Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'
Common Name: oakleaf hydrangea
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall

Culture

Easily grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in moist soils, and appreciates a summer mulch which helps retain soil moisture. Bloom occurs on old wood. Prune if needed immediately after flowering (little pruning is usually needed). Winter damaged stems may be pruned 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

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.

Genus name comes from hydor meaning water and aggeion meaning vessel in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit.

Specific epithet is in reference to the leaves that look like those of Quercus (oak).

'Little Honey’ is a compact spreading cultivar that typically matures to 3-4' tall and to 4-5' wide. It is a branch sport of Hydrangea quercifolia 'Pee Wee'. Showy, deeply-lobed, somewhat coarse, oak-shaped leaves (to 4-7" long) emerge golden yellow in spring, retain good golden color well into summer, gradually fade to chartreuse and then green by early fall before finishing the year with a blast of crimson red fall color. Cone-shaped flower panicles (to 5" long) consisting of mostly showy sterile white sepals bloom primarily in early summer (June-July) with some sporadic continued bloom through late summer into fall. Flowers acquire pink tones as they age. Stems turn red in winter. U.S. Plant Patent PP15,477 was issued on January 11, 2005.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf blight and powdery mildew. Aphids and spider mites are occasional visitors.

Garden Uses

Effective as a specimen or accent for foundations or other locations near homes or patios. Group or mass in shrub borders or in open woodland areas. Good informal hedge. Exfoliating mature branches provide interesting color and texture in winter.

May be grown in large containers.