Hydrangea lovers who seek the big, white blossoms that fill a hydrangea shrub often choose an Annabelle hydrangea to grow in a sunny garden spot. With diligent care and tending, your Annabelle hydrangea may put forth blooms as large as 10 inches across when it blossoms in early summer. By waiting until your Annabelle hydrangea finishes blossoming, you ensure that you do not remove a single flower from these prolific bloomers. Expect your Annabelle hydrangea to grow into a sizable shrub and prune only to remove old growth and to shape the shrub.
Spread a tarp beneath the shrub to catch the stems and leaves as you remove them with the pruning shears.
Clip off all spent blossoms with the pruning shears to improve the plant's appearance. As you remove the stems, clip them off at the second bud pair on each stem.
Examine the hydrangea carefully, looking for dead or unhealthy stems. When you find them, cut them off at the base of the shrub with the pruning shears. Remove up to one-third of the shrub with this thinning process.
Shape the Annabelle hydrangea by clipping off any stems that are longer than the rest. Make the outer shape even and uniform. If you find stems growing along the soil, clip these off at the crown.
Pull up the tarp with the removed stems, leaves and blossoms and discard them in the trash.