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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETICS, GENETIC IMPROVEMENT, AND IMPROVED PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY OF NURSERY CROPS

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit

Title: ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Munchkin’ Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Author
item Reed, Sandra

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 14, 2010
Publication Date: December 20, 2010
Citation: Reed, S.M. 2010. ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Munchkin’ Oakleaf Hydrangeas. HortScience. 45(12):1908-1909.

Interpretive Summary: Two compact oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) cultivars were released by the U.S. National Arboretum. ‘Ruby Slippers’ has grown 3.5 feet high and 5 feet wide in 7 years. In early summer, it is covered with 9 inch long inflorescences that are held upright above the foliage. Flowers open white, but quickly turn pale pink and then deepen to rose. ‘Munchkin’ has grown 3 feet high and 4.5 feet wide in 9 years. In early summer, it produces abundant, 6.5 inch long inflorescences that are held upright above the foliage. Flowers open white and gradually turn medium pink. Both cultivars are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8 and can be grown in full sun or light shade. ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Munchkin’ are well suited for use as specimen plants, in mass plantings or in the shrub border. Because of their small size, they are particularly useful in small residential landscapes. Both cultivars were selected for compact growth habit and attractive flowering characteristics. Because inflorescences are held above the foliage and covered with large sepals, the cultivars offer outstanding visual appeal. Both cultivars should be available to the retail market in 2011 or 2012.

Technical Abstract: Two compact oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) cultivars were released by the U.S. National Arboretum. ‘Ruby Slippers’ originated from a controlled cross between oakleaf hydrangeas ‘Pee Wee’ and ‘Snow Queen’ that was made in 1998. It has grown 3.5 feet high and 5 feet wide in 7 years. In early summer, ‘Ruby Slippers’ is covered with 9 inch long inflorescences that are held upright above the foliage. Flowers open white, but quickly turn pale pink and then deepen to rose. ‘Munchkin’ originated from open-pollinated seed of the oakleaf hydrangea ‘Sikes Dwarf’ that was collected in 1997. It has grown 3 feet high and 4.5 feet wide in 9 years. In early summer, ‘Munchkin’ produces abundant, 6.5 inch long inflorescences that are held upright above the foliage. Flowers open white and gradually turn medium pink. Both cultivars are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8 and can be grown in full sun or light shade. Plants are readily propagated in the nursery from softwood cuttings using 4000 ppm IBA, with rooting occurring within four to six weeks. Plants were distributed to cooperating nurseries for evaluation in 2006 and 2007, and for stock increase in 2008. ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Munchkin’ are well suited for use as specimen plants, in mass plantings or in the shrub border. Because of their small size, they are particularly useful in small residential landscapes. Both cultivars were selected for compact growth habit and attractive flowering characteristics. Because inflorescences are held above the foliage and covered with large sepals, the cultivars offer outstanding visual appeal.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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