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Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea

Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea

Common Name: Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea

Botanical Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’


NARRATOR: The white blossoms of the Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea are a common site in the museum landscape. Horticulturalist Cody George explains the development of this cultivar and the origin of its name.

CODY GEORGE: One of the signature plants here at Crystal Bridges that we’ve planted is the Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea. It displays a wonderful foliage that is very similar to the silhouette of an oak leaf, and it has wonderful fall color. In fact, Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea was developed for its larger size and its larger flowers, as well as the deeper scarlet red and crimson in the fall color.

Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea was developed and introduced by Dr. Michael Dirr from the University of Georgia horticulture department. He’s well known, quite a legend in the horticulture industry. Dr. Dirr named Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea for one of his research technicians that helped him develop it.

Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea leaf

Plant family: Hydrangeaceae

Location: Art Trail, East Terrace Switchback, North Lawn Trail

Growing zone: 5-9

Height: 10-12 ft.

Spread: 10-12 ft.

Bloom time: May, June

Bloom description: Creamy white flowers decorate a 10-14 in. inflorescence in early summer and mature to a pinkish-rose color as the season progresses.

Leaf type: The 8-10 in. leaves are lobed with moderately deep sinuses. The dark-green summer foliage turns burgundy to red, which provides a seasonal interest in autumn. This species has one of the best fall colors in our garden!

Garden uses: This large shrub is used in our garden for backdrop plantings. The flower and striking fall color make this a great candidate for a foundation planting or as a specimen in a home garden. They prefer afternoon shade (especially in the South), but can grow in the full sun, although they tend to show premature fall color in late summer when stressed. Moist to average soil is best for this species. If you do choose to prune (I don’t, as the form is beautiful), they bloom off of old wood, so prune immediately after flowering.

Wildlife benefits: Native bees pollinate this shrub. Turkey and other game birds browse the seeds in the fall.