Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Brido’View more from Hydrangeas
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Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Brido’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub growing to about 6 feet tall and wide. It has very large leaves that are leathery and divided into 5 lobes, resembling a giant oak leaf. Green in summer they turn purple and red in fall. The enormous flower heads are packed with hundreds of white flowers of many tiny petals, which are pure white before turning rosy-red in fall. Blooming continues all through summer, and the flowers last much longer than on ordinary oakleaf hydrangeas. A superb shrub for beds, accents and in natural settings.
The Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea will grow in full sun and also in partial shade, tolerating drier soil and more sun than other hydrangeas will. It grows best in moist but well-drained soils – avoid wet and low-lying areas. Free of pests or diseases it needs no regular pruning, and pruning in spring can reduce or eliminate the blooms. This plant is free of pests or diseases and very easy to grow. Thrives in the southeast with hot and humid summers.
We all love hydrangeas, and there is much more to them than the traditional mophead type in pink or blue, lovely as those are. With our modern trend to more natural and informal gardening, our native oakleaf hydrangea has grown hugely in popularity. Of course it has always been popular in the South, and although it has been a long time since its chance discovery in a nursery in Alabama, the Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea remains an outstanding and valuable plant. The big, bold leaves are just the beginning, because this plant quickly erupts with huge, 15-inch long heads of sparkling blossoms that arch up and over into a cascade of beauty. Because the flowers are double they are sterile, so it stays attractive in bloom for longer, and it comes into bloom sooner – a combination guaranteed to keep your garden smothered in summer snow for months.
The Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea is a rounded deciduous shrub that quickly grows 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, forming a valuable shrub for your garden. The large leaves are not at all like regular hydrangeas. They are 8 inches long and 5 inches wide, slightly leathery, with a slightly rough surface that is dark green on the top and silvery-green underneath. The leaves are divided into 5 lobes, with irregular serrations on the edges, and resemble some giant leaf from an oak tree. In winter they stay on the bush until it is very cold, turning beautiful wine shades of dark red and purple before falling.
Blooms begin early – as soon as April in very warm zones, but generally by mid-summer. These grow at the ends of stems growing on older branches, and they are a long, conical head of many blooms, between 12 and 15 inches long. Unlike other oakleaf hydrangeas the flowers have many petals in layers, forming a double bloom almost an inch across. These double blooms make the flower head far more striking and attractive than on other oakleaf hydrangeas. They also add weight, causing the bloom heads to arch over and even cascade in the most attractive way. The flowers are white with some green petals, and they open slowly and stay open week after week. The blooms gradually turn rosy-red and eventually a sandy brown for the winter.
This fabulous shrub is perfect almost anywhere in your garden. Plant it in shrub beds behind smaller shrubs, or in the corners of beds. Grow it along a wide driveway or path, or use it in natural and native gardens as a color boost. For blooms in summer after spring flowers are over, it’s a winner because it stays in bloom for so very many weeks. It can even be grown in large tubs and planters.
The SNOWFLAKE Oakleaf Hydrangea is hardy all the way from zone 5 to zone 9, growing best and most vigorously in warmer states of the southeast.
The versatile shrub is more sun-resistant and drought resistant than traditional hydrangeas, and it will grow in full sun as well as in areas that are bright but shaded. Too much shade will reduce flowering, but it is still a handsome foliage plant, and full sun gives the best fall colors. It will grow in all well-drained soils, including drier soil, although the best and biggest growth is in richer, moist soils. It does need good drainage, so avoid wet and low-lying parts of your garden.
Generally untroubled by pests or diseases, the Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea is easy to grow and a very satisfying plant to have in your garden. It doesn’t need much attention – removing the dead flower heads back to the first buds is all it needs. You don’t need to prune, just remove any weak or broken branches. Don’t trim in spring or later than July, or flowering will be reduced.
Oak-leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia grows in damp woodlands all the way from Georgia into Florida and Louisiana. It is the State Wildflower of Alabama, which is also where the variety called SNOWFLAKE™ originated. Edgar Gaines Aldridge was born into his father’s nursery business, and one day in 1969 he and his father Loren found by chance a unique plant. It is not clear if they found it in the woods near their nursery in Bessemer, Alabama, or in the nursery itself, but this unique plant caught their attention with its huge heads of double flowers. They named it ‘Brido’ and patented it in 1971. That patent, PP# 3,047, expired in 1991, but their trademarked name, Snowflake™, continues to be the name it is always known by.
The renowned plant expert Michael Dirr is among many who have praised this plant – he said it was the most beautiful of all double oakleaf hydrangeas. With that as a recommendation, don’t hesitate to plant the Snowflake Oakleaf Hydrangea – you will be so glad you did. But order now, because it is always so popular that it sells out almost as soon as we bring stock in.