The oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is an indigenous shrub to regions in the southeastern United States. It grows in hardwood forests typically along steams and under tall trees. Oakleaf hydrangea gets is name from its oak-shaped leaves which become vibrantly colored in the fall. Plant an oakleaf hydrangea in early spring or fall and make sure it is provided excellent drainage. Oakleaf hydrangeas are very sensitive to moisture and will rot if soil does not drain well.
Choose a suitable planting site for the oakleaf hydrangea that will provide it full to partial shade. Oakleaf hydrangeas do best when provided morning sun followed by afternoon shade, according to Floridata.com.
Have a soil test performed on the soil in the planting site to determine the pH value. The results of this test will indicate if you will need to add lime to the soil to ensure success in growing an oakleaf hydrangea. Contact your local agricultural extension office to inquire about having a soil test performed.
Loosen a 3-foot square section of the soil in the planting site using a shovel or a fork. The soil should be loosened to a depth of about 14 to 16 inches. Do this about three weeks before you plant the hydrangea.
Spread out a 3-to-4-inch high layer of ground pine bark, aged cow manure or dehydrated, plant-based compost over the soil in the planting site. The use of these amendments will improve drainage and fertility. If the results of the soil test indicates the soil is acidic, measure out 1 to 2 tbsp. of finely powdered lime. Broadcast it out across the soil. Mix the amendment and lime into the soil thoroughly.
Dig a planting hole for the oakleaf hydrangea that is approximately three times the width of the container and its precise depth.
Separate the oakleaf hydrangea from its planting pot. To prevent unnecessary root disturbance, lay the pot on its side. Use a hammer, a block of wood or similar object to tap along the top of the pot in a downwards motion. Once the pot loosens, slide it from the root system.
Place the hydrangea into its planting hole. To make sure the hydrangea is not placed too deeply in the planting hole, check to see that the top of the root system is sitting at the same level in the soil as it was growing at in the planting pot.
Mix together 1/4 cup of a starter solution plant food plus root stimulator into 3 gallons of water. Water the oakleaf hydrangea with the water and starter solution mixture.