Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: moist, well-drained, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: July to September
- Hardiness: fully hardy
One of the loveliest hydrangeas, this has huge globes of tightly packed, creamy white bracts that look like giant snowballs in late summer. As autumn progresses, the blowsy flowerheads fade to pale lime and the dark green, pointed leaves turn soft yellow. It has an upright habit and makes a breathtaking feature in a wide, partly shady border, particularly when planted in groups or with other hydrangeas. The flowerheads are a popular choice for dried flower arrangements. These beautiful flowers are heavy which means the stems on young plant can struggle to support the weight. The stems will strenghten as the plant matures but in the early years it is best to use plant supports.
- Garden care: Hydrangeas do not like to dry out. In dry weather, soak the roots with a hose and the plant will usually recover. Remove faded flowerheads in spring after the danger of frosts, cutting back the flowered stems to a strong pair of buds. Take out misplaced or diseased shoots. Mulch young plants with a well-rotted manure or compost in spring. Once established, remove a quarter to a third of the shoots to the base of the plant.