Annabelle hydrangeas are, in my opinion, the easiest kind of hydrangea to grow. They thrive in part shade, and they bloom reliably and beautifully all summer long. On their own, the flowers change from white to green. There’s no temptation for me, as there is with some hydrangeas, to try to change the pH of my soil in order to make them produce blue blooms rather than pink ones.
Annabelles are smooth hydrangeas, which bloom on new wood. That makes them very easy to prune: just cut down all of the old wood stems. I like to leave the dried flowers and stems up for winter interest. Then in early spring I cut them all down, as you can see in this recent video: Pruning Annabelle Hydrangeas.
You don’t even have to prune Annabelle hydrangeas at all if you don’t want to. If the plant is young and you want it to grow bigger, just remove the faded flowers. Mine are already well established, so I like to prune them hard in early spring. The new stems grow up thicker and the flowers that they produce are bigger. That’s why it’s important to have supports in place before these plants fill out. But if I don’t prune them for a year or two, it’s no biggie. The flowers will be smaller, but they are still plentiful and beautiful.
Blast from the Past
It’s an easy and satisfying garden task—so much so that I’ve posted videos about it twice before. One the earliest videos I ever posted, #10 in my series of Plant Tales, was also about pruning Annabelle hydrangeas. I feel pretty proud of myself whenever I get the early spring pruning done. Just a couple of years ago I posted a few more pictures in this short video of my Spring Prep.
Making Flower Arrangements
Because they bloom so generously, Annabelles make great cut flowers, too. I never feel bad about cutting a bunch to make a large bouquet. And a single flower on its own makes a nice display. I make arrangements using these big white blooms with cobalt blue vases and U.S. flags when I host our family’s 4th of July party every year.
My Annabelle hydrangeas have spread quite a bit over the years, so next I need to separate and dig some out. Then I can plant them elsewhere or give them away to someone else’s garden. Wouldn’t a gift of a hydrangea like this make you happy?
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