Ah, the cut Christmas tree, age-old tradition and beloved holiday icon. A little extra trouble, but well worth it apparently-despite the proliferation of the artificial tree, cut tree sales are still quite strong each year.
Oakleaf Hydrangea – Hydrangea quercifolia
A hydrangea with oak-shaped leaves! What will mother nature think of next? How about peeling bark, downy-silver new growth, cinnamon-orange stems, fragrant flowers and rich fall color?
This hydrangea’s got it all. Flowers are an ivory-white and draw bumble bees and even some butterflies. The best feature may be the fall foliage colors – maroon, red, scarlet and caramel-orange.
While native a bit further south of here, they are still perfectly hardy and well-adapted to our soil. Give them full sun for best color, but they are probably happiest in afternoon shade, where their leaves can grow up to 10” long or so! Ideal soil is moist and well-drained.
This hydrangea flowers on growth from the previous year like the mophead/lacecap types, so should be pruned when needed after flowers fade – not in spring.
There are many varieties to fit any area, from ‘Sikes Dwarf’ maturing around 3’ tall to ‘Snow Queen,’ ‘Alice’ and ‘Snowflake’ that reach from 6 to 8’ tall. ‘Pee Wee’ is the most well-known variety, growing 4-5’ tall and wide in 10 years or so. ‘Little Honey’ is the chartreuse-leaved version.
By Miri Talabac, Woody Plant Buyer/Manager