Plant profile Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle
I first came across the Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle when we were living in Cheshire.
I was not familiar with it. Thinking it may be a form of Paniculata
I started to do some research and eventually traced it to being the North American Hydrangea (Arborescens Annabelle.)
The one I saw in Cheshire had blooms the size of a football (soccer ball)
This one shown today was planted in the front garden in early April of 2017 which was not long after we arrived here in Fife.
It took hold made a bit of growth and developed a few flower heads. We can get strong winds here, seems to be worse at the front of the house. It soon became clear that Annabelle was struggling in this situation.
Taking a chance in late June of 2017, I lifted the shrub, potted it up and placed it in a very sheltered spot in the courtyard garden where it has settled down and is much happier and looking pretty good this year.
Unlike the macrophilia mophead hydrangea, Arborescens flowers on new growth made in the current season. You can choose to cut it right down to ground level, cut the stems back by half or leave it unpruned, whatever you do, it will flower.
The largest of blooms are achieved by pruning hard to the ground. There, may lie a problem.
Hydrangea Arborescence Annabelle has difficulty supporting those huge flowerheads. The branches just aren’t strong enough, a downpour may well see your prized shrub with stems lying horizontally.
Fine if you can find an adequate manner to support your shrub.
I will use the safer option. In autumn or early Spring, cut the stems back by half. Completely cut out wayward and old stems.
Removing the branch length by half will benefit in two ways, the flowers will be smaller as you can see in my pictures (far from insignificant) and the stems will be stronger.
Even with this procedure, your Hydrangea will still require a bit of support.
• Height – maximum height of 5ft
• Pruning – as given in the information above
• Position – semi-shade but will still grow well in full sun if given plenty of water
• Soil – happy in any free draining garden soil acid to alkaline
• Hardiness – fully hardy deciduous shrub