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HYDRANGEA arborescens 'Annabelle'

Image of Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

HYDRANGEA arborescens 'Annabelle'

Plant Common Name

Annabelle Hydrangea, Smooth Hydrangea

General Description

This classic hydrangea is known for its stunning display of huge, rounded, creamy white flower clusters borne on compact, vigorous plants in summer. Much showier than the species, ‘Annabelle’ is a form of smooth hydrangea, a deciduous shrub native to woodland areas of the eastern United States. It forms a dense, rounded clump of large, dark green, oval-shaped leaves which taper to a point and have coarsely serrated edges. The globe-like flower clusters appear on the stem tips in early summer, continuing through midsummer. They are composed of mostly sterile flowers with showy tepals (petal-like sepals) which range from pale green to white as they mature, eventually drying to a pale tan at summer’s end. In areas with long summers and pleasant, mild autumn weather, the foliage may turn a pleasing lemon-yellow before reaching winter dormancy.

Grow smooth hydrangea in full sun to part shade in moist, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Where summers are very warm, provide with continual moisture to avoid browning of foliage. Smooth hydrangea flowers on the current season’s growth, and may be safely cut to the ground in late winter without sacrifice of flowers. This helps to keep the plants compact, and may be necessary if top growth is killed back following a harsh winter. Removal of spent flowers may result in a second bloom display in late summer.

This easy, vigorous shrub may be used as a large, mounded groundcover on moist, shaded hillsides or woodland gardens. ‘Annabelle’ is stunning when grown as a low hedge or grouped as part of a foundation planting, and also makes a lovely border specimen. Its billowy blooms make outstanding fresh cut flowers, and are equally popular for use in dried arrangements.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Width

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage


  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing