'Ruby Slippers' Oakleaf Hydrangea - a native, compact flowering shrub!

Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangea - photo by Sandra Reed

 So you want to plant a native shrub that tolerates half shade 

(shade in afternoon), 

has big blooms  in the summer 

and has great Fall color?

Oh yeah, and it should be compact, fairly minimum maintenance 

and grow to -20 degrees F.  And it should be reddish/pink.


is the answer. 

Monrovia - Ruby Slippers close up

Its 9" long flower clusters start out white, then gradually change to pink and then red, growing above the beautiful oakleaf foliage, which also turns an amazing mahogany red in the fall.   

It grows to just 3 1/2 ft. by about 5 feet wide.  Zones 5-9.

Developed by the U.S. National Arboretum in McMinnville, TN in 2010, 
the compact Ruby Slippers is a cross between Snow Queen and PeeWee hydrangea.
It does not grow higher than 4 feet. 

It is perfect for small residential gardens (such as mine). 

It also does well in planters and containers - perfect for balconies and decks!  And if you have a larger area, you can use them in a mass planting, as a striking hedge and in mixed borders. 

Blossoms remain upright even after heavy rains and strong winds. The same is true for the glorious leaves.

 Just make sure to mulch to retain soil moisture and help keep the roots cool.

Winter interest? It has lovely cinnamon exfoliating bark which is beautiful.

Ruby Slippers is spectacular anywhere it's planted.  

(this is a repeat of an earlier post but well worth re-visiting!) 


  1. Will it grow in zip code 77459 (Missouri City, TX), morning sun, mid-day shade, afternoon sun?

    1. Texas? not sure ...look at the USDA zone you are in. IT may be too hot there...how about dwarf Crepe Myrtle?

      ‘Centennial’ — Bright-purple blooms on a rounded, dense mound, 3'-5' tall and wide. Quite cold-hardy. The best purple dwarf.

      ‘Pocomoke’ — Bright-pink blooms and deep green foliage on a mounding shrub that grows 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. Great in pots.

      Razzle Dazzle Series — Mounding shrubs 3 to 4 feet tall and wide come in a wide range of colors. Do great in containers. Grumpy recommends ‘Cherry Dazzle,’ (red blooms), ‘Berry Dazzle’ (fuchsia-purple blooms and burgundy new foliage), and ‘Strawberry Dazzle’ (neon-rose flowers). ‘Raspberry Dazzle’ doesn’t bloom well.

      ‘Tightwad Red’ — Dark-red flowers on mounding plant to 4 feet tall and wide. Seedless.

      ‘Victor’ — Deep-red flowers. Grows 5-5 feet tall and wide. Cold-hardy.

  2. I love Oakleaf Hydrangea, i have not seen this variety, it is beautiful! To Anonymous - I have on on the south-side of my house here in Houston TX 77008 and it gets sun all day but not late afternoon. Check out -- http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d380 for more information.

    1. Thank you, Lauren!

    2. Thank you Laurin! Maybe I spoke too soon, Anonymous.

  3. When is the appropriate time to plan this bush? It is already mid-summer in Chicago, but Id' worry that it might not have time to root properly if I waited until Autumn.

    1. Hi Mica! If you plant it now you must be diligent about watering... we are planting oakleaf hydrangeas now with no problem....

  4. The first photo sold me, but that looks like it is in full sun.

    1. Hi Swimray - Someone told me that it does better in full sun but then another wrote that she had it in part shade and it does fine...I think part shade is the key...sun in morning and shade in afternoon....

  5. When the summer season fades into fall, we obsess over one last-standing flowering shrub: the hydrangea care. It evokes an old-fashioned charm

  6. This is a beautiful plant and I might get one for my garden. It has a dramatic look to the blossoms.

  7. Hi ! Jan Johnsen, I am interested in your blogs so much and your gardening blogs really resonated with me. Would you mind giving me your email adress so that we could communicate with each other more?

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