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Like It/Love It: Oakleaf Hydrangea

An oakleaf hydrangea with the same great foliage but even better blooms

If you like that… Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, USDA Hardiness Zones 5–9)

You’re going to love this… Gatsby Star™ oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Doughill’, Zones 5–9)

There is, arguably, no better plant in late summer and early fall than oakleaf hydrangea. The white panicle blooms are eye-catching, and the velvety leaves add a wonderful texture to the garden before turning a gorgeous crimson as the temperatures cool. But if you’re looking for an oakleaf hydrangea that takes the show to the next level, look no further than the variety Gatsby Star™.

This new kid on the block has remarkable double-petaled blooms—each with a pronounced point, giving the flowers a truly unique starlike appearance. Each summer blossom is large, too—sometimes reaching close to a foot in length. As the flowers fade, they blush a rosy pink before eventually turning burgundy in midfall. The foliage, as well, turns a dark maroon as the mercury drops. When the leaves finally fall off, the muscular, exfoliating bark is exposed, making Gatsby Star™ oakleaf hydrangea a four-season star worthy of a place in any garden.

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Partial shade; moist, well-drained soil


Like most oakleaf hydrangeas, Gatsby Star™ may benefit from some winter protection in northern locations. Wrapping the bare stems in burlap or mulching around the crown of the shrub provides the perfect amount of insulation and ensures that the plant will bounce back heartily the following spring.

Danielle Sherry is a senior editor with Fine Gardening Magazine.


Garden Crossings, Zeeland, Mich.; 616-875-6355; gardencrossings.com

Wayside Gardens, Hodges, S.C.; 800-845-1124; waysidegardens.com

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