Oakleaf hydrangea offers a lot more four-season interest than its showier mophead cousins, and can be considered deer resistant due to its courser leaves. In its native habitat as an understory shrub, it would appreciate protection from afternoon sun and is happiest growing under trees in dappled light or strong morning light.
A great choice for a woodland garden or dry shade, the oakleaf hydrangea grows from multiple shoots and can form a colony that gets around 6' tall and wide. There are many smaller cultivars available that can easily can be pruned to the ground in spring to keep it 3' by 3'. Its cone shaped clusters of white flowers differentiate it from the ball shaped flowering hydrangeas, as well as its brilliant burgundy fall color.
The flowers begin in July; lasting for months and are even pretty when dried. The autumn changes the large, oakleaf shaped leaves into shades of red, burgundy, plum and orange. The cinnamon-colored bark shows off in winter as it peels in thin flakes. It can be drought tolerant once established but will make more flowers if kept well watered through the summer and keep it well mulched. Please test its deer resistance in your neighborhood before you make a hedge out it- it may be more deer resistant in certain areas. Let us know!