Plant of the Week: GATSBY® Oakleaf hydrangeas

Oakleaf hydrangea is awesome. It has flowers, it has foliage, it has cool bark – it even supports pollinators.

The only problem with Hydrangea quercifolia is that it really prefers to be grown in the ground, not in a container. This is fine if you’re planting it in a landscape, but most plants these days spend their early years in a pot.

The Gatsby® series of hydrangea was selected for their easy growth in the nursery as well as their appealing container presentation. Let’s face it, older oakleaf hydrangea varieties could be a little awkward looking as young plants. These plants have nice branching and display their flowers nicely above the foliage. So gardeners will get the instant appeal that’s so important when shopping for new plants.

And there are several varieties to fit a wide range of gardening needs and desires. Gatsby Pink® has big, lacy blooms that quickly turn from white to pink. And in fall you’ll see some magnificent burgundy foliage.

H. quercifolia GATSBY PINK fall color

This is a full-sized variety: 6-8′ tall and wide. Personally I like the bigger selections; the large leaves of oakleaf hydrangea make it an ideal plant for bigger spaces where something with fine texture or small stature would get lost. The other Gatsby varieties, Gatsby Moon® and Gatsby Star®, are also make a nice statement at 6-8′.

If you want something a bit more compact, Gatsby Gal® is 5-6′ tall and wide.

All are hardy in USDA 5-9 and will grow in full sun or part shade.

Oakleaf hydrangeas – and other woody ornamentals – are awesome
If you look up plants for pollinators often all you find is a bunch of perennials. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – some of my best friends are perennials. But for too many people native plants and pollinators means prairie plantings, even if they live someplace where the buffalo never roamed.

That’s why I was so happy to see an article titled “Woodies for Our Winged Friends” in Grower Talks. Yes, bees and butterflies like flowering shrubs, too. The great thing about flowering shrubs is that you can fit them into a smaller residential landscape more easily than you would a prairie. They can often be incorporated into a pretty traditional landscape.

Of course Hydrangea quercifolia made the list, because it’s awesome.

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