Recently I learned, contrary to local belief, oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) are not native to the Northeast. Interestingly, this shrub was listed in a favorite book: Native Plants of the Northeast by Donald J. Leopold. The author does reveal in his introduction that he included a few plants, like the oakleaf hydrangea, that grow naturally just outside the Northeast but adapt well to our Northern range. Its natural range is actually the Southeast. As you can tell, it's adapted well in my Hamptons garden.
I have planted several groupings of the fullsize varieties ('Snow Queen' and 'Alice') plus the smaller 'Pee Wee' variety placed in tighter spaces. The largest are pruned lightly and now stand about 8 feet tall.
The Pee Wees are about 4 feet high. I do prune these a bit every year or so to keep them within the allotted areas. However, they bloom on old wood so too much pruning will reduce the following year's bloom count.
All varieties bloom better with some sun. Without sun, you'll get mostly leaves.
The fall color is beautiful as the leaves turn a purple/maroon color and the blooms turn pinkish. The bare branches with their peeling bark adds architecture to the winter garden as well.
This all-American shrub deserves a place in your garden.