Hydrangeas not to be ignored
Breeders from the Netherlands to North Carolina keep working for bud-hardier Big-Leaf Hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) and shorter panicle hydrangeas—the easy ones that used to be seven feet tall. More native Hydrangea arborescens, like your old friend ‘Annabelle’ (but shorter and not so big and floppy), can be found this year, some even blushing or mauve colored.
Tim Zimmerman, a grower from New Jersey representing the greatly respected Medford Nursery, recommends new and improved Hydrangea arborescens, chosen for smaller size and strong stems, such as the tiny ‘Wee White’ (one to two feet tall), ‘Mini Mauvette’ (three by three feet), Invincibelle® ‘Limetta, and Lime Rickey. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime’ is smaller than the ever popular and tall ‘Limelight.’
If your H. macrophylla disappoints—no “endless” blooms or any at all—or your Annabelles are too floppy, look further into the wonderful world of hydrangeas. The breeders know what you want. Just do read the labels for size and habit.