I have oakleaf hydrangeas in sun, part shade, and shade. The one in the shade hasn’t ever flowered but I love the leaves so it gets to stay in the garden. The ones in part shade and sun both flower and are beautiful. Your Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea was maybe accustomed to frequent waterings at the nursery. And, perhaps some shade. It probably wasn’t happy with the move and change in conditions. And, needed extra water to help it get settled in. If it was moved and planted on a hot, windy day, that just made matters worse. I’m sorry you had that experience and hope you will give it another try. Please take a look at our planting and care guide for ideas on how to get plants settled in to their new homes.
Thanks for writing!