Botanical: Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Common: Smooth Hydrangea
General Characteristics: Annabelle' is a smooth hydrangea cultivar which features much larger flowers than the species. It is a deciduous shrub with a rounded habit which typically grows 3-5' tall. Clusters of sterile, white flowers appear in huge, symmetrical, rounded heads (corymbs) which typically grow 8-12" across. Blooms in June for up to two months, sometimes with a small repeat bloom in the fall. Dark green, serrate leaves (3-8" long).
Tip: Although 'Annabelle' stems are erect and generally considered to be stronger than those of the species, the heaviness of the flower heads, particularly when moistened by rain, can cause the heads to droop to the ground and thus require staking. 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. Pruning stems back to the ground in late winter each year helps promote stem vigor.
Use: Mass in a part shade area of the mixed shrub border for long-lasting and often spectacular summer bloom. Great cut flower. Also a good specimen or accent for protected locations near homes or patios.