Big - Bold - Beautiful!
If big blooms are your bag, 'Alice' oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) is the plant for you! Selected in Georgia by hydrangea expert Dr. Mike Dirr, this award-winning variety boasts a dense, mounded habit that's refined despite its large size. Large arching panicles of white flowers appear in summer, emitting a sweet fragrance and attracting pollinators.
What makes 'Alice' different from other oakleaf hydrangeas?
- Very large blooms and very large plant
- Mounded habit, less sprawling
Name: Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice'
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-9
Height + width: 6-10'
Light: Full to part sun
Soil: Any well-drained soil will do. Some drought tolerance on established plants.
Pruning: Blooms on old wood; oakleaf hydrangeas can be selectively pruned as needed to accentuate their branching or habit.
Water: Average water needs. Does not tolerate wet conditions.
Fertilizer: Fertilize once in early spring with a rose fertilizer if desired.
Bloom time: mid-summer
Bloom color: white, occasionally taking on flushes of pink as the flowers age
Every landscape or garden needs an oakleaf hydrangea! These beautiful North American natives have so much to recommend them: bold foliage, big, fragrant summer blooms, the best fall color of any hydrangea, and in winter, dramatic peeling bark. Though they do need some time to get established in the garden before they begin to come into their own, they more than merit the patience they require. They are super reliable, long-lived, and as good for wildlife as they are for the human soul.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are native to a wide swath of the Southeastern United States and are found abundantly from North Carolina south to Florida, and east into Louisiana. They are hardy to USDA zone 5, and as their steamy Southern range would suggest, very heat tolerant.
In the wild, oakleaf hydrangeas reach some pretty generous proportions: up to 10'+ tall and wide under ideal growing conditions. Fortunately, the cultivated varieties that we have selected offer a broad range of more landscape-friendly sizes and habits, so with a bit of browsing, you'll find one that works for your space and taste.
As with all hydrangeas, we do recommend some sun each day for oakleaf types. However, they are more shade tolerant than other kinds in that they still bloom pretty well in deep shade conditions. They also don't have the stem strength issues that you may observe with other types. If you do plant an oakleaf hydrangea in deep shade, be aware that its fall color will probably be muddy rather than bright and clear, there will be fewer flowers, and the habit may be a bit more open and sparse than a plant that gets at least some sun.
The standard moist, well-drained soil provides ideal growing conditions for oakleaf hydrangeas. That said, established plants can tolerate some drought, though it may shorten the lifespan of the flowers if dry conditions are severe and persistent. A 2-3" layer of shredded bark mulch is recommended all year-round to protect the shallow roots.
Oakleaf hydrangeas need little to no special care when it comes to soil fertility. However, you may apply a granular rose fertilizer in early spring if you wish.
The flowers of oakleaf hydrangeas all start out white, creamy white, or with some green hints. A few varieties, like Gatsby Pink and 'Ruby Slippers', will develop nice pink/red coloration as the blooms age. However, this is a natural, genetic color change, and is not impacted by soil chemistry. If the blooms on these varieties turn brown instead of pink, that usually indicates the plant wasn't getting enough water or otherwise experienced stress during its bloom time.
Oakleaf hydrangeas bloom on old wood, so avoid trimming them or cutting them back. You may selectively remove entire branches to enhance the overall look and habit of your plant, but regular pruning should be avoided.
Oakleaf hydrangea problems
Though they are largely problem-free, oakleaf hydrangeas do have a few minor issues to be aware of.
Nearly all oakleaf hydrangeas may develop some minor leaf spot, particularly late in the season. This is not a cause for concern and will not impact the plant's health. You can help minimize any leaf spot issues by removing and discarding fallen foliage in autumn, avoiding overhead watering, and providing good air circulation.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are generally unbothered by insects. Any chewing that is seen typically does not require management of any kind.
Oakleaf hydrangeas can experience some deer browsing, but they seem to be more of a second-choice plant for them, especially compared to favorites like panicle and smooth hydrangeas. This is likely due to the coat of white fuzz on the underside of the leaves. However, this doesn't mean that oakleaf hydrangeas are deer resistant - they typically browse plants to eat the flower buds and/or the tender tips of the branches, and in severe cases, this could remove the season's bloom entirely.
NO RISK 60 DAY GUARANTEE
We've got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.
Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. Orders from US are eligible for refund or replacement; Canadian orders are eligible only for refunds. All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing refunds.
After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.
Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.
Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking 'Growing Zone' in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.
FALL GUARANTEE – SHIPPING FROM SEPTEMBER 1 – END OF FALL SEASON
Did you receive an order after September 1? If so, it falls under our fall guarantee. We want to ensure your plants establish in your garden and return the following spring. Therefore, the warranty on your plants is extended to May 31 the next year. Ensure you contact us with images, your order number, and a description of the problem before May 31.
OUR ROBUST PLANTS
We ship plants with hefty root systems that outperform smaller plants obtained from other mail-order nurseries.
We take great pride in our packaging. Please contact us immediately for any damaged boxes or shortages. (Please note: multiple boxes shipped by Fed Ex might not always arrive the same day)
Any plant shipped dormant in the spring is guaranteed to break dormancy even if it takes more than one month. Call us directly if you have any concerns.
Photos of the plant(s) will be required so that we may provide the best assistance possible
A plant refund is based on the plant cost less discounts and shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing. We reserve the right to request a return of an item.
After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for product that is in your care. This includes overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, poor planting, plants beyond their hardiness zone, drought, flooding, etc. Our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may be experiencing. Our goal is that you are successful with our product.
I ordered Alice Oakleaf a month ago to replace one whose roots a gopher had nibbled to death. After unpacking and watering the plant, I left it in shade for 2 days to acclimate. Acclimate it did—its leaves perked right up. As for our epidemic of gophers this year, I’ve learned from trial and error that a tablespoon or less of coffee grounds sprinkled in the planting hole effectively repel them. So this Alice Oakleaf, now one month after planting, looks happy and healthy. And with roots that remain unmolested. Nancy
I ordered two Alice Oakleaf hydrangea, and was delighted to receive healthy plants ahead of schedule. They've been in the ground for nearly a month, and they are getting established really well and look fantastic. I couldn't be happier!
My plant came in good condition and is doing great with new growth.
arrived with all leaves intact and well attached. planted and has grown steadily.
I am very pleased with my purchase. Wonderful selection of plants.
Experienced a problem and customer service took immediate action. I will definitely order again!