Plant of the Week: INCREDIBALL® Smooth hydrangea

I am an unabashed fan of the smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens). It’s durable, reliable, and gorgeous. Yet they are often overshadowed by their bigleaf cousins (H. macrophylla). I get it. The big blue mophead flowers are dramatic, and bigleaf hydrangeas tend to look better in a container. Smooth hydrangeas want to be in the ground.

Maybe you’re already a fan of the smooth hydrangea, or perhaps you’re facing a landscape challenge this durable, extra-hardy, native plant can meet? One of the new varieties may be a good fit – you can use a favorite species in a new way.

Incrediball® smooth hydrangea is a classic choice that offers lots of ‘wow’ in gardens and landscapes. It will get 4-5′ tall and wide and is pretty quick to mature…but you should plan on giving them at least a season to settle in. Mature plants have larger flowers, too. In fact, Incrediball® has the largest flowers you can find on a smooth hydrangea. Strong, supportive stems hold those fabulous flowers nice and high, so blooms don’t droop like they can with ‘Annabelle’.

These plants are hardy in USDA 3-8 and will grow in full sun or part shade. Remember, soil pH does not affect the flower color of smooth hydrangeas. The Hydrangeas Demystified growing guide is a great reference for flower color questions. You can take a look at this, plus many other hydrangea growing resources here!

It’s true, I think that H. arborescens will make people’s gardens better. When their gardens are better, their lives will be better.

Reflections from Jane

This was a fun newsletter to write, despite the strange circumstances of 2020. The little girl in the above photo is my daughter, photographed more than a decade ago. This week, that little girl (pictured left) graduates high school! Yes, high school graduation is in July this year, and it’s a drive-through event.

That’s how it is these days. We adapt and find new ways to do things. Smooth hydrangeas like Incrediball® are a perfect representative of that spirit.

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