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Hydrangeas have long been a favorite of homeowners and gardeners alike. Prized for their vibrant beauty and colorful arrays, they make excellent additions to any shrub bed. While the Annabelle variety might be the most popular, there’s another type that’s quickly gaining steam: the Incrediball Hydrangea.
Boasting stronger, sturdier stems and bigger flower heads than Annabelles, Incrediballs is a must-have for anyone looking to enhance their curb appeal with an instant conversation piece. Looking to add one to your landscaping? If so, we have you covered.
Today, we’re sharing the ultimate Incrediball Hydrangea Growing Guide to help you learn more about how to care for this dazzling plant.
What Is an Incrediball Hydrangea?
Before we dive into specific care tips, let’s talk briefly about the characteristics that make up an Incrediball Hydrangea.
The technical term for this plant variety is Hydrangea arborescens. At the most basic level, this is a broadleaf flowering shrub that can grow between four to five feet tall and wide. Native to North America, this plant is deciduous, which means that will shed its leaves annually when the weather turns cold.
Then, when it does flower, watch out. The cultivar name for this variety is ‘Abetwo’ Incrediball, and it’s easy to see why. A play on the word “incredible”, this moniker pays homage to the huge, flowering “balls” that the plant produces every year.
You should first begin to notice small blooms around mid-summer and as the hot temperatures persist, those blooms could grow to be around 12 inches around, or about the size of a basketball! The flowers will start out as a light green shade, then turn white in a few weeks, similar to the shade you’d find in a Little Lime Hydrangea. As temperatures slowly begin to cool, they’ll turn back to their original green.
Unlike some other hydrangea varieties, Incrediball blooms grow strong and upright, thanks to strong stems that resist the common urge to droop under the weight.
Incorporating Incrediball Hydrangeas Into Your Landscape
Love the look of an Incrediball Hydrangea but not sure where to put it or how to use it? These are among some of the most versatile landscaping plants, so they’re ideal for even the most novice gardener. They grow the best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
Of course, you can also snip the stems and display them indoors, as they make beautiful additions to any flower bouquet or arrangement!
If you want to showcase this shrub all on its own, it’s hardy and impressive enough to stand its ground. For this reason, Incrediballs make excellent specimen plants. At the same time, don’t be afraid to plant them adjacent to one another!
When planted along a property line, Incrediballs create a show-stopping natural border for added privacy. You can also mix them into almost any landscape design, as they’re large enough to serve as foundation plantings for additional, smaller plants.
Wherever you decide to plant them, be sure to keep your binoculars close by! Due to their massive, fragrant blooms, Incrediballs are known to attract plenty of curious butterflies and other pollinating insects!
When you’re ready to plant, schedule the big day for a time in the fall. This way, the weather will be tolerable and won’t burn or freeze the roots. Fast-growing and low-maintenance, Incrediballs can live for up to 20 years in favorable conditions. This makes them an excellent investment for any homeowner!
Planting an Incrediball Hydrangea: A Step-by-Step Guide
Are you ready to transplant your Incrediball Hydrangea from a container to the ground? If so, here are the easy step-by-step instructions on how to do so.
- Dig a hole that measures as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide.
- Set the Incrediball Hydrangea into the hole.
- Fill the hole halfway with soil.
- Add water and wait until it’s fully absorbed.
- Fill the hole the rest of the way with soil.
- Water thoroughly again.
If you want to plant more than one Incrediball, then space each plant five to six feet apart, center on center. This will give each shrub plenty of space to spread out. While you can take the same approach to plant your hydrangea in a large, standalone garden planter, note that you’ll need to invest in protective coverings or bring it indoors during the cold winter months.
Incrediball Hydrangea Growing Guide: Key Points to Remember
With your Incrediball Hydrangea securely in the ground, the next step is to learn how to properly grow and care for your new addition! From sunlight to soil requirements, here are the details to know.
Incrediball Hydrangeas can grow well in full sun to partial shade. If you live in a climate that’s particularly dry, then a partially shady spot is preferable. In all, it needs to receive between four to six hours of sunlight per day. This guide can help you gauge how much light a particular spot in your yard receives.
To find the perfect location, consider your geographic location. Homeowners in the south should look for a spot that gets a little shade in the late afternoon hours. If you’re in the north, then your hydrangea should be able to tolerate full sun for the entire day.
Many types of hydrangeas will require you to stick to an ambitious watering schedule. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with Incrediball Hydrangeas. This variety is surprisingly drought-tolerant and only needs to be watered when the first two inches of soil feel dry.
If you planted yours in full sun, be sure to water it weekly until its roots are well-established. To help your Incrediball hold in as much moisture as possible, you can also add a layer of mulch at its base. Mulch will also help protect the plant from extreme weather conditions.
