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Annabelle Hydrangea

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Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' White Flower
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  • USDA Hardiness Zones 4 - 9
  • Height - Quickly Reaches 5 Feet Tall
  • Spread - Quickly Reaches 5 Feet Wide
  • Full Sun to Partial Shade

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Annabelle is the best known variety of Hydrangea arborescens. Until recently, this is the only arborescens variety easy to find in garden centers or even recognized by the public.

Annabelle is a stunning white hydrangea, often producing heads over 10" in diameter. Unlike the better known blue and pink hydrangeas (macrophyllas), Annabelle blooms every year even after severe pruning or intensely cold winters. The huge, white "drumstick" blooms appear in profusion without fail. Some people plant 'Annabelle' as a hedge since it can be cut back severely in the winter for a tidy effect.

'Annabelle' makes a spectacular show in colder regions as well as very warm ones. We've had reports that it is hardy even into Zones 2 and 3 in the United States (officially rated to to Zone 3). Forms of Hydrangea arborescens are actually native to eastern parts of the United States. If your climate is too harsh to grow macrophyllas, 'Annabelle' would make a wonderful alternative.

Annabelle Hydrangea Care

Like most other hydrangeas, they prefer morning sun and afternoon shade or dappled shade all day, especially in the south. In northern areas of the U.S., 'Annabelle' thrives in all day sun. Although some books say it does better than other hydrangeas in heavy shade, I have not found this to be the case. The more morning sun it gets the better it blooms for me. Arborescens will thrive in the deep south as well as cold northern climates. (zones 8-3)

Supporting Annabelle's Heavy, Droopy Bloom Heads

Everyone who grows this beautiful hydrangea is aware of a very important challenge. The blooms on Annabelle are so large that they tend to bend to the ground after a rain. This can become a problem so severe that the entire shrub is flattened. Here are a few tricks one can use with all large blooming arborescens to reduce and even eliminate the problem.

1. Plant Annabelle next to a decorative fence. This is one of the best ideas we've seen for staking the heavy blooms of Hydrangea arborescens.

2. Plant at least three Annabelle shrubs together. As Annabelle's mature they will grow together and support one another somewhat. Plant them three to four feet apart.

3. Prune plants only sparingly. If your hydrangeas tend to flatten in the rain, it may help to prune Annabelle to about 18"-24" tall rather than cutting it to the ground every year. This will allow the stems to thicken a little each year, becoming stouter and better able to support the other branches and blooms. In addition, the heads will be more plentiful but slightly smaller (not so small that you will be disappointed). The slightly smaller heads will be less likely to droop. If you live in a more northern area, you may not be able to use this tip. The Annabelle stems may not survive the winter, and thus they will be new from the ground each year.

4. Put a short wire fence around each plant. If young Annabelle plants are surrounded by wire fencing before they put out new branches in the spring, the blooms will be held up off the ground. Garden centers often sell short (18"), green wire fencing for lining flower beds. Cut these into lengths that would encircle the base of the Annabelle (sort of like a short tomato cage). Then when the Annabelle leafs out, the wire is completely hidden.

Annabelle Hydrangea Pruning

The Annabelle Hydrangea grows blooms on new wood each year. These shrubs are vigirous bloomers, and can handle aggressive pruning. However, as stated above, only prune to 18"-24" if you would like the plant to have stronger limbs. But, you can prune back all the way to the ground each year and these amazing plants will bounce back with beautiful flowers no problem. The only time you should not prune is in the spring, as that is when the shrubs are preparing to bloom.

Annabelle Hydrangea Spacing

If you are planting a hedge, or want the shrubs to connect and help support each other, plant these 3 to 4 feet apart. Otherwise, plant these shrubs 5-6 feet apart.

Plant Addict Guarantee (Included On All Plant Orders)

Plant Addicts guarantees your plant(s) will arrive happy and healthy, but the plant(s) are being shipped through the mail and accidents happen. If the plant is dead, has dried out roots or the incorrect item was shipped just notify Plant Addicts within 3 days upon delivery. We may ask for pictures but will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Please note plant(s) with damaged branches or wilted leaves will not qualify for this guarantee. Plants are very resilient and will rebound quickly when cared for correctly.

For information on how to care for you new plant please check out our guide. Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

Plant Addicts Warranty - 1 Year (Extra Purchase Required)

We encourage all plant lovers to purchase the Plant Addicts Warranty whether you’re new or an expert. There are many variables outside our control and yours that can cause the demise of your plant(s). Examples would be hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, disease, insects & many other factors. The Plant Addicts Warranty is a 1 year warranty protecting you from all the unknowns and will replace your plant if it moves on to the plant afterlife.

The warranty is purchased on a per plant basis and must be purchased at the same time as the plant purchase. We will cover 100% of the price of the plant but the warranty does not cover shipping cost. Simply let us know if your plant has died within one year of receiving it and we’ll get you a new one shipped out. We may ask for photos for documentation purposes but again we’ll try to make it as easy as possible.

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Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

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