The Q&A Archives: Identifying hydrangeas

Question: We have two shrubs in front of our house. We believe they may be oakleaf hydrangeas, but someone told us they weren't. Can you e-mail me a picture of an oakleaf hydrangea so that I can use it to identify our shrub? Or is there a picture somewhere in your web site?

Answer: Hydrangea quericifolia, the oakleaf hydrangea, reaches 6' tall and has rich, cinnamon brown, layered bark when mature. The showy flowers change from white to pink to brown, and the large, lobed leaves turn red to burgundy in the fall. These are characteristics unique to oakleaf hydrangeas. If yours doesn't match the description, you may have H. macrophylla (bigleaf hydrangea), which is the more commonly grown hydrangea. Sorry I don't have a picture to show you!

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