How to Grow an Oakleaf Hydrangea


The oakleaf hydrangea is a large four-season shrub that is known for its white flower clusters and leaves that resemble oak leaves. It reaches heights and spreads of 5 to 9 feet. The shrub is easier to grow than other hydrangea species because it is friendly to most environmental conditions and is easy to care for. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. It can be planted alone or in a group.

Step 1

Choose a planting site that has well-draining soil and that receives both sun and shade.

Step 2

Dig a hole three times as wide and equally as deep as the growing container.

Step 3

Place the shrub into the planting hole so the rootball is at ground level. Fill the hole halfway with soil.

Step 4

Water the planting hole. After the water has absorbed, fill in the remaining soil. Plan to water the growing site every seven to 10 days. These plants do not tolerate over-watering.

Step 5

Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of compost or mulch around the shrub to a diameter of 12 to 18 inches.

Step 6

Fertilize each summer with a 10-10-10 formula. Read the label for dosage instructions.

Step 7

Prune in the summer after flowering. Cut and remove all old flower shoots with pruning shears. Cut them completely back to the new stem growth.

Step 8

Cut and remove any broken or dead branches as soon as they are identified.

Step 9

Protect the shrub in the winter if you have very severe cold weather. Cover the shrub with a sheet. Extreme cold can kill terminal buds and hinder next season's blooming.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting oakleaf hydrangea beneath older, mature trees as the growing soil will be depleted of nutrients.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost or mulch
  • 10-10-10 Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Sheet (optional)


  • Hydrangeas Hydrangeas: Planting and Transplanting Hydrangeas
  • Texas AgriLife Extension: Hydrangeas Brighten the Landscape

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Hydrangea Quercifolia Oakleaf Hydrangea
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About this Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for and Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.