There's no place like home - especially when you have a 'Ruby Slippers' hydrangea planted there! This classic oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) is known, and named, for the dramatic red color its large flowers develop as they age. 'Ruby Slippers' is also a space-saver, reaching a nice, useful 3-3.5' tall and wide, the ideal size for home landscapes and gardens. Like all oakleaf hydrangeas, it's ideal as a hedge or specimen, and its lacecap flowers attract pollinators when they begin to bloom in early summer.
What makes 'Ruby Slippers' different from other oakleaf hdyrangeas?
- Flowers start white like others, but develop a beautiful ruby-red hue as they age.
- Versatile small, compact habit can be used in several different landscape and garden applications.
Name: Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'
Hardiness: USDA zones 5-9
Height + Width: 3-3.5'
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: Flowering begins in early summer, and the blooms continue to be colorful and attractive all the way through frost.
Bloom color: Large lacecap flowers start out pure white, then develop deep red tones as they age.
Uses: We love 'Ruby Slippers' incorporated into landscapes, woodland or wildlife gardens, as well as incorporated into flower gardens. You can't go wrong with this classic hydrangea!
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 guarantee that you will be satisfied with your purchase and that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name. If for any reason you are dissatisfied, notify us within 60 days of receipt of your order and we will refund you.
FALL GUARANTEE – SHIPPING FROM SEPTEMBER 1 – END OF FALL SEASON
Notify us within 7 days if you have a concern about orders shipped in autumn so we can make a note of it. Warranty on such plants is extended to May 31 of the following year. Our fall guarantee does not cover plants that are not hardy (i.e., able to survive winter) in your area, so please verify your USDA hardiness zone (click ‘Growing Zone’ in the site navigation and enter your zip code) before purchasing. If you have questions about whether a plant can survive winter in your area, please call us before purchasing. See Product Care section below for additional information.
OUR LARGER ROOT SYSTEMS
We ship jumbo size 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.
The plants that I ordered are thriving! They look great and are so healthly. They have dramatically increased in size also. Very happy with my purchase.
Amazing Packaging and out of 8 plants one was a bit stumpy but is still growing so I'm satisfied. The rest were amazing with good amounts to lots of leaves. I'll order from this company again.
Arrived in good shape. Appears to have acclimated but had grown slowly. Very hot here so shall continue to observe.
I received my plant. There were no leaves, just a stalk. I have babied it. Watered it and now placed in the pot outside. I even talk to it. The stalk is green but nothing else. What should I do?
Hi Sharon, I'm so sorry your plant arrived in poor condition! It sounds like you're taking great care of it. Your plant is covered by our 60-day guarantee, so we'd be more than happy to send you a replacement. Please send pictures to email@example.com and we can take a closer look at what is going on. Happy Gardening!
Plants arrived beautifully and healthfully packaged and all specimens are thriving even in this East Coast heatwave! Thank you! Will buy again.