Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - April 10, 2011

From: Wilmette, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Annabelle hydrangeas blossoms drooping to ground in Wilmette, IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a row of Annabelle Hydrangeas that become very heavy and droop over the entire width of the bed. I would like to know what I can use for support so that they will stand up and allow me to plant some annuals in front of them.

ANSWER:

According to our website on Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea), of which 'Annabelle" is probably a selection given a trade name, it is characteristic of this plant for the blooms to droop to the ground. We doubt that propping or staking them up would work very well. According to this USDA Plant Profile map of this species, it does not grow at all in Cook County in the northeast edge of Illinois, on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Whether that has any connection with the growth pattern you are observing, we couldn't say. We found an American Hydrangea Society online, but it doesn't seem to have a database for questions and answers.

Since the condition you describe appears to be normal, perhaps you could consider planting some low, shade-loving plants, like violas, in front of the hydrangeas. We found a number of members of the genus Viola native to Illinois and to the area where you garden. There were others, but we thought this was a representative example:

Viola cucullata (Blue marsh violet)

Viola lanceolata (Lanceleaf violet)

Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet)

Viola pedata (Birdfoot violet)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Viola cucullata


Viola lanceolata


Viola missouriensis


Viola pedata

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrubs and trees that are safe for horses in California
June 16, 2012 - What type of privacy shrubs/trees can I plant that are safe around horses? I live in the central valley in CA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
September 29, 2009 - I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for Dallas-Fort Worth area
May 18, 2010 - Our red tip photina hedge is slowly succumbing to black spot and we'll need to replace it within the year. (Yes, I now understand red tips come in two varieties: diseased and about to become disease...
view the full question and answer

Correcting overgrown Savannah holly in Goldsboro NC
April 24, 2010 - I have an overgrown Savannah Holly. How do I go about correcting?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.