How To Grow and Care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea?

How To Grow and Care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea
16 min reading time

If you’re looking for a beautiful and resilient shrub for your garden, look no further than the Oakleaf Hydrangea. This plant not only provides stunning blooms but also thrives in a variety of conditions. However, proper care is essential for optimal growth and health.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the steps on how to grow and care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea. From selecting the right location to fertilizing and pruning, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper care is essential for the growth and health of an Oakleaf Hydrangea.
  • This guide covers everything from selecting the right location to fertilizing and pruning.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

Before planting your Oakleaf Hydrangea, it’s essential to select the perfect location for it to thrive. These plants require a balance of sunlight and shade to produce their spectacular blooms.

When planting your Oakleaf Hydrangea, bear in mind that they prefer morning sun and afternoon shade, making them an excellent choice for east-facing gardens. If you live in a hotter climate, they can tolerate more shade to prevent the leaves from scorching.

While selecting a location, keep in mind that Oakleaf Hydrangeas appreciate moist soil, so it’s best to avoid planting in areas prone to drought or near the foundation of a house, where they may not receive enough water.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that the soil can drain well. These plants do not do well in soils that stay saturated for extended periods as that leads to root rot.

How To Grow and Care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea: Preparing the Soil

One of the most crucial aspects of growing a healthy Oakleaf Hydrangea is preparing the soil. These plants require soil that is rich in nutrients and well-draining. They prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 5.2 and 6.5.

To prepare the soil, start by testing the pH level. This will help you determine if any soil amendments, such as sulfur or lime, are necessary to adjust the pH level. Oakleaf Hydrangeas also prefer soil that is high in organic matter, so consider incorporating compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting.

When planting, make sure to dig a hole that is twice the size of the root ball. Mix the excavated soil with additional compost or peat moss and use this mixture to backfill around the plant. Water the newly planted Oakleaf Hydrangea thoroughly to settle the soil and remove any air pockets.

Planting Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

Now that you have chosen the perfect location and prepared the soil, it’s time to plant your Oakleaf Hydrangea. Follow these steps to ensure a successful planting:

  1. Choose a cloudy day or a time when the sun is not shining directly on the planting area to reduce stress on the plant.
  2. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and slightly shallower.
  3. Gently remove the Oakleaf Hydrangea from its container and loosen any tangled roots.
  4. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
  5. Water thoroughly immediately after planting to help the soil settle and reduce air pockets.
  6. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant, but keep it a few inches away from the stem.
  7. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, for the first few weeks until the plant is established.

Spacing is also important when planting Oakleaf Hydrangeas. Be sure to give each plant enough room to grow to its full size, which can be up to six feet wide and tall. Generally, spacing should be at least six feet apart from center to center. Proper spacing ensures good air circulation and reduces the risk of diseases.

Watering Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

Proper watering is crucial for the health and growth of your Oakleaf Hydrangea. These plants require consistent moisture, but they don’t like to be waterlogged. Follow these tips to ensure your Oakleaf Hydrangea receives the correct amount of water:

  • Water deeply once a week during dry weather to saturate the roots.
  • Avoid frequent shallow watering, which can lead to weak and shallow root growth.
  • Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to provide water directly to the roots.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture in the soil.

While it’s important to keep your Oakleaf Hydrangea hydrated, be careful not to overwater. Too much water can cause root rot and other plant diseases. Here are a few signs that your Oakleaf Hydrangea is receiving too much water:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Fungal growth on leaves
  • Rotted or mushy roots

If you notice any of these symptoms, cut back on watering and improve the drainage around the plant. Remember, it’s better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering.

By following these watering tips, you can keep your Oakleaf Hydrangea healthy and thriving throughout the growing season.

Pruning Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

How To Grow and Care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea

Pruning is an essential part of maintaining the shape and health of your Oakleaf Hydrangea. But, before you start, it’s important to understand that improperly pruning your Oakleaf Hydrangea can result in no blooms for the upcoming season. To prevent this, you should avoid pruning your Oakleaf Hydrangea in the fall or late winter.

The best time to prune your Oakleaf Hydrangea is in the early spring or summer, after the plant has finished blooming. This allows for new buds to grow for next year while providing adequate time for the plant to establish before the colder weather.

When pruning, start by removing any dead or damaged wood. Then, remove up to one-third of the oldest stems or canes, cutting them to the base of the plant. By removing these older stems, you encourage new growth and more abundant blooms. Avoid pruning any stems that have buds, as this will prevent blooms from forming.

It’s also important to note that Oakleaf Hydrangeas bloom on old wood, meaning that blooms will form from the previous year’s growth. Therefore, avoid pruning these stems, as it will prevent blooming in the upcoming season.

After pruning, be sure to clean your pruning tools with a solution of one-part bleach to nine parts water to prevent the spread of disease.

By following these simple pruning techniques, you can help your Oakleaf Hydrangea stay healthy and vibrant for years to come.

