H. quercifolias are our most shade tolerant hydrangea! A rounded, multi-stemmed shrub with large, upright, conical flower panicles that open white and age to shades of rosy-purple. Multiple bracts (sepals) give the panicle a double-flowered appearance. Mostly sterile flowers. Large, deeply-lobed, oak-like, deep green leaves turn a gorgeous crimson and purple in fall. Exfoliating bark of older stems provides winter interest. Best in moist, well-drained soil, but quite adaptable to any site except excessively wet ones. Bloom occurs on old wood. Prune if needed immediately after flowering (little pruning is usually needed).
H. quercifolia exhibit better bud hardiness than other old wood bloomers. But per the Missouri Botanical Garden, H. quercifolia should be given a sheltered location and winter protection (e.g., mulch, burlap wrap) in USDA Zone 5, particularly when not fully established. Plants can lose significant numbers of flower buds or die to the ground in harsh winters (temperatures below -10 de