Hi! I purchased two Annabelle Hydrangea bushes from Hewitt’s about 6 weeks ago. One of them has taken off- it’s huge and hearty and starting to bud. The other is actually much smaller than when I purchased it! The branches keep snapping away from the base. I know that Annabelles bloom on new growth, so tend to be floppier, but this plant isn’t capable of holding up it’s own stems WITHOUT blooms! There’s no difference in growing conditions, as they’re about 6 ft away from each other. What to do?
This is a common problem with hydrangeas. Rapid growth is often not as strong as it needs to be to support the weight of the canes. In the future, once it has adapted to the new location, it won’t be as much of a problem. When you cut it back at the end of the season, leave the cut canes a couple of feet or more tall (don’t cut to the ground) so they can help support next year’s growth. Check the smaller one to make sure that it wasn’t planted too deep or has mulch piled up against the canes. If so, brush the mulch back until you find the original soil level. Other than that, I’d not worry about one being slower than the other. It will catch up eventually.