Ideally, it’s best to plant your Incrediball Hydrangea in moist, well-drained soil that can keep the roots as healthy as possible. While you’ll need to carefully check the soil pH before you plant other types of hydrangeas, this isn’t usually an issue with this variety. Its blooms will retain their color regardless of the acidity level. Other varieties could turn vastly different colors than you expected due to the composition of your soil, but these are simply white flowers.
Once your Incrediball Hydrangea is established, it will grow best at a temperature that stays around 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day. At night, temperatures can safely dip to just below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that developing buds will require slightly cooler temperatures, specifically six weeks of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
For this reason, we recommend planting your hydrangea when it’s slightly cooler outside. As mentioned, the fall is an ideal season, as is late spring. The key consideration is to make sure the threat of frost is not viable.
Want to enrich the soil around your Incrediball Hydrangea? If so, look for a fertilizer that follows a 15-30-15 formula or a similar composition. In general, woody plant or slow-release fertilizers (including rose fertilizers) are a smart bet.
You’ll only need to fertilize your plant one time per year, preferably in the spring once the frost has thawed. Adding this mixture to your plant can help encourage its blooms to reach their full formation.
Like other hydrangea plants in the native, North American “smooth leaf” group, Incrediball Hydrangeas grow new blooms on new wood. For this reason, you’ll need to prune the old wood back to make room for new growth.
Other hydrangea varieties do not follow this pattern and feature flowers that form on old wood or even wood grown earlier in that same year. When this happens, new flower buds develop at the end of the summer. Then, they stay there all winter preparing to bloom the next year. While this can be advantageous in some climates, it’s detrimental in others.
If you live in a cold climate, look for a hydrangea like the Incrediball that flowers on new wood. Otherwise, the cold weather could claim the entire flowering stem during the wintertime, eliminating the possibility for flowers when the weather warms up!
With this variety, however, the prior year’s growth will no longer produce new blooms. You never have to worry about losing any flower buds that may have formed on old wood. This makes the pruning schedule and process much easier.
You can simply prune back old growth at any point between the first hard frost in the fall and early spring. Springtime is usually best, as you can take advantage of the dried flower heads that formed over the winter. Equally stunning as their vibrantly-hued counterparts, these dried flowers make a gorgeous centerpiece or can be dispersed in an arrangement for visual interest.
The question of how far back you should prune the stems is purely a personal preference. Some homeowners choose to take their pruning cuts all the way down to the ground, which is fine as new shoots will generate from there anyway.
Others, however, just cut theirs back a moderate amount, confident that new stems and blooms will crowd out any remaining old-growth. A good rule to follow is to cut yours back about 1/3 the total height of the plant. This approach will encourage the plant to grow strongly throughout the year, making the branches and stems as strong as possible.
Propagating Incrediball Hydrangeas
Once you plant this hydrangea variety, don’t be surprised if you have curious neighbors, friends, or family members who express an interest in having one of their own.
Thankfully, this plant is relatively easy to propagate. You can do so via a simple cutting and rooting process. Here are the steps to follow.
- Snip a cutting from a hydrangea branch, about five to six inches long. If possible, look for a branch that did not flower that year.
- If there are leaves present on the two lower nodes, remove them.
- Dip the cutting in a specialized rooting hormone.
- Place the cutting in a sterile material (e.g. coarse sand or damp vermiculite).
- Water the cutting thoroughly.
- Let the water drain until the soil is saturated but not soggy.
- Cover the cutting with plastic, taking care to keep the plastic off the top leaves.
You can repeat this process to propagate multiple cuttings. Once they’re all ready, place each one in bright light but keep them out of the direct sunlight. Check the soil routinely. If you notice it becoming dry, then you can add more water to the soil. In about two to three weeks, the cuttings should start to form new roots!
Common Pests and Diseases
Thankfully, Incrediball Hydrangeas aren’t especially susceptible to many pests or diseases. The only real issue to watch out for is powdery mildew. A common fungus that tends to infect a wide variety of plants, powdery mildew creates pale white, spidery marks on the leaves it encounters.
If you’re tending to your plant and notice that its leaves look whiter than usual, you can use a gentle fungicide to kill the fungi and restore its beauty. As soon as the foliage begins to fall in autumn, gather it together and dispose of it quickly. Allowing the infected leaves to compost into the soil could negatively affect your plant the following year.
Where to Buy Incrediball Hydrangeas
Many local nurseries will have Incrediball Hydrangeas in stock, though their quantities tend to dip in the spring and fall when excited homeowners start planting new shrubs. Thankfully, there are also online retailers that can ship these shrubs right to your doorstep! You can check out these sources for more information:
Before you check out, be sure to take note of the shipping times. Despite the actual date of your purchase, many nurseries will not ship your shrubs until the fall. Still, it can be beneficial to go ahead and pre-order the quantity that you need to assist in your planning efforts.
