Ask a Question forum: When to plant oakleaf hydrangea

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Jersey Shore zone 7b
Mar 14, 2019 9:12 AM CST
Just received a gallon size pot oakleaf hydrangea pee wee variety plant from an online nursery. It has leaves that have changed colors already to red and bronze and has some new growth at the top. I am in zone 7b and want to know when is the best time to put it in the ground. Will it go dormant in the spring or continue to put out new growth ?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Mar 14, 2019 10:10 AM CST
I would plant it in a week or so. The leaves that have changed color probably hung on from last fall. The plant was put into the box at the end of dormancy and the new growth is probably a result of being in a warm box too long.

I said about a week because you might want to put the pot in a shady place outside and let it acclimate to your weather and more light. If you have a late freeze, cover it to protect the new foliage.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Mar 15, 2019 6:35 AM CST
I always wait a couple weeks after my average date of last frost so the leaves do not get zapped by weather. The plant obviously would not die due to a late frost but it zaps the leaves, the plant looks ugly for a while so I just prefer not to deal with that.

The red leaves are leftover from the leaves it had last year. When it leafs out, it will -at some point- drop the old leaves. No action needed on your part obviously. In mild years, leaves may stay "on" thru winter. On harsher winters, the leaves will dry out and fall before year's end.

If the online nursery provided fertilizer pellets, you may not need to fertilize this year.

As long as temps stay warm, it will continue to put on new growth. If temps crash and it is planted outside, the leaves may get zapped and -maybe- there could be additional damage to the stems if the shrub is hit with well below freezing temps while it is putting new growth. At that point, you will have to wait for new growth from the base to replace any dead stems. Again, that is why I prefer to wait a couple of weeks after my average date of last frost.

Provide it with 2-4" of mulch when you plant it. Select a location where water does not collect for long periods of time as oakleaf hydrangeas tend to catch root rot easily if kept in wet soil for long periods. I lost an Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea that way once.

Enjoy the Fall foliage in October... ish... The more sun that the leaves get in October-ish, the better the Fall foliage.
[Last edited by luis_pr - Mar 15, 2019 12:36 PM (+)]
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