How Far To Cut Back Annabelle Hydrangea

  • Annabelle hydrangeas, also known as smooth hydrangeas, bloom on fresh wood, or more specifically, the growth of the current season. The optimum time to prune your bushes is in the late fall or very early spring to ensure that you are not removing any buds.
  • Your Annabelles can be deadheaded at any time to remove the wasted flowers. A harsh pruning can occasionally be beneficial for annabelles, but don’t do it every year.
  • Go ahead and perform a harsh pruning in the late fall if your bushes are frail and lanky or if your blossoms are small. Reduce the stems to around 18 inches so that the new growth has a strong support system. In the spring, your bushes will develop in thickness and have larger blossoms.

Note from the author: Some professional gardeners advise pruning Annabelles in the late winter or early spring. Others contend that late fall pruning is acceptable. This is how it was described to me when I initially found it confusing: once the growing season begins, do not trim or chop back your Annabelles. So when should an Annabelle hydrangea be pruned? Pruning is acceptable in the very early spring, late winter, or late fall.

Are Annabelle hydrangeas more likely to bloom on older wood?

This plant may also be known to many of you as the Annabelle hydrangea. Pruning can be done in late winter or early spring because this type also blooms on new wood.

Hydrangea quercifolia, often known as oakleaf hydrangea:

This hydrangea, which is well-known for its oak-shaped leaves, blooms on old wood, so unless you absolutely must prune, wait until after the plant has completed flowering for the year.

(Hydrangea petiolaris) Climbing

Hydrangeas that climb are really unusual. Depending on the variety, they can grow to be 70′ tall! You shouldn’t prune this hydrangea unless you need to keep it smaller in size because it blooms on old wood.

We hope this clarifies some of the ambiguity surrounding whether or not to prune your hydrangeas. We welcome your inquiries below and look forward to meeting you at the nursery soon.

How are Annabelle hydrangeas prepared for the winter?

If the hydrangea has to be renewed, prune it when the barren branches are showing in the fall dormancy. Since Annabelle blooms on fresh wood, dormant pruning has no effect on the number of blooms. At ground level, remove a few of the oldest stems. Once you have removed one-third of the plant, keep taking out the oldest wood.


Place your Annabelle hydrangea where it will be shielded from the summer’s sweltering afternoon sun. A well-established shrub in an open area that you inherited needs more water in the summer.


Since the Annabelle hydrangea blooms profusely in the spring, some gardeners cut it down to the ground every fall. But if you can, avoid this severe pruning. It weakens the plant, and eventually the hydrangea stalks might need to be anchored.

How deep should I trim my hydrangeas?

Remove up to one-third of the older living stems from the hydrangea each summer, cutting them all the way to the ground. The plant will recover as a result. Before the end of July, if required, prune back the plant to regulate its growth and give the buds time to grow. Usually, the plant grows back to its previous size right away.

Which month do you prune back hydrangeas?

Depending on which group the plant belongs to, the timing and extent of pruning are determined:

Advice on Pruning for Group 1:

  • As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder in the late summer and fall, buds for the following year’s blooms start to form.
  • Typically, removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches is all that is required to preserve shape, size, and a healthy plant. Otherwise, gentle pruning ought to be practiced.
  • In the summer, trimming should begin as soon as flowering ends, but no later than August 1. Pruning should not be done in the fall, winter, or spring because you risk removing fresh buds.
  • Tip-pruning the branches in the spring as the leaves begin to appear can promote more numerous, smaller flower heads as opposed to fewer, larger flower heads.

Advice on Pruning for Group 2:

  • On the growth of the current year, flower buds form.
  • Early in the spring, as the leaves are starting to emerge, prune.
  • Just above a node, prune branches back by half to a third.
  • After that, prune any fragile or spindly branches.
  • Minimal trimming encourages huge, strong bushes with many of tiny flower heads in H. arborescens. Hard pruning between 12 and 18 inches from the ground, or even all the way down, will result in fewer but larger flower heads that may flop if unsupported.
  • For H. paniculata, remove the surrounding smaller wood while leaving the larger stems in order to establish a sturdy foundation.

Pruning may be connected to flower head size. Shoots will grow more vigorously and flower heads will be bigger and fewer with more rigorous trimming. Smaller but more numerous flower heads may result from less aggressive or tip pruning.

Consideration of hydrangeas’ mature size is the best piece of advise. Place them in a location where they won’t outgrow and won’t need a lot of pruning to keep them in check. Hydrangeas don’t need to be pruned precisely or often; as long as dead wood is removed, they will remain healthy and continue to develop and bloom.

Which hydrangeas ought to be left alone?

Here are several common hydrangea varieties and when to prune them:

  • The most popular species of big-leaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophyla, are the well-known mopheads and lacecaps, which come in a variety of shades including blue, violet, pink, purple, red, and white. After flowering, trim them since they blossom in the early summer on old wood.
  • Hydrangea quercifolia, sometimes known as oakleaf hydrangea, is a native hydrangea with cone-shaped white blooms that turn a stunning shade of russet in the late summer. It too blooms on old wood, thus pruning shouldn’t be done before flowering.
  • Panicle hydrangeas, Hydrangea paniculata: These shrubs (Tardivas, PeeGees) burst into panicle-shaped white flowers in mid- to late summer and are frequently pruned into tree forms. Prune these in the early spring before they produce new foliage since they blossom on fresh wood.
  • Hydrangea arborescens, ‘Annabelle’: This variety flowers on new wood as well, so prune in early spring. In the spring, the globe-shaped blooms start out chartreuse and gradually turn white.

recurring, or “Reblooming hydrangeas: This unique breed of hydrangeas was developed to bloom multiple times throughout the growing season. They come in a variety of colors, and “Endless Summer” is one of the most well-known cultivars. This means that these hydrangeas can be pruned at any time because they bloom on both old and new wood.

