Hydrangea quercifolia Snow Queen (Oak-leaf Hydrangea) – This beautiful deciduous shrub with deeply-lobed, oak-leaf-shaped, dark green leaves grows to 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide and provides a showy flower display in later spring to early summer and spectacular fall foliage, in colors ranging from orange to crimson and scarlet. The inflorescence is a 6 to 8 inch tall conical clusters of white flower – the cluster hold a combination of fertile and sterile flowers with a majority being the smaller sterile flowers that fade to pink and violet. Performs best in dappled shade, full sun if adequate moisture is provided with a well-drained, acidic soil. And it is very cold hardy and planted in areas down to USDA Zone 5. We have our plants growing in the shade with only occasional irrigation in our garden. Prune as needed immediately after flowering (June-July) as new flowers are set on previous year’s growth. Cut flowers work well in dried arrangements. This award-winning selection of Hydrangea quercifolia was made by William Flemer and holds its exceptionally large flowers more upright than the species, which is native throughout the southeast and the Mississippi River Valley and can grow as a multi-stemmed shrub growing to 8 ft. tall. This plant as Hydrangea quercifolia held US Plant Patent PP4,458, issued September 4, 1979 (now expired). It was selected by William Flemer III of Princeton Nurseries in Princeton, New Jersey, for its flowers and compact habit. This plant is a 2012 winner of the Royal Horticultural Societies Award of Garden Merit. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word ‘hydra’ meaning “water” and ‘angeon’ meaning a “vessel” in reference to the shape of the seed pods and possibly also for the plant’s general affinity for water. The specific epithet was given to this plant by the American botanist John Bartram and is derived from the words Quercus, the genus of the oaks and ‘folium’ meaning a “leaf” in obvious reference to the shapes of the leaves which are similar to some of the deeply lobes oak species.’Flemygea’ The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Hydrangea querc. ‘Snow Queen’.

Oakleaf Hydrangea ‘Snow Queen’

View this plant in a garden


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer



Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Patent expired

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Jasper, Alabama

Lompoc, California

Ripon, California

San Jose, California

Lake City, Florida

Port Orange, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Woodstock, Georgia

Dixon, Illinois

Warrenville, Illinois

Calvert City, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

North Billerica, Massachusetts

Wayland, Massachusetts

Plainwell, Michigan

Mendenhall, Mississippi

Ithaca, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Mooresville, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Springboro, Ohio

Yukon, Oklahoma

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Nacogdoches, Texas

New Waverly, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

Arlington, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

East Port Orchard, Washington

Parkwood, Washington

Port Orchard, Washington

show all

Snow Queen Hydrangea in bloom

Snow Queen Hydrangea in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Snow Queen Hydrangea flowers

Snow Queen Hydrangea flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Snow Queen Hydrangea flowers

Snow Queen Hydrangea flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 6 feet

Spread: 5 feet


Hardiness Zone: 5b

Other Names: Oak Leaf Hydrangea


A phenomenally attractive shrub featuring showy upright flower spikes which fade from white to pink, interesting foliage with reliable fall color and papery bark; rather coarse in appearance, best used in groupings in a garden composition

Growing Place Choice Plants

Our Growing Place Choice plants are chosen because they are strong performers year after year, staying attractive with less maintenance when planted in the right place.

Click here for additional information.

Ornamental Features

Snow Queen Hydrangea features bold fragrant conical white flowers with pink overtones at the ends of the branches from early to mid summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green foliage which emerges grayish green in spring. The large fuzzy lobed leaves turn an outstanding brick red in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The peeling brick red bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Snow Queen Hydrangea is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its strikingly bold and coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced landscape composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Snow Queen Hydrangea is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Snow Queen Hydrangea will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

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