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Noon Edition

Smooth Hydrangeas

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In my zone 5 garden, I find that the smooth hydrangeas, botanical name Hydrangea arborescens, are low maintenance as well as showy and flower on new wood so have peak bloom in summer and fall.

Most of us are familiar with the old-fashioned, white mop-head blossoms of the popular variety ‘Annabelle.’ It grows in zones 4-9 in sun or part shade with a height of 4-5 feet and a width of 3-5 feet and is durable and long lasting. Mophead blooms pair well with lots of other flowers in the garden as well as in a bouquet. I use them with monarda (bee balm), for example.

H. invincibelle is a more compact smooth hydrangea shrub like ‘Annabelle’ that blooms at the same time, but it has been bred to have flop-proof stems that hold the heavy headed blooms aloft, and so they do even better in a vase. These smooth hydrangea shrubs can be used on slopes because of their loose branching habit and showy rounded heads. But they look good almost anywhere.

‘Annabelle’, as well as most hydrangeas, grow well from cuttings, especially if the cuttings are taken when the stems are soft in June. I have a friend who has populated her garden with them by watching the weather forecast and sticking stem pieces directly into the ground in desired locations when there is rain coming. This is an easy way to acquire more of these beauties.

Vintage photo of two small children next to an enormous smooth hydrangea.

Vintage photo of two small children next to an enormous smooth hydrangea shrub, 1903. (New York Public Library, public domain)

In my zone 5 garden, I find that the smooth hydrangeas, botanical name Hydrangea arborescens, are low maintenance as well as showy and flower on new wood so have peak bloom in summer and fall.

Most of us are familiar with the old-fashioned, white mop-head blossoms of the popular variety ‘Annabelle.’ It grows in zones 4-9 in sun or part shade with a height of 4-5 feet and a width of 3-5 feet and is durable and long lasting. Mophead blooms pair well with lots of other flowers in the garden as well as in a bouquet. I use them with monarda (bee balm), for example.

H. invincibelle is a more compact smooth hydrangea shrub like ‘Annabelle’ that blooms at the same time, but it has been bred to have flop-proof stems that hold the heavy headed blooms aloft, and so they do even better in a vase. These smooth hydrangea shrubs can be used on slopes because of their loose branching habit and showy rounded heads. But they look good almost anywhere.

‘Annabelle’, as well as most hydrangeas, grow well from cuttings, especially if the cuttings are taken when the stems are soft in June. I have a friend who has populated her garden with them by watching the weather forecast and sticking stem pieces directly into the ground in desired locations when there is rain coming. This is an easy way to acquire more of these beauties.

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