Friday, July 29, 2011

Annabelle Hydrangea Has Some Worthy Competition

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Photo taken in my garden July 2011
Annabelle Hyrangea has long been a favourite of gardeners and landscapers alike.  It's large white pom pom like blooms (up to 10" in diameter) start out green then turn to white then gradually fade back to green. Annabelle grows to be aproximately 3-4' tall and wide with a long blooming time from summer all the way to fall.

Annabelle blooms on new wood and thus is a dependable bloomer year after year (unlike the big leaf hydrangeas). It is hardy to zone 3,  tolerates heat and humidity and performs well even in shady gardens. Annabelle is truly an amazing hydrangea but it's biggest pit fall is it's weak stems which are often unable to support the weight of its large blooms (especially after a rain or overhead watering).  Gardeners through-out the years have tried every trick imaginable to try to support and tie up these floppy stems in order to prevent breakage.

Breeders have been working hard over the years improve Annabelle and to create better and stronger varieties. Proven Winners® is one such breeder and has developed four amazing hydrangea varieties that are sure to give Annabelle some stiff competition.

They are as follows:
  • Limelight Hydrangea paniculata
  • Little Lime  Hydrangea paniculata
  • Incrediball® Hydrangea arborescens
  • Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea arborescens

Limelight Hydrangea paniculata
Photo taken in my garden July 2011

'Limelight' Hydrangea  paniculata grows to be much taller than annabelle at 6-7' and it's blooms are more conical rather than round. It is said to be the most most urban tolerant and very difficult to kill. It is also more drought tolerant with stronger branching. Little Lime Hydrangea paniculata is a dwarf version maturing to aproximately 3-5'.

Incrediball® Hydrangea arborescens
Incrediball® Hydrangea  arborescens is brand new on the scene but looks very promising. It grows to an average height of 4-5' with super sized, white pom pom blooms that can measure up to 12" in diameter. As with annabelle it blooms on new wood and as such is a dependable bloomer but the branches are much stronger and can bare the weight of it's super sized blossoms. It also is fairly shade tolerant.

Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea arborescens.
Another interesting hydrangea to arrive on the scene is a pink annabelle, Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea  arborescens. It has all the characteristics of annabelle but in this new pink colour.


  1. I love the "super-sized pompoms" of the Incrediball! Will look good surrounding a patio.

  2. I'm in love with that incrediball too!