GATSBY GAL® Oakleaf Hydrangea

Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Height: 5-6' Width/Spread: 5-6'

It’s amazing to see a native oakleaf hydrangea out in a woodland, but it can be hard to picture it in the garden. That’s where the Gatsby series of H. quercifolia comes into play. This lovely native species becomes accessible to ornamental, small-scale woodland, and any other garden imaginable. Gatsby Gal® in particular is a compact selection with extra showy, full panicles of white flowers and dramatic fall foliage. Its large flowers are held away from the plant in an exclamation style, giving it an exciting firework-like appearance.

Why grow Gatsby Gal® oakleaf hydrangea?

  • Dense, white flowers look striking in the shade.
  • Compact habit makes it a good fit for many landscape roles.
  • A native that attracts pollinators.


Light: While this is the most shade-tolerant type of hydrangea, it still needs some sun to produce flowers and get lovely fall color. All day dappled light or at least 4 hours of morning sun should be sufficient. For gardens at the cooler end of the hardiness range, it will thrive in full sun. For gardens at the warmer end of the range, it benefits from placement in afternoon shade.

Soil: Prefers moist soil that drains easily. Any period of extended sogginess will not be tolerated. Soil pH does not affect flower color.

Water: Average water needs.

Fertilizing: Nothing special required. If desired, you may apply a granular fertilizer formulated for flowering woody plants in late winter/early spring when the soil is workable.

Pruning: Pruning is not generally recommended. Flower buds are formed on old wood, so any cuts will likely remove flowering potential. Dead or damaged wood can be removed at any time, just cut back to a set of leaves. If you’d like to prune to shape the plant, this can be done when the plant is starting to break dormancy in early spring or late winter.

Other: Looks its best when established in the landscape, so trust that the awkward habit it may have in its nursery pot will transform into beauty.

Botanical Name

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Brenhill' PP#25,106; CBR#5304


5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Flower Color


Foliage Color







Full Sun, Part Sun


Average, Well-draining

Season of Interest

Fall, Summer


Borders, Foundations, Hedges, Naturalizing, Specimen, Woodland gardens


Alkaline soil, Attracts pollinators, Clay soil, Fall interest, Heat tolerant, Native, Salt tolerant

Blooms On

New wood


Douglas and Brenda Hill


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Gardening Simplified magazine
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