An Incredible Update on a Garden Classic
- Greatly improved over ‘Annabelle’ smooth hydrangea
- Stronger, upright stems and blossoms as big as basketballs
- White midsummer flowers age to jade green
- Blooms reliably every year
- Vigorous growth in part sun to full sun
- Extremely cold hardy native cultivar
- 4-5’ tall x 4-5’ spread
- Hardy in USDA Zones 3-8
There’s nothing quite as breathtaking as a mature hedge of Incrediball hydrangeas in full bloom in the summertime. Unlike its predecessor, the much beloved ‘Annabelle’, you’ll get to enjoy its blooms perched upright on far stronger stems that hold up even after a summer rain. Plus, you’ll notice as your Incrediball matures, its flowers become enormous compared to most smooth hydrangeas. They truly are a sight to behold!
This is the hydrangea to pick if you are renovating your home’s foundation plantings and looking for a single plant that can make the biggest impact. Plant a whole row down the side of your house or site one as a magnificent specimen. Once you see what this dependable, easy-care hydrangea can do, you’ll be back for more.
how to grow incrediball® hydrangea
Native roots help Hydrangea arborescens cultivars like Incrediball tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and soils. Think of them like any other shrub in your landscape–undemanding and easy to grow.
Incrediball smooth hydrangea is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8. In all but the warmest climates, it will be the most vigorous and produce the most flowers if you grow it in full sun; some afternoon shade is best in the South. It will grow and bloom in the shade in the North too, but its flowers will be smaller. No matter where you garden, your smooth hydrangea will benefit from a 2-3 inch layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist.
Smooth hydrangeas tolerate most soil types as long as they are well-drained. This plant doesn’t grow well in soggy soil so if that sounds like yours, you may need to improve the drainage before planting. While many types of hydrangeas prefer acidic soil (pH less than 7.0), smooth hydrangeas can live in acidic and neutral (pH 7.0) soils.
If you are planting a hedge of Incrediball hydrangeas and you’d prefer the plants to grow together into one solid row, space them about 4 feet apart. If you are planting a single specimen and don’t want other plants to grow into it, give it 4 to 6 feet of room to spread over time. Keep in mind that this species of hydrangea takes a few years to mature and really show its full personality.
When planting, dig the hole about twice as wide but just as deep as the container it is growing in. If the roots are densely circled around when you take the plant out of the pot, loosen them up a bit to break the “root memory”. This will encourage them to grow outward instead of continuing to grow in a circular pattern.
Set the plant in the hole, making sure that the top of the rootball is level with the top of the surrounding soil. Then backfill the hole with the soil you dug out. Press it down with your hand firmly to eliminate any big air pockets around the roots.
Lastly, water the plant again to help the soil settle. Spread some mulch around the base of the plant, taking care to keep it from touching the plant’s stems. The mulch will help to retain soil moisture and protect the roots during winter.
Smooth hydrangeas like Incrediball produce their flowers on the current season’s stems. That means there’s no risk of the buds being damaged by winter—a useful trait for northern gardeners. As long as you prune them by mid-spring, you’ll see flowers that year.
You could prune Incrediball hydrangea in late fall once the plant is dormant if you don’t want to keep its flowers for winter interest. We typically prune them in early spring so we can enjoy those blooms as long as possible. Cut the branches back by about 1/3 of their total length. This will help to maintain a strong, supportive woody base while also encouraging new growth and plenty of blossoms to form. No other pruning should be needed throughout the growing season.
Early spring is a good time to scratch some granular plant food into the soil. We typically use one formulated for roses since hydrangeas enjoy similar nutrients. Doing so will encourage them to start the season off strong. No additional feeding is necessary.
Since it’s so floriferous and easy to grow, Incrediball hydrangea makes a gorgeous flowering hedge or foundation planting. Each plant grows at least 4 to 5 feet across, so you won’t need many to fill up your garden beds. It is worthy of a prominent place in your front landscape or in your view out the kitchen window where you’ll admire it all summer long.
Since it blooms on next year’s growth, you won’t hurt this hydrangea at all if you cut its flowers to use for bouquets or craft projects. And since there is such an abundance of flowers produced, you won’t even miss the ones you harvest.
You’ll love this variety’s extra strong stems that hold up beautifully when cut. Once the flowers are dried, they will last for a good 3 to 4 years before needing to be replaced, so they are useful for wreathmaking and other craft projects.
Hydrangeas like this one are often used in summer bridal bouquets or for garden parties since they are in such plentiful supply that time of year. They have a certain romantic air about them, don’t you agree? So, if you have a special event coming up in the next year or two, plant Incrediball hydrangea now so you’ll have plenty for picking later.
top 3 reasons to grow
IT TRULY IS INCREDIBALL!
Once you grow it, you’ll see how this hydrangea got its name. It really is that amazing!
STRONG STEMS, ENORMOUS FLOWERS
Greatly improved over the classic ‘Annabelle’, you’ll enjoy much larger flowers on strong, upright stems.
A HYDRANGEA YOU CAN COUNT ON
This will be one of the easiest, most reliably blooming hydrangeas you’ll have in your garden, which will make you love it even more.
Incrediball® Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’ USPP 20,571, Can 4,166