Fertilizing Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

Proper fertilization is essential for the growth and health of your Oakleaf Hydrangea. Fertilizers provide the necessary nutrients required for the plant’s overall development, strong root system, and vibrant leaves and flowers.

When to Fertilize Oakleaf Hydrangea

In most cases, Oakleaf hydrangeas should be fertilized in the early spring before the emergence of new growth. However, if the plant is not growing satisfactorily, it might require additional fertilization later in the year.

Fertilizer Type

The fertilizers for Oakleaf hydrangeas should be high in phosphorus and potassium, which encourages blooming and root growth, respectively. Look for fertilizers with an N-P-K ratio of 4-3-4 or 9-3-3, which is ideal for Oakleaf hydrangeas.

Application Method

Spread the fertilizer evenly around the base of the plant and water thoroughly to allow the nutrients to reach the roots. Avoid overfertilizing, as this can damage the plant. It’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the application rate.

Organic Fertilizer

If you prefer organic fertilization, consider using compost or well-rotted manure. Organic fertilizers provide a slow-release of nutrients that will enhance the soil’s fertility and support the plant’s growth.

In conclusion, applying fertilizer at the right time and rate is crucial for the health and longevity of your Oakleaf Hydrangea. With proper fertilization, you can ensure a lush and thriving plant that will bring beauty to your garden.

Dealing with Pests on Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

While Oakleaf Hydrangeas are relatively low-maintenance, they can fall victim to various pests that can damage leaves and even kill the plant if left untreated. Here’s a rundown of the most common pests that affect Oakleaf Hydrangeas and how to deal with them:

AphidsSmall, pear-shaped insects that suck sap from the leaves.Remove them by spraying the plant with a strong stream of water. Alternatively, apply insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Spider mitesSmall arachnids that create webs on leaves and suck sap from the plant.Introduce predatory insects such as ladybugs or lacewings to the area. Alternatively, apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Scale insectsSmall, immobile insects that attach themselves to the leaves and stems and suck sap from the plant.Remove them with a soft-bristled brush or cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Alternatively, apply horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.
CaterpillarsYoung larvae of moths and butterflies that eat holes in the leaves.Remove them by hand-picking or apply Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) insecticide.

It’s important to monitor your Oakleaf Hydrangea regularly for signs of pest activity. Catching and treating infestations early can prevent serious damage to your plant.

Preventing Pest Infestations

In addition to treating pests as they appear, there are several steps you can take to prevent infestations in the first place:

  • Remove dead leaves and debris from around the plant, as these can harbor pests.
  • Prune the plant regularly to maintain good air circulation and prevent pest-friendly conditions.
  • Maintain the health of the plant by providing adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients, as stressed plants are more susceptible to pest infestations.

Preventing and Treating Diseases on Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

How To Grow and Care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea

While Oakleaf Hydrangeas are generally resistant to pests and diseases, there are still some common issues that may affect their health. Here are some potential diseases to watch out for and how to prevent and treat them:

DiseaseSymptomsPrevention and Treatment
Cercospora Leaf SpotPurplish spots on the leaves that eventually turn brown and fall offRemove and destroy any infected leaves, avoid overhead watering, and ensure proper air circulation around the plant
AnthracnoseIrregularly shaped brown spots on the leaves, which may develop into holesRemove and destroy any infected plant parts, avoid overhead watering, and ensure proper air circulation around the plant
Powdery MildewA white, powdery coating on the leaves and stemsPlant in a location with good air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and treat with a fungicide if necessary

To further prevent diseases on your Oakleaf Hydrangea, make sure to provide proper care and maintenance, including regular pruning and fertilization. Additionally, avoid planting your Oakleaf Hydrangea too close to other plants or in areas with poor drainage, which can make it more susceptible to disease.

If you notice any signs of disease on your Oakleaf Hydrangea, it’s important to act quickly to prevent further damage. Remove and destroy any infected plant parts, increase air circulation around the plant, and consider using a fungicide if necessary. With proper care and attention, your Oakleaf Hydrangea can stay healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Winter Care for Your Oakleaf Hydrangea

During the winter months, Oakleaf Hydrangeas require specific care to ensure their survival through the cold season and encourage healthy growth in the following year.

One of the most critical tasks is to protect the plant from frost. If your area is prone to freezing temperatures, cover the entire plant with burlap or other protective materials, taking care not to damage the branches or leaves. This will help to prevent frost damage and reduce the potential for dehydration.

Another vital aspect of winter care is proper moisture management. Be sure to water your Oakleaf Hydrangea regularly during the fall months, providing it with ample water to sustain it through the winter. However, be cautious not to overwater, as this can cause the roots to rot.

It’s crucial to keep an eye out for common pests and diseases that thrive in the winter, such as spider mites, scale insects, and powdery mildew. If you notice any signs of infestation or disease, promptly take action to treat and prevent further harm.

Lastly, avoid pruning your Oakleaf Hydrangea during the winter months, as it can encourage new growth that is vulnerable to cold damage. Instead, wait until the spring, when new growth begins to emerge, before pruning your plant.

