GATSBY STAR® Oakleaf Hydrangea

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

It’s amazing to see a native oakleaf hydrangea out in a woodland, but it can be hard to picture it in a 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. With Gatsby Star® you get the glam. It brings more drama than you could imagine with its array of star-shaped, double florets. These double florets are gathered atop the fertile flowers in a lacecap panicle the size of a football. It’s an unexpected treat for any garden, but especially in native or pollinator beds. Its larger size makes it a perfect candidate for hedges, screens, or as the glue that holds a foundation planting together.

Why grow Gatsby Star® oakleaf hydrangea?

  • One of the most unusual flowers you’ll ever see!
  • A native that attracts pollinators.
  • Quite shade tolerant, a great fit for those looking to spice up their low-sun spots.


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


5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Flower Color


Foliage Color







Full Sun, Part Sun


Average, Well-drained

Season of Interest



Borders, Containers, Foundations, Hedges, Low Hedges, Mass Planting, Naturalizing, Rain Gardens, Screening, Specimen, Woodland gardens


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

Blooms on

New wood

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Gardening Simplified magazine
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