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Wild hydrangea

  • Trees and Shrubs
Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Photo: Robert Mineau
 Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'



Origin and description

This small globular shrub (1.5 m x 1.5 m) forms a bouquet with its sturdy branches bearing giant flower heads. Since their weight often causes the stems to bend and sometimes break, it is best to support them. Greenish at first, the flower heads turn creamy white before becoming greyish-beige in the fall. The original species, which produces small fertile flowers and seeds, has generated several cultivars.

Species, cultivars and related plants

  • ‘Annabelle’ produces large rounded corymbs entirely composed of sterile flowers.
  • ‘Grandiflora’ (syn. ‘Snowball’) produces smaller round corymbs composed of sterile flowers with some fertile flowers.
  • ‘White Dome’ is characterized by strong stems topped with flat corymbs composed of small fertile flowers in the centre with a few large sterile flowers on the periphery.
  • ‘Incrediball’ produces an abundance of large, round, white flower heads.
  • ‘Invicibelle Spirit’ produces the smallest corymbs.


All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Common name

Wild hydrangea

Latin name (genus)

Hydrangea arborescens

English common name

French common name

Botanical family

  • Hydrangeaceae

Growing conditions

Light requirements

Sun or partial shade.


Wild hydrangea tolerates poor soil but prefers a rich, light soil that is cool, well drained and slightly acidic. It also grows very well in neutral or slightly alkaline soil. Unlike other hydrangeas, the flower colour does not vary with soil acidity.

Hardiness and protection

Hardy to Zone 3, the snow cover and mulch layer are sufficient to ensure its winter protection.

Pruning and maintenance

Wild hydrangea blooms profusely on new wood. To flower uniformly, it should be pruned annually or every two or three years in early spring before the buds open. Prune the stems back to about 10-15 cm from the ground. Without this heavy pruning, the shrub will gradually thin out at the bottom.


  • Zone 3

See also

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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