Smooth hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens Strong Annabelle = 'Abetwo' (PBR)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
hydrangea [Strong Annabelle]


The Hydrangea arborescens Strong Annabelle, commonly known as the Incrediball hydrangea, presents a stunning and robust appearance. It is characterized by its large, round flower heads, which are composed of tightly clustered, tiny florets. These blossoms have a creamy white color that can appear almost ethereal in the right light, providing a striking contrast against the plant's lush green foliage. The leaves of the Incrediball hydrangea are broad, with a somewhat oval shape and a pointed tip, sporting a deep green hue that complements the bright flowers. During the blooming season, the profuse flowers create a magnificent display that can appear as if the plant is covered in a blanket of white snowballs. This variety of hydrangea is appreciated for its stronger stems compared to some other hydrangeas, which offer the flowers sturdy support. Thus, the blooms stand out prominently and maintain their upright position even after heavy rain. The overall structure of the Incrediball hydrangea is densely branched and compact, giving it a full look that adds to its visual impact in the garden. The striking flowers and full-bodied foliage of this hydrangea make it a popular and captivating choice for landscapers and garden enthusiasts seeking to add a dramatic flair to their outdoor spaces.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Incrediball Hydrangea, Strong Annabelle Hydrangea

    • Common names

      Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle', Hydrangea arborescens var. radiata, Hydrangea arborescens var. discolor, Hydrangea arborescens 'Abetwo'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Hydrangeas, including the Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle', contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when chewed or digested. This can potentially lead to cyanide poisoning if ingested in large quantities. Symptoms of hydrangea poisoning may include stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, lethargy, and seizures in severe cases. It is advised to be cautious and avoid ingesting any part of the hydrangea plant.

    • To pets

      Hydrangeas, such as the Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle', are also toxic to pets, particularly cats and dogs. The plant contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide into the body when ingested. Symptoms of poisoning in pets may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. In severe cases, an increase in heart rate and body temperature, reduced blood pressure, and even seizures may occur. It is important to prevent pets from consuming any part of the hydrangea and to seek veterinary assistance if ingestion is suspected.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-5 feet (0.91-1.52 meters)

    • Spread

      3-5 feet (0.91-1.52 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Eastern United States


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Abundant Blooms: Strong Annabelle produces large, white globular flower heads that can be a stunning addition to any garden landscape.
    • Long Blooming Season: The plant typically enjoys a long flowering period from early summer to late fall, providing extended interest in the garden.
    • Ease of Care: It is known for being relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal maintenance once established in the right conditions.
    • Cold Hardy: This variety of hydrangea is quite hardy, tolerating harsh winter conditions well, and can survive in USDA zones 3 through 9.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies, which benefit the ecosystem by aiding in pollination.
    • Soil Flexibility: Strong Annabelle can adapt to a range of soil types, although it prefers well-drained, fertile soil with consistent moisture.
    • Pruning Tolerance: This hydrangea variety responds well to pruning, which can help to maintain a desired size and stimulate new growth.
    • Design Versatility: It can be incorporated into a variety of garden designs, including borders, hedges, or as a standalone focal point.
    • Propagates Easily: Strong Annabelle can be easily propagated from cuttings, allowing gardeners to expand their collection or share with others.
    • Supports Local Wildlife: Provides habitat and nesting opportunities for local bird species when planted in a garden setting.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Hydrangea Annabelle blooms can be dried and used for long-lasting floral arrangements. After the flowers have fully bloomed, they can be cut and placed in a dry, dark place to preserve them.
    • Annabelle Hydrangea branches can be used for wreath making, providing a strong and woody base that can be wrapped with other materials or left exposed for a rustic look.
    • When pruned, the stems of Annabelle Hydrangeas can be repurposed as garden stakes for supporting other plants due to their sturdy nature.
    • The large leaves can be used in crafting as natural templates for painting or drawing, lending their shape to creative designs.
    • The intense green foliage of the Hydrangea Annabelle during summer can be used as a backdrop in photography, giving a lush and vibrant background.
    • Annabelle Hydrangea can be planted to create a dense and decorative privacy screen in residential gardens.
    • The flowers can be used as a natural dye for textile projects, though typically this may result in subtle color changes depending on the mordant used.
    • In landscape design, the round shape and size of Annabelle Hydrangea can be used for geometric garden layouts and to provide balance in mixed borders.
    • Due to their showy flowers, Annabelle Hydrangeas can be planted as part of a wildlife garden to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
    • The woody stems, after seasonal pruning, can be used in barbecues to add a subtle, sweet-smelling smoke flavor to various dishes.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Annabelle Hydrangea is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Annabelle Hydrangea is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Heartfelt Emotions: Hydrangeas are often considered to represent genuine, deep-rooted emotions and can symbolize a person's gratefulness for understanding.
    • Gratitude: In some cultures, giving hydrangeas can express a message of thanks or gratitude to another person.
    • Apology: Some view hydrangeas as a means of offering an apology, making them suitable for forgiveness or making amends.
    • Abundance: With their lush blooms, hydrangeas can symbolize abundance or prosperity, which can reflect either material wealth or an abundance of feelings.
    • Vanity: In certain Victorian interpretations, hydrangeas can symbolize vanity or boastfulness due to their showy and extensive blossoms.
    • Frigidity: The plant has also historically been associated with frigidity or disinterest, especially in romantic contexts.
    • Fourth Wedding Anniversary: Hydrangeas are a traditional gift for fourth wedding anniversaries to symbolize appreciation and enduring love.

