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Once and for all, how do YOU prune your Annabelle/Incrediball?

Posted by simcan z5b/Toronto (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 21, 12 at 11:30

Hi all. There is a remarkable and frustrating lack of consensus on how to handle pruning Annabelle/Incrediballs. Obviously you CAN coppice them (cut them to the ground) every Spring and they will send up lots of growth and flowers. You also CAN just snip off the flowers from last year and snip off any dead stems.

But what do you do, and what do you have in mind when you do it? Lots of flowers, bigger flowers, managing size, preventing flopping?


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RE: Once and for all, how do YOU prune your Annabelle/Incrediball

Since my winters are mild compared to Z5b winters, I do not usually get any dried out stems that need pruning. I also do not deahead and prefer that Mother Nature do that for me (the spent blooms fall and disappear sometime in Jan-Feb here).

Sometime after the plants go dormant but before they leaf out, I will look around to see if I need to do something about the flopping issue. It is easier to see the stems then so I try to determine if the round metal "gizmos" I have around Annabelle will continue to help yet one more year. I may have to add one more of them one of these years....

By the middle to the end of May, I will pay a visit to all the hydrangeas and prune off any dead wood and stems that have not leafed out. The assumption here is that the slowest grower should leaf out by the end of May. If it has not, I assume the stem dried out and I prune it.

In June, I inspect to control size of all hydrangeas. Since some of the shrubs are old wood Macs and I am lazy, I check/prune then, regardless of what hydrangea it is. I do not prune to control flower size or production. Which is odd, now that I think of it, as I do try to control flower size and production when it comes down to some of the camellias and the peach tree.


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RE: Once and for all, how do YOU prune your Annabelle/Incrediball

I think the general consensus is to prune more for fewer, larger flowers, and prune less for more (but smaller) flowers.

Last fall, I replaced most of my Annabelles with Incrediballs, since they seem to be less floppy in my garden...so far. My Annabelles got large and floppy no matter how I did or didn't prune them, and no matter what fencing I used (combination of peony rings, huge tomato cages, and encircling them with folding fencing).

The exception is that I left a row of Annabelles along the back of my yard. They're starting to grow into one another, which should provide some support. They all have peony rings, but those don't provide much support given their size, and many have suckered beyond the rings. I've typically cut these Annabelles back to about 18" but left them unpruned (so far!) this year. Last year's blooms are still on the plant and I want to see when they fall off and how I feel about the unpruned look later in the season.


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