By following these winter care tips, you can help your Oakleaf Hydrangea survive the cold months and thrive when the warmer seasons return, providing you with a beautiful and healthy addition to your garden.

Propagating Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Expanding your collection of Oakleaf Hydrangeas or sharing the plant with others is easy through propagation. There are various methods for propagating Oakleaf Hydrangeas, including division, cuttings, and layering.


Division involves separating the plant into two or more sections, each of which can become a new plant. Start by digging up the entire plant, being careful not to disturb the roots too much. Next, locate natural divisions, or “eyes,” in the root ball, which are areas where new shoots emerge. Use a sharp knife or garden shears to cut through the root ball, separating the plant into sections. Be sure to have at least one eye on each separate section.


Cuttings is the process of taking a stem cutting from a healthy Oakleaf Hydrangea and rooting it in soil or water. Use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears to take a 6-inch cutting from a stem that is not currently blooming. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting and dip the cut end into rooting hormone. Place the cutting in a pot of moist potting soil or a container of water, making sure to keep it in a warm, humid area.


Layering involves creating new plants from a parent plant by rooting a stem that is still attached to the parent. To start, identify a low-growing branch on the parent plant and use a spade to make a small 1-inch cut on the underside of the stem. Apply rooting hormone to the cut, then cover it with soil or a handful of moistened sphagnum moss. Secure the covered section in place with a u-shaped pin or rock. Wait several months for roots to form, then cut the new plant from the parent using a sharp knife.

Propagation is a fun and rewarding way to expand your Oakleaf Hydrangea collection or share the plant with others. Try out these methods and enjoy the satisfaction of growing new plants from scratch.


Congratulations! You now have all the information you need to successfully grow and care for an Oakleaf Hydrangea in your garden. You’ve learned about the ideal location and soil requirements, as well as how to properly plant, water, prune, fertilize, and protect your Oakleaf Hydrangea from pests and diseases.

Remember to follow the guidelines for winter care and propagation to ensure the longevity and expansion of your Oakleaf Hydrangea collection. By implementing these steps, you’ll have a beautiful and thriving plant that will bring joy and beauty to your garden for years to come.

Thank you for reading and happy gardening!


How do I choose the right location for my Oakleaf Hydrangea?

To choose the right location for your Oakleaf Hydrangea, look for an area that receives partial shade or dappled sunlight. Avoid planting in full sun as it can lead to leaf burn. Additionally, ensure the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter.

What are the soil requirements for Oakleaf Hydrangeas?

Oakleaf Hydrangeas thrive in moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil pH should be slightly acidic, ideally between 5.5 and 6.5.

How do I properly prepare the soil before planting my Oakleaf Hydrangea?

Before planting, it’s recommended to amend the soil with compost or organic matter to improve its fertility and drainage. Mix in a generous amount of compost, then water the area thoroughly before planting.

What are the proper planting guidelines for Oakleaf Hydrangeas?

When planting an Oakleaf Hydrangea, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the ground. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots. Water the plant immediately after planting to help settle the soil.

How often should I water my Oakleaf Hydrangea?

Water your Oakleaf Hydrangea regularly, especially during dry spells. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not overly saturated. Deep watering once or twice a week should be sufficient, but adjust based on your specific climate and soil conditions.

When and how should I prune my Oakleaf Hydrangea?

Oakleaf Hydrangeas require minimal pruning. The best time to prune is immediately after flowering, usually in late summer or early fall. Simply remove any dead or damaged wood, and shape the plant as desired. Avoid heavy pruning as it can reduce the following year’s blooms.

How should I fertilize my Oakleaf Hydrangea?

It’s generally recommended to fertilize Oakleaf Hydrangeas in early spring before new growth begins. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering shrubs. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for proper application rates.

What are common pests that can affect Oakleaf Hydrangeas?

Common pests that can affect Oakleaf Hydrangeas include aphids, scale insects, and spider mites. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of infestation, such as distorted leaves or sticky residue, and take appropriate measures to control these pests.

How can I prevent and treat diseases on my Oakleaf Hydrangea?

To prevent diseases on your Oakleaf Hydrangea, ensure proper spacing between plants to promote good airflow. Avoid overhead watering, as this can lead to fungal infections. If a disease does occur, promptly remove and destroy the affected plant parts and consider using appropriate fungicides as recommended.

How should I care for my Oakleaf Hydrangea during the winter months?

During winter, provide a layer of mulch around the base of your Oakleaf Hydrangea to help insulate the roots. This will protect the plant during freezing temperatures. Additionally, avoid pruning in late fall or winter, as it can stimulate new growth that may be susceptible to cold damage.

How can I propagate Oakleaf Hydrangeas?

Oakleaf Hydrangeas can be propagated through various methods, including division, cuttings, and layering. Dividing established plants and taking softwood or hardwood cuttings are common techniques. Layering involves bending a low branch to the ground, wounding it, and covering it with soil until it develops roots. Each method requires specific steps and timing for success.

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