Hydrangea quercifolia 'Queen of Hearts'
Common Name: oakleaf hydrangea 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 7.00 to 9.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: White aging to pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest


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 oakleaf 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.

The genus name Hydrangea 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).

'Queen of Hearts’ is a hybrid cultivar (‘Snow Queen’ x ‘Pee Wee’) which typically matures in a rounded form to 6’ tall spreading to 9’ wide. It is noted for its large, upright, conical flower panicles (to 9” long) which open white but gradually age to an attractive deep pink. Flowers typically bloom June–July (about 7-10 days later than those of most other oakleaf hydrangea cultivars). Large, deeply-lobed, oak-like, medium green leaves turn mahogany-red in fall. Older stems exfoliate to reveal a rich brown inner bark which is attractive in winter.

‘Queen of Hearts’ was first hybridized by the U.S. National Arboretum in 1998, and was subsequently introduced into commerce by the Arboretum’s shrub breeding program in 2013.


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


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.