Easily grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Appreciates a summer mulch which helps retain soil moisture. Bloom occurs on old wood. Prune after flowering (little pruning is usually needed however). Prune out weak or winter-damaged stems in early spring. Plants should be given a sheltered location and winter protection (e.g., mulch, burlap wrap) in USDA Zone 5, particularly when not fully established. Plants can lose significant numbers of flower buds or die to the ground in harsh winters (temperatures below -10 degrees F), thus respectively impairing or totally destroying the bloom for the coming year.
Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly called oak leaf hydrangea, is an upright, broad-rounded, suckering, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows 4-6' (less frequently to 8') tall. It is native to bluffs, moist woods, ravines and stream banks from Georgia to Florida to Louisiana. It is noted for producing pyramidal panicles of white flowers in summer on exfoliating branches clad with large, 3-7 lobed, oak-like, dark green leaves.
'Alice' was introduced into commerce by Michael Dirr through his Georgia Plant Introduction Program. It is an upright, stoloniferous, deciduous shrub with a broad rounded habit which typically grows 5-8' tall and as wide (less frequently to 12' tall in optimum growing conditions). It is most noted for its large, arching flower panicles (10-14" long), its usually disease-free foliage and its superior fall color. Large pyramidal flower panicles feature mostly sterile white flowers in June which bloom for 6-8 weeks, gradually fading to pink and then brown by late summer. Distinctive, deeply-lobed, somewhat coarse, deep green, oak-like leaves (to 8" long) turn attractive shades of bronze, maroon and purple in autumn. Mature stems exfoliate to reveal a rich brown inner bark which is attractive in winter.
No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf blight. Aphids are occasional visitors.
Good large specimen or accent for foundations or other locations near homes or patios. Group or mass in shrub borders or naturalize in open woodland areas. Good informal hedge.