Hydrangea arborescens var. 'Annabelle,' Smooth Hydrangea 'Annabelle'

Our magnificent hedge of Annabelle Hydrangea

This medium-sized shrub is clearly not a Minnesota native species, but it does do well here and most are thoroughly surprised to hear that Hydrangea arborescens, Smooth Hydrangea, is native to to the eastern deciduous forest from Maine to Louisiana, Nebraska to Illinois. What? Yes, its true. Furthermore, the one with giant summertime pom poms of white flowers is a cultivar of a naturally occurring sport found in the woods of Illinois roughly one hundred years ago by Harriet Kirkpatrick, from the town of....wait for it....Anna. There's more to the story, but no time for that now. Ask me about it at the nursery while gazing over our curving hedge of 'Annabelle.'

People ask me about hydrangea all the time. There are different species. This one, Smooth Hydrangea, likes part shade but can tolerate full sun here in Minnesota as long as it receives ample moisture (think HYDRA-ngea) or is planted in moisture-holding clay. The deer browse the leaves -only a fence will stop that by they hardly do enough damage to throw in the towel and the plant often sends up new branches with new flowers later on. 

These do not turn blue, pink or any other color other than greenish before fully open and blushed-tawny when dried. Clip them down to 12 inches, give or take, at fall cleanup if desired. Will slowly expand outward but will not show up in the next town over. Three cheers for that.

Blooms: white, July through August with dried flowers long-lasting

Height: 4 feet

Conditions: sun to pt shade, moist-medium to medium soils