Oakleaf hydrangea, hydrangea quercifolia, is the official state wildflower of Alabama and can be found in every part of the state. I have heard that there are more oakleaf hydrangeas in Alabama than anywhere else on earth. I believe it. I have plenty of them in the woods surrounding my house, and I planted none of them.
It's a great, low maintenance shrub for year round interest. There are a number of beautiful cultivars, but all of mine are the native shrub. Its white summer blossoms persist for months and turn deep rose in late summer. It is deciduous with oak leaf shaped foliage that turns wonderful shades of red and burgundy in the fall. Even in winter the plant provides interest with its dried seed heads, arching structure, and the peeling bark of its stems and branches.
Oakleaf hydrangea grows four to eight feet tall and wide, in zones 6 to 9. It does best in partially shaded, naturalized areas and has average water needs. It may need pruning every few years, and you may want to remove the old seed heads before the new growth starts in the spring. Mine seem to do well even if I don't do this, but I am lucky my neighbor Betty likes this chore and usually snips mine while she is doing hers. She is a good neighbor.
Propagation is easy by root ball division, which is the quickest way to a new plant, or they can be grown from seeds or stem cuttings.
If you can't find oakleaf hydrangea growing in your area, come to my state for a visit, turn into the first woods you see, and no doubt there will be one growing right in front of you!