Remove any dead branches and limbs from a hydrangea that blooms on old wood before thinning down the center of the plant to allow more sunlight to enter. The Tardiva and PeeGee types, which flower on fresh wood, can be trimmed judiciously by removing branches that don’t conform to the plant’s desired shape or regulate size. The most extreme haircuts are available for ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas, which can have their entire shrub cut back to six to twelve inches above ground.

Do you now comprehend why the query “One of the biggest mysteries in gardening is when to prune my hydrangeas.

Do Annabelle hydrangeas require pruning in the spring?

You are correct to think that this appears to be a bit of a jumble. Sadly, Annabelle! Her equivalent of a poor hair day is this.

One of the greatest flowering shrubs for a small city garden is the Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’. It thrives in an urban environment and is compact and slightly shade tolerant, producing a lot of white pompom or mophead flowers.

Like all hydrangeas, it does put on a greater show when it is damp. ‘Annabelle’ was extremely content in my garden last summer because of all the rain. After flowering, I did as usual and left the drying heads during the winter to catch the snow. She does, however, appear stressed and terribly in need of a haircut at this time of year.

Nothing could actually be simpler if you are certain that you have “Annabelle.” On the wood from the current season, it produces its blossoms. Pruning should therefore be done in late winter or early spring. Simply locate the initial cluster of hefty new buds, as seen in the image above, and trim the stem back to just above this new growth.

In the late winter before the new growth emerges, you can sharply chop back almost to the ground if you have a lusty plant and wish to contain it. Or, as I do, you can leave more of the main woody stem to provide the heavy heads in my shade-deprived garden with greater support. Anytime, trim any dead branches to the ground; they will be brittle and obvious to see.

When you’re done, your bush should resemble this more. About 18–24 (50–60 cm) above the ground, the stems will be.

But be cautious. Not every hydrangea blooms on young wood. Your hydrangeas must be pruned differently if they produce pink, blue, or oakleaf-shaped blooms or if they have lobed leaves that resemble an oak leaf. Otherwise, you risk losing the flower buds. And that’s not what we want!

For more on various pruning requirements, visit the excellent website All About Hydrangeas hosted by American Hydrangea Society member Judith King. She also provides you with a useful identification guide so you can distinguish between your hydrangeas.

How Big Do Annabelle Hydrangeas Get?

The Annabelle Hydrangea, which can reach a height of up to five feet and displays a stunning display of huge snow-white blossoms, is categorized as a mounding shrub due to its wide spreading when it is at its maximum size. The Annabelle Hydrangea is one of the most widely grown flowering shrub species in the world thanks to its stunning, fantastic blossoms and adaptability to full or partial sun.

How Fast Do Annabelle Hydrangeas Grow?

Annabelle hydrangeas planted in the spring will bloom in the middle to end of the summer. Annabelle hydrangeas may also bloom in the early fall, depending on the growing environment. This plant rests in dormancy until the next spring after its final flowering. With the right care, it can withstand harsh winters pretty well and will bloom for many years.

Can Annabelle Hydrangeas Take Full Sun?

Annabelle hydrangeas can be planted in full sun or partial shade, but as with most plants, too much direct sunshine can stress them out and make them wilt. In the warmer, southern parts of the US, when growing Annabelle Hydrangeas, keep in mind how much stronger the sun is in the summer and think about putting them in partial shade or covering plants for a few hours in the afternoon. The best locations for Annabelle Hydrangea planting are those that get full morning sun and half afternoon sun.

How Do You Prune an Annabelle Hydrangea?

In order to encourage a second cycle of magnificent blooms, Annabelle hydrangeas respond well to pruning by removing faded blossoms and a few inches of new growth. Wait until late September or early October before pruning. Never prune flowers until they have faded noticeably. An Annabelle Hydrangea plant’s thorough renewal pruning entails eliminating the oldest stalks all the way to the ground. Just before spring, cut any stems that are protruding above the soil’s surface to promote growth as the sun’s energy increases.

Overly dry soil

To keep Annabelles moist, plant them in rich, humus soil or mulch the soil with two to three inches of wood chips. Every Hydrangea has a short root system that is prone to drying out.

Diseases such as rust, powdery mildew, and leaf spots

Plant your annabelles in regions with good air circulation to protect them from these illnesses. Instead of utilizing overhead sprinklers to water plants, drip irrigation performs better at keeping plants disease-free. Plant diseases like mildew and leaf spot can be treated with fungicides on hydrangeas.

Pests such as mites or aphids

The Annabelle Hydrangea’s stems and leaves contain plant liquids that mites and aphids feed on, robbing the plant of the nourishment it needs to blossom. Sticky honeydew covering the leaves is a surefire symptom of an aphid or mite infestation. Plants can be treated with horticultural oils or insecticidal soap to get rid of mites or aphids.

When Do Annabelle Hydrangeas Bloom?

Beginning in late June, Annabelle Hydrangeas bloom all the way through mid to late September. Annabelles may bloom later if they are lightly pruned in the early spring as opposed to heavily pruned plants.

Are Annabelle Hydrangeas Deer Resistant?

Deer won’t deliberately seek for Annabelle Hydrangeas to eat, but if they do, they will happily munch on the flowers, leaves, and branches. When deer won’t leave Annabelle alone, there is deer repellent spray that is safe to apply on her. However, Annabelle Hydrangeas require monthly application of deer repellent spray to maximize its efficacy.

How are hydrangeas and arborescens Annabelle pruned?


  • In warmer parts of the UK, prune between mid-March and mid-April.
  • Trim back flowering stems to a bud that is healthy and about 10 cm (4 in) below the flower.
  • Remove any sick or damaged stems as low as you can.