En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - November 18, 2010

From: Attica, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation, Shrubs
Title: Oakleaf hydrangea in Indiana
Answered by: Anne Bossart


I was given a start of an oak leaf hydrangea by a generous friend from her garden. I have been searching for "what to expect" about this plant. I planted it last year and it grew..this year..but did not bloom. What can I expect from this plant as far as growth, when to expect blooms, what should I be doing? Thank you very much!!!


Your friend is generous indeed! 

In general you can expect to be delighted by your new aquisition, but to be more precise, what to expect kind of depends on what you are starting with.

The description of Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea) on our Native Plant Database describes it as:

A mound-shaped shrub, 3-12 ft. tall. Multiple stems are sparingly branched with picturesque canes. Older stems are exfoliating to reveal a rich, brown inner bark. The showy inflorescence of greenish flowers, turns white then purplish and persists on the bush until mid-winter. The foliage, shaped something like that of red oak, becomes colorful in fall.

You don't mention how large your "start" is or if it is single or multi-stemmed.  If it is planted in the right conditions (and you say it did grow this year), it will probably flower once it reaches about 3 feet in size.  The tone of colour it achieves in the fall will depend on how much sun it receives and whether or not it is the "straight" species or a cultivated variety.  Generally, the sunnier the conditions the deeper and more intense the red/bronze fall colour.

You can see by the images below that there is a fair amount of variety in the size and shape of both the leaves and flowers.  Your plant will resemble its parent, as it is a clone, but could seem different depending on the conditions in which it is planted.


Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia




More Shrubs Questions

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
May 18, 2008 - I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy screen
August 10, 2015 - We are looking for a good plant(s) that would provide a privacy screen by our fence. We were looking at clumping bamboo (maybe black) because it grows quickly and it not too thick. The new plants woul...
view the full question and answer

Penalty for picking Kalmia latifolia in Pennsylvania
March 08, 2009 - What if any is the penalty for picking the Mountain Laurel wild flower in Pennsylvania when it is in bloom?
view the full question and answer

Small shrub for Point Richmond CA
August 19, 2013 - I'm looking for a plant that grows 4-6 feet tall, but not too wide (more than 2-3 feet). I'd like it to be flowering (any color but white and preferably not red). It will be located between a salvi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center