Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’
Habit: Domed small to normal shrub, 1.5-(3) m tall; 1-1.5 m wide; usually upright, but often hanging to the ground from the weight of the flowers; fast-growing, up to 1-2 m a year.
Flowers: Football-size, white flower balls; initially green-white, gradually white, later milky green, for weeks from July to beginning of September.
Fruits: None, but the brown, withered flower balls look like fruit and persist into early spring, providing pretty contrasts in hoarfrost.
Leaves: Broadly elliptical, light green, light yellow in autumn.
Roots: Shallow; forming runners in light soil, ‘tame’ in heavy soil.
Demands: Sun to semi-shade, frost hardy, likes high humidity.
Soil: Fresh to moist, acidic to slightly alkaline, humic substrates; nutritious; always water in droughts or hot spells.
Our tip: Can be treated like a perennial or semi-shrub, i.e. can be cut back to the ground in early spring each year. This will produce more luxurious flowers with huge flower balls; if part of the shoots or a second plant is cut in mid-June, the flowers are delayed but then last into September; staggered cutting can produce a succession of flowers lasting several months.
Hardiness: Zone 6