Twice a week
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Annabelle Hydrangea requires consistent moisture, so water it deeply once a week, providing about 1.5 gallons of water to ensure the soil is moistened thoroughly. During hot or dry spells, you may need to water twice weekly. Avoid shallow, frequent waterings, as they do not encourage deep root growth. For potted plants, adjust the watering accordingly and ensure the container provides adequate drainage. During the winter months, reduce watering slightly, but do not let the soil completely dry out.

  • sunLight

    Annabelle Hydrangeas thrive in partial shade, preferring morning sunlight and afternoon shade, especially in hotter climates. An optimal spot would be one that receives filtered light or several hours of direct sun followed by shade. Avoid deep shade or full sun locations to maintain the plant's health and enhance flower production.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Annabelle Hydrangeas are tolerant of a range of temperatures but perform best when the temperature is between 60°F and 75°F. They can survive minimum temperatures down to around 30°F but are susceptible to damage from hard freezes. These hydrangeas generally prefer to avoid the extreme heat above 95°F to prevent stress and wilting.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Annabelle Hydrangea in late winter or early spring before new growth begins to remove any old, dried-out flower heads and to shape the plant. Pruning annually encourages healthy growth and larger blooms. It's not necessary to prune back to the ground unless the plant is very old or damaged; instead, cut back by about one-third to one-half the height.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for the Annabelle Hydrangea is well-draining, rich in organic matter, and moist. An ideal pH for this plant is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. Amend garden soil with compost or peat moss to improve texture and fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    Annabelle Hydrangeas, being large shrubs, are typically not repotted as they are planted directly in the garden. If grown in containers, repotting every two to three years or when the plant outgrows its pot is sufficient.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Annabelle Hydrangeas thrive in average humidity conditions found in outdoor environments. They do not require any special humidity levels if grown in their natural setting.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, ample water, and room to grow.

    • Outdoor

      Choose part sun, moist soil, and shelter from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' starts its life cycle as a dormant, bare-root plant or from a seed and is typically planted in early spring. After planting, it enters a vegetative stage where it establishes roots and produces new stems and foliage. As the plant matures through late spring into early summer, it enters the flowering stage where it develops large, round clusters of white flowers that can last until fall. Throughout the growing season, it undergoes cycles of growth, producing new leaves and flowers annually. During fall, the plant prepares for dormancy, with leaves senescing and dropping, conserving energy in the root system as it enters winter. The 'Annabelle' hydrangea will remain dormant throughout the winter until temperature and daylight conditions trigger the start of a new growing cycle in the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating the Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle', commonly known as the Annabelle Hydrangea, is through softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer. Choose healthy, new growth that is not yet woody and make cuttings about 5 to 6 inches (12.7 to 15.24 centimeters) long. Remove the lower leaves, leaving two or three pairs at the top. Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone to encourage root development. Plant the cuttings in a mix of peat and perlite, ensuring that at least two sets of leaf nodes are below the surface. Keep the soil moist and maintain a high humidity environment around the cuttings, for example by covering them with a plastic bag, to prevent dehydration until they root, which typically takes 4 to 8 weeks. Once rooted, the young plants can be hardened off and eventually transplanted to their final location.