1. An extraordinary hydrangea
I love all hydrangeas, but oakleaf hydrangea is one of my favorites because its large leaves look great on their own and in combination with other plants. Large, oakleaf-shaped leaves contrast well with smaller-leaved plants, but it’s the white flowers on large panicles, which change to pink as they age, that makes ‘Snowflake’ oakleaf hydrangea a winner. Its blooms are double, hose-in-hose, which means that, as the new white petals come out of the middle of the flower, the older petals hold on and fade to pink, producing complexity and depth to the flower. The show continues through fall, as the foliage turns red, attaining deeper hues on plants located in full sun. The flowers persist through winter to complement the shrub’s exfoliating bark. ‘Snowflake’ grows up to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide—but it doesn’t get as large if grown in the shade, which it prefers in hot climates.
• Name: ‘Snowflake’ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’)
• Zones: 5 to 9
• Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, fertile, well-drained soil
• Seasonal bonus: In summer, the white blooms turn to pink.
‘Snowflake’ oakleaf hydrangea
Photo/Illustration: Don Garren
Photo/Illustration: Daryl Beyers