Answer: If you’re growing an Incrediball Hydrangea, you won’t need to have much patience. These are considered one of the fastest-growing hydrangea varieties. Though it can take one to three years for your plant to reach full maturity, you may be surprised to find gorgeous, oversized blooms the very first year that you plant it!
The rate of maturity depends on the size of the plant when you first planted it, as well as the growing conditions in your area. It can take a few years for the plant’s roots to become established. In the meantime, be sure to keep your soil moist, fertilized, and well-drained to encourage healthy growth!
Answer: Although Incrediballs and Annabelles are both members of the hydrangea family, they do have a few differences to note. The former is an offspring of the former, as the Annabelle Hydrangea was first discovered growing wild in nature. Over time, man has improved on the variety, making the Incrediball hardier and more adaptable.
The most obvious one is the size of their blooms. Incrediball far outpaces any other variety in this regard. In addition to smaller blooms, Annabelle Hydrangeas also have smaller flower heads. This means that Incrediballs produce larger, more plentiful flower clusters.
The branches of an Incrediball Hydeangea are also harder and sturdier, capable of holding up those enormous blooms. Conversely, Annabelle branches are weaker and more flexible. As such, they tend to droop, especially when their flowers reach their full size in the summer.
While there are differences between these varieties, they do share a few similarities. These include:
• Both grow in USDA Hardiness Zones of 3 to 9
•Both grow reach three to five feet tall
• Both thrive in full sun to partial shade
• Both need watering once to twice a week during drought conditions
• Both are prone to powdery mildew fungus
If you’re looking for a traditional hydrangea with smaller-scale blooms, then the Annabelle variety is a safe bet. If it’s knockout flower clusters you’re after, then it’s time to give the Incrediball a try!
Answer: In drought conditions, you will need to water your hydrangea one to two times per week. Otherwise, check it daily to make sure the top two inches of soil are still moist. If you notice that they have dried, then you can give your plant a moderate amount of water.
The key is to water your Incrediball just enough that it saturates the soil without making it soggy, which could lead to root rot. These are generally drought-tolerant plants and do not require quite as much water as other hydrangea varieties.
Answer: Looking for the perfect spot to plant your Incrediball Hydrangea? If possible, search out a spot that meets these ideal conditions:
• Receives morning sun and afternoon shade
• Is spacious enough to allow your plant to reach full maturity
• Offers excellent drainage
• Is located in a spot where you can easily see and enjoy it
There aren’t too many strict rules on where you shouldn’t plant your hydrangea. However, keep its sun and soil requirements in mind when choosing a location. You don’t want to plant it anywhere that receives full shade, and this includes under a tree.
Even if the tree itself is located in a sunny spot, the leaves and branches will block the sunlight from reaching your shrub. Plus, the two plants will engage in root competition over time, which could strip the hydrangea of the nutrients it needs.
Answer: Are you thinking about incorporating a few Incrediballs into your landscape design? This is a great idea, as these shrubs blend in beautifully with many other common plants.
To showcase their vibrant blooms, plant low-growing shrubs in front of them. Ideally, choose shrubs that will also offer coordinating colors. Azaleas and boxwoods are great choices. Azalea blossoms will provide color early in the year, but those flowers will fade before your hydrangea starts growing. This way, you’re always surrounded by the colors of nature!
Meanwhile, boxwoods and evergreen azalea varieties will provide rich, green color all winter long. This way, you’ll still have plenty of greenery in the front of your home, even as your Incrediball turns brown with the cooler temperatures.
If you want to plant annuals in front of your shrubs, you’re free to try different ones every year! This is a great way to get creative and add varying colors to your landscaping. These varieties that look stunning against an Incrediball Hydrangea:
You can also go in a taller direction and plant a tree near your hydrangeas! Dwarf Japanese Maples will display dark green foilage that highlights the light green leaves of your Incrediball. Plus, the two-leaf textures are dissimilar and will contrast neatly against each other. Japanese Maples have thinner, airier leaves while Incrediball Hydrangeas have sturdier, denser ones.
Enjoy Your Beautiful Incrediball Hydrangea
We might be nearing the end of the summer season, but there’s never been a better time to start thinking about next year’s landscaping. If you want to turn your lawn into an absolute showstopper, then it’s time to check out the Incrediball Hydrangea.
Lush, bright, and bold, this quick-growing shrub will soon transform your exterior into the oasis of your dreams. You can also count on this variety to be sturdier, hardier, and more disease-resistant than other types of hydrangeas. This Incrediball Hydrangea Growing Guide includes all of the details you need to get started.
Looking for more information on other plant varieties? Need inspiration on ways to beautify your outdoor space? Be sure to check out our other gardening guides!