by July. The large green leaves look like oak leaves. These leaves turn tan or cinnamon color in the fall. Oakleaf hydrangeas are used as specimen plants, for mass plantings and in containers. They grow well in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 9. The best time to plant oakleaf hydrangeas outside is in the fall or early spring.
Clear the planting area of weeds, grass and debris in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. This eliminates competition for soil nutrients and water.
Loosen the soil to the depth of 12 inches and 24 inches wide with a shovel. Break the soil up into smaller pieces with a garden hoe.
Spread a 3-inch layer of well-rotted compost over the soil. Work this amendment into the soil to the depth of 12 inches. This creates a good-draining soil with plenty of organic material. Rake the soil smooth and even.
Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 6 inches wider. Remove the oakleaf hydrangea from its container and place it in the hole. Fill the hole with soil and firm it around the plant.
Pour a gallon of water around the plant roots. Spread 2 inches of sawdust mulch around the hydrangea. Mulching preserves water and keeps the soil cool.