Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Hills of Snow
 
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Family: Saxifrage Family (Saxifragaceae)
Native Habitat: Eastern U.S.

General Hydrangea arborescens Info:
Hydrangea arborescens is an easily grown flowering shrub that is native to most of the states in the eastern half of the U.S. It's a coarsely textured low grower to only 3 or 4 ft. high and quickly spreading by root suckers. The shreddy barked canes are mostly unbranched. All in all, this is not a plant grown for its graceful form. In the ornamental garden, this is a species that is all about flowers.

Blooming begins in June and continues into September; one of the longest flowering periods of any garden shrub. The large flower heads may be flat-toped to nearly ball- shaped and in some varieties approach 1 ft. in diameter. Flowers emerge apple-green, change to white, and finally age to brown. The brown flower heads make attractive dried flowers for the home.

Keep your pruning shears handy if you want the most attractive specimens. Since it flowers only on new wood, prune down hard before growth begins in spring. Otherwise plants will become ragged and unkempt. As flowers age to brown prune them off so they don't detract from the younger blooms.

This Variety:
'Annabelle' was selected by the great plantsman, J.C. McDaniel, of the University of Illinois and is surely one of the most well known Hydrangeas grown in American gardens. It was found growing in the wild near Anna, Illinois and was selected for the larger and very symmetrical flower heads and more erect stems.

 
Ornamental Characteristics: Large (up to 1 ft. across), erect, ball-shaped flower heads begin to form in June and will flower well into September. Flowers emerge light green, change to white and finally age to brown. Individual flowers are effective for up to two months.
Habit & Growth Rate: Fast grower up to 3 to 4 ft. tall.
Landscape Uses: Shrub border Mixed border. Foundation plantings.
Hardiness: Zone 4 to 7.
Culture: Easily grown plant. Prefers part shade but will grow in full shade or full sun. Best in a well drained soil that is evenly moist.
Awards: Award of Garden Merit, Royal Horticultural Society
Gold Medal Plant Award, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society