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 immediately after flowering (little pruning is usually needed however). Prune out weak or winter-damaged stems 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.
Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly called oak leaf hydrangea, is an upright, broad-rounded, suckering, 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.
‘Sike's Dwarf’ is a dwarf mounded cultivar that matures to only 2-3' tall and to 3-4' wide. It differs from the species by growing much smaller with smaller leaves and smaller flower panicles, and by having a more moderate growth habit with less frequent suckering from the roots. Elongated, conical flower panicles (to 3-4" long) of showy, mostly sterile, white flowers begin bloom in late spring. Flowers emerge white, gradually fade to light pink and then turn brown by late summer with good persistence of the brown seed panicles into winter. Distinctive, deeply-lobed, somewhat coarse, deep green, oak-like leaves (to 5” long) turn attractive shades of bronze, maroon and purple in autumn. Mature stems exfoliate to reveal a rich brown inner bark which is attractive in winter.
Native to woodlands. Blooms are white, fading to pink. In fall, the leaves turn deep maroon. Can be used in massings and mixed borders or as a scattered specimen. Fertile forms are good nectar plants.