Hortensia Annabelle

Fundamental Differences Between Hortensia, Annabelle, and Oakleaf Hydrangeas

This article seeks to provide a basic overview of Hortensia, Annabelle, and oakleaf hydrangeas in order to educate people that may be looking to spruce up their garden. If you lack or have lacked knowledge of the basic types of hydrangeas, you should be able to tell the difference between them with minimal problems after reading through the information provided.

Many people don’t even realize that hydrangeas can differ so greatly. The uninformed generally assume that hydrangeas are conical shaped flowers that come in light pastel colors; they could not be farther from the truth. Hydrangeas and all of their varieties are so varied that it is often difficult to even recognize some of the types as members of the same family.

Basic Descriptions of Hortensia, Annabelle, and Oakleaf Varieties

Hortensia, Annabelle, and oakleaf are three of the main kind of hydrangeas in the plant world. Hortensia, or mophead hydrangeas, have globe shaped blossoms in bright colors. Annabelle hydrangeas look like bright, puffy snowballs. Oakleaf hydrangeas are one of the most common varieties, and have the elongated spear of mini blossoms that more people find characteristic of the flower.

Below, you will find more specific information regarding each of these varieties, including more in-depth physical descriptions that will help you recognize them at your local nursery or gardening super store.


Hortensias, as previously stated come in a vast variety of bright, vibrant colors. The colors, combined with a pleasing globe shaped blossom, are responsible for making this variety of hydrangea one of the most commonly found in people’s gardens and landscaping designs.

They are particularly useful in flower beds and borders, but can grow incredibly high and potentially be an issue for homeowners. These shrubs grow to be upwards of six feet in height with an average spread of three and a half feet, so if you decide to plant some, give them a wide birth.


Annabelles are another variety of hydrangea and are very popular in wedding arrangements and posh, English gardens landscaping styles. These elegant beauties do not come in a wide variety of colors, but the standard white color is a pure, bright shade that meshes well with the snowball shape of the blossoms. In fact, one of the other names that Annabelle hydrangeas go by is the Snowball hydrangea.


One of the biggest and most noticeable things that set Annabelles apart from other hydrangea varieties is the fact that when they first open they are a bright shade of green. After a short amount of time they will change into the characteristic white color, but only for 2-3 weeks, before turning back to green again.

Oakleaf Hydrangeas

Oakleaf hydrangeas get their name from their leaves which, in fact, do closely resemble traditional oak leaves. The blossoms are conical shaped, and actually comprised of several smaller blossoms to create the unique shape. Although most of the oakleaf varieties are white when they first bloom, many of them change color to a soft shade of pink as time goes on.

Hardier than the two previously mentioned types of hydrangea, the oakleaf can tolerate hotter summers, drier soils, and even colder winters in more northern areas. Although not a true evergreen, these shrubs can last through several frosts before their leaves become unattractive and fall off. Fall is truly a sight to behold though in regards to these flowers. Their leaves, which can reach upwards of 10” in diameter, change to lovely shades in the sunlight. It is not uncommon to see an oakleaf hydrangea’s leaves go from green to yellow, orange, red, and burgundy.