Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for Snowball Hydrangea Plants

A close-up of a white Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle') flowerhead.
John Caley/iStock/GettyImages

Hydrangeas (‌Hydrangea‌ spp.) are popular spring-flowering shrubs that produce showy clusters of flowers in varying shapes, depending on the species and cultivar.

Some hydrangea flowers grow in globuse flowerheads sometimes referred to as "snowballs." A few of these hydrangeas have white flowers, although you will also find cultivars with pink and blue flowerheads.

Snowball hydrangeas are very cold hardy, as they can survive winters in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9.

White Snowball Hydrangea Cultivars

Unlike pink and blue bigleaf hydrangeas (‌Hydrangea macrophylla‌, zones 6 to 9) known as mophead hydrangeas, which also have globuse flowerheads, white hydrangeas are not dependent on soil pH for their bloom color.

Let's look at some cultivars of the native smooth hydrangea (‌Hydrangea arborescens‌, zones 3 to 9), also known as the wild hydrangea, that have white, snowball-like flowerheads.

Tip

The rounded flowerheads of white snowball hydrangeas do not change color depending on the pH of the soil.

Annabelle

The Annabelle hydrangea (‌Hydrangea arborescens‌ 'Annabelle', zones 3 to 9) is a naturally occurring cultivar of the smooth hydrangea that was discovered in Anna, Illinois. It produces clusters of small, white blooms. Each flower cluster can be 2 to 6 inches wide.

The Annabelle hydrangea blooms primarily from May through July, with additional sporadic blooming through September.

The Annabelle hydrangea bush has heights between 3 and 5 feet. A potential drawback of this cultivar is that the heavy flowerheads droop down as a result of their weight.

A handful of bountiful Incrediball® hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Abetwo') flowerheads emerge from a shrub.
F. D. Richards, CC-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Incrediball®

The flowers of the Incrediball┬« hydrangea (‌Hydrangea arborescens‌ 'Abetwo', zones 3 to 9), another white snowball hydrangea, are lime green when they first emerge but become pure white.

This patented cultivar was developed from the Annabelle hydrangea. However, the flowerheads of this cultivar are about a foot in diameter, which is larger than those of the Annabelle hydrangea. Each flowerhead is also more upright and also has more individual flowers on every flowerhead.

The Abetwo cultivar begins blooming at the beginning of June and remains in bloom for about two months. It has heights of between 4 and 5 feet.

Snowball Hydrangea Care

Snowball hydrangea plants are considered relatively low-maintenance shrubs. Let's look at the care and culture needs of these deciduous shrubs.

Snowball Hydrangea: Sun or Shade?

Like other species of hydrangea, snowball hydrangeas perform best in part shade. Morning sun is better than afternoon sun, because these shrubs will need a lot more watering if planted in full sun.

Watering

While they can handle many different kinds of soil, the leaves of snowball bushes tend to decline during drought. They need consistent moisture in order to perform at their best. It is equally important, however, to grow these bushes in well-draining soil to avoid root diseases.

Pruning

The smooth hydrangea and its cultivars bloom on new wood. That means that you can prune these shrubs down to the ground in late winter to revitalize the plant without jeopardizing the next year's bloom. Doing so is recommended to energize the shrub.

Even when they are not cut back to the ground, it is a good idea to prune out weak or diseased branches in early spring before new growth begins.

Related Articles

How to Use Lime to Make Pink Hydrangeas
How to Use Lime to Make Pink Hydrangeas
What Is the Best Fertilizer for Hydrangeas?
What Is the Best Fertilizer for Hydrangeas?
Are Hibiscus Plants Poisonous to People?
Are Hibiscus Plants Poisonous to People?
How to Keep Hydrangeas Pink or Blue
How to Keep Hydrangeas Pink or Blue
Flowering Shrub Identification
Flowering Shrub Identification
How to Fertilize Hydrangeas With Miracle-Gro
How to Fertilize Hydrangeas With Miracle-Gro
Plants Similar to Hydrangeas
Plants Similar to Hydrangeas
Hydrangea Tree Varieties
Hydrangea Tree Varieties
Rhododendron Vs. Hydrangea
Rhododendron Vs. Hydrangea
Hydrangeas in Texas
Hydrangeas in Texas
How to Grow Lilacs Faster
How to Grow Lilacs Faster
How to Grow Camelias in Florida
How to Grow Camelias in Florida
Bugambilia Plant Care
Bugambilia Plant Care
Garden Guides
×