Snow Queen oakleaf hydrangea holds her flowers alert, like a true queen. They are upright and don't flop - perhaps as much because they are midrange in size around 8" long.
Shrub size expectations are also midrange at 6-8' tall. She's more stately than our Jetstream, but the Titan 12' tall Alice type dwarfs her.
The cone-shaped flowers have ample and visible small, fertile florets to attract the pollinators to her court. Once pollinated the flower heads antique pink in climates where nighttime temps fall below 70 degrees.
Like every oakleaf hydrangea I've even met, Snow Queen will have burgundy or red (sometimes both!) fall color, even in our muggy zone 8a.
The bark is highly pleasing - exfoliating in cinnamon and tan shreds. Keep in mind you won't be able to see this bark until winter; dormancy in general is a good time to enjoy the subtitles of bark.
At the risk of discouraging you from growing this distinctive native hydrangea, I'm going to bring up a pathology issue. If you've ever had an oakleaf just up and die on you, I'm sorry to hear that. It's not because you have a black thumb! I've lost several over my 30 years of gardening and coached many through this issue. There's a bacteria in the soil that kills them. The symptoms are that they wilt and no amount of water can help them recover because the bacteria has damaged their vascular system, resulting in an afflicted oakleaf that can't transport the water you're giving it. They succumb to the pathogen and they die. It's a hard reality that sometimes strikes, but I have some tips:
- please don't plant any hydrangea into the same spot to replace a dead oakleaf
- please keep trying in a different location; it's worth the effort to have an oakleaf hydrangea (or three!) in your garden that will live long-term (or even a short-term decade)
- try to encourage beneficial bacteria and fungi in your garden by applying products that contain mycorrhizae (I use MycoApply Suluble MAXX) and other beneficial bacteria (I use Actinovate)
Snow Queen oakleaf hydrangea, oakleaf hydrangea, hydrangea, native hydrangea
flowering shrub, deciduous
white, antiquing pink
- Spring: medium green
- Summer: medium green
- Fall: burgundy, red
Fall Leaf Color Quality
cinnamon-brown and tan exfoliating
Soil Moisture Requirements
moist-but-draining, no standing water
Soil pH Requirements
acid, neutral, alkaline
sun, part shade
To Make It Thrive
Give Hydrangea quercifolia Snow Queen rich soil plus consistent moisture in a soil that drains. It may require extra watering, but no standing water. Oakleaf hydrangeas love a layer of compost, then a layer of mulch on top - both to provide a rich and cool root zone. Place it in partial shade in the deep south (zones 8 and 9), but full sun is okay farther north. Best flowering is with some sun.