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Hydrangea Annabelle: How to care for and combine the perennial bloomer! Tips for planting, fertilizing, pruning and propagation.

Ball hydrangeas are among the most beautiful perennial bloomers in the home garden. Particularly popular among amateur gardeners is the hydrangea Annabelle. The compact shrub can be effectively staged both in the tub, as well as in the flower bed.

The Annabelle hydrangea: the most important facts at a glance

Hydrangea Annabelle combine choose suitable companion plants

The ball hydrangea is a medium-sized shrub with an upright habit and with large, usually white (but can also be pink or purple) flowers. This variety is usually very easy to care for and undemanding, and feels at home both in containers and in the flower bed. The main thing is to find a place in the garden, protected from the wind.

When to plant Annabelle?

Planting ball hydrangea tips for proper location

Unlike other hydrangea species, which are sensitive to frost and cold and therefore need to be planted in the ground in spring after the Ice Saints at the latest, Annabelle snowball hydrangea is frost-hardy. So if you missed the right time in the spring, you can plant them in the fall, after the end of flowering.

The minimum distance between hydrangeas should be 120 cm. Since the shrubs are shallow-rooted, they need more space to develop their root system.

The young plants need plenty of water in the first few weeks. Never let the soil dry out, it should always be moist. To avoid the rapid evaporation of water, you can cover the soil with a layer of mulch 1.5 cm thick. For this purpose, it is best to use natural materials such as needle litter, bark mulch or straw.

The right location for the ball hydrangea

Hydrangea Annabelle as a screen in the garden

Ball hydrangea feels comfortable in the sun, as well as in light and partial shade. Like all plants from the family “Hydrangeaceae”, Annabelle needs regular and generous watering. Therefore, if it is located in full sun, then you should pay attention to the adequate water supply and possibly adjust it to the plant needs.

How fast does hydrangea Annabelle grow?

The snowball hydrangea gains 10 to 50 cm in height every year. The speed of growth depends on the care and location. Thus, the ornamental shrub can grow up to 130 cm wide and 150 cm high. The dense and broad-bushy growth with several basal shoots is typical for the variety.

When is the flowering time?

Annabelle forms its first large ball-shaped flowers as early as the end of June. They not only decorate the flower bed, but are also ideal as cut flowers. Thanks to their size, the flower balls also cut a good figure as soloists in the vase.

Combine the forest hydrangea: Which companion plants are suitable?

Hydrangea Annabelle planting partners for the sun


Companion plants for shade and partial shade: Popular planting partners for the shade garden are Japanese maple and boxwood. In light shade or sun, the variety is great with German irises and pink petunias.

Planting a flower bed in partial shade: suitable companion plants are geraniums “Rozanne”, Rudbeckia “Goldsturm”, White Nattenwurz “Chocolate” and large-leaved Caucasian forget-me-not.

Planting tip for sunny lawn edges: in full sun, combine hydrangea along with begonias, beach silverweed, wood sorrel, phlox, white stonecrop, common loosestrife, Fournier’s tourney, and student flowers.

Popular ball hydrangea varieties

Hydrangea pink Annabelle variety with large flowers

Hydrangea “Strong Annabelle” is an extremely hardy plant that prefers a nutrient-rich and well-drained soil. It tolerates topiary and blooms only on this year’s wood. Uses: group shrub, as a hedge plant and cut flower.

The variety “Pink Annabelle” has large inflorescences (about 10 cm) with intense pink color . The flowering period of the variety is from June to August. Uses: group shrub, as a hedge plant and cut flower.

How to care for the hydrangea Annabelle?

Support hydrangeas when the flowers are too heavy


As with all hydrangeas, proper care plays a crucial role in the cultivar “Annabelle”. The small shrub needs plenty of water and appropriate fertilizer to grow quickly and form flowers.

Properly support the snowball hydrangea

The large flower balls are heavy and, if not properly supported, can hang apart and even snap off. To prevent this, you can stabilize the shoots with a support ring. This is best put in place when planting, but can alternatively be used at the beginning of the flowering season.

Hydrangea support correctly tips

This is what you should pay attention to when fertilizing

By the way, the appropriate fertilizer can also make the shrub more stable. Annabelle prefers rhododendron fertilizer, which contains all the essential nutrients. Thomas meal, horn shavings and cow dung are also perfectly suitable for this purpose. However, like other varieties of hydrangea, Annabelle can poorly tolerate lime, so it is better not to use lime fertilizers.

Cut hydrangea Annabelle: How and when?

Annabelle cut how and when instructions

Annabelle tolerates pruning very well, as long as it is done in the spring. This gives the shrub enough time to sprout again and recover. The snowball hydrangea will thank you with a magnificent bloom. However, it may happen that the flower balls are too heavy and the shoots need to be supported.

As an alternative, you can shorten the hydrangea by only one-third. In this case, the flower balls will not grow as large and the plant will be fine without a support ring.

If you cut off withered flowers by the beginning of August, you can encourage the so-called second flowering. Thus, the hydrangea will bloom until October.

Propagating the woodland hydrangea

The woodland hydrangea is propagated by cuttings. This is usually done in the months of May and June. If you missed the right moment, you can divide Annabelle in the fall.