Another great plant for the Kansas landscape in the hydrangea family is one called Oakleaf Hydrangea. Oakleaf is known for these stunning white flowers that come out in late May and June. Then, once they past flowering, they start to turn a subtle pink shade, and then they stay on the plant for the rest of the summer. Besides the beautiful flower of Oakleaf Hydrangea, they’re also relatively easy to grow in the Kansas landscape.
They prefer morning sun, afternoon shade, even moisture, and well drained soil. It’s not the flower color that makes Oakleaf Hydrangea good for the landscape. The leaves have a beautiful fall color. It’s that prized burgundy, purplish red fall color that we like to have in our landscape – and Oakleaf Hydrangea leaves turn to this in the fall. But there is still another season of interest for the Oakleaf – the interesting bark. Once the leaves drop in the fall, you’ll see this brown cinnamon exfoliating bark that creates winter interest.
There are many different varieties of Oakleaf Hydrangeas on the market. A lot of these varieties are based on how tall they get. The traditional, older varieties may get six or more feet tall. Some of the newer varieties stay around three to four feet. So, they’ll fit in most Kansas landscapes if you’re looking for a small or large shrub.
I would consider adding one of the Oakleaf Hydrangeas to the landscape. They’re easy to grow, they require very little care, and they make a great addition all season long in the landscape.
This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.