new INCREDIBALL hydrangeas...

Pontotoc, MS(Zone 7b)

This weekend I was able to buy 2 , one gallon sized Incrediball hydrangeas. I read mixed reports of whether they droop with the weight of their massive blooms. Do any of you have any experience with them?

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

It is a new release so there is lack of experience at this time, corgimom. Its claim to fame is that the blooms are large and that the stems will support the weight better than "regular" Annabelle does.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

Here Incrediball dies back to the ground, just like the Annabelles do. So there is nothing you can do about the flower heads bending over. The flowers do bend, and the stems have actually broken from the weight.

Where you are located the plants should not die back. In which case you can support the stems with sticks, or tie them up until the stem becomes hardened and stays in place. At that point you won't get as much flop to the blooms as you would otherwise. The same can be done with paniculatas like Limelight to make the blooms hold up better. Then each fall or winter you would want to prune them back to the hard wood.

But yes, Incrediball still droops. Not as much as Annbelle, though.

Pontotoc, MS(Zone 7b)

thanks both of you. It is the pruning I am worried about. As with my rose pruning, I never know what to do and make a mess of it. (how/when) Is there a website that shows this in detail??? Does it have to be propped up every year?

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Pruning should not be a problem with most hydrangeas. By planting hydrangeas where the shrub can grow to its size at maturity, this will enable you n-o-t to have to prune. Generally speaking, hydrangeas should not need to be pruned if you place them in such a spot. As old stems tend to get harder, stronger and more woodsy as the years pass by, Annabelle & its clones' stems will handle more weight with grace (but they still won't be "perfect" after a hard rain).

Another thing that you can do with shrubs like Annabelle is to wait until the leaves have fallen in winter. You should then be able to clearly see the stems. Before the stems leaf out again, surround them with a cage made of chicken wire or similar materials so these will help the shrub maintain its shape better. Stakes, like those people use with Gladiolus, can also help for individual stems. After the shrubs leaf out, these support structures will almost disappear when new growth covers them.

Macrophyllas (also called Mopheads and Lacecaps) and Oakleafs: prune before July. Varieties that bloom on new and old wood can be pruned in early Spring instead.

Paniculatas (PG, Limelight, etc) and Arborescens: these bloom on new wood so they can be pruned at any time except when they are getting ready to bloom (for obvious reasons only).

See http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/pruning.html for more information.

Hannibal, NY(Zone 6a)

That's a great idea surrounding the plant with chicken wire. That will force the new growth to harden off upright.

I absolutely agree with Luis, the plants should be allowed to take the shape they are intended to take. The only pruning I do with my arborescens and paniculatas are cutting off the old flowers.

But you're still going to get some droop, especially in the rain. I like the way they droop. If you want to minimize the droop you are going to have to get them into position, get the wood hardened off, and then prune back to the hard wood.

But to me, the best would be to put the chicken wire around them, as Luis says, let the growth harden off, and then just let the new growth droop as it may.

Pontotoc, MS(Zone 7b)

luis --- I went to that site and it is wonderful for us "newbies" !

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Glad you liked it!

Pontotoc, MS(Zone 7b)

you and paulgrow have been very helpful. I hope to ,oneday, be able to give help to someone else. It is so nice to have folks take the time to answer our inquiries.

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

I am looking at purchasing a couple new plants this Spring. Incredball was one of interest. How tall do they grow? Pinky Winky is another. Anyone grow that one?
Teresa

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

My boss says he has a hydrangea that has only bloomed once.It is about 8 years old. He has never pruned it. I told him to cut out all the old wood this year, but am unsure what else to tell him to get it to bloom. What else should he do?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Do you know what kind of hydrangea it is? In zone 6b I think the macrophylla's are usually OK without winter protection, but if it's in an exposed area or he's got a slightly colder microclimate in his yard the buds could be getting zapped by late freezes. The other possibility I can think of is if it's in really deep shade and doesn't really get any sun at all that may be the problem--while they definitely don't want too much sun, they'll bloom best if they get at least some filtered or morning sun.

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

If I understood him right. It is planted over the septic system and is in more full sun. I think the hydrangea is an older one since the house is old. I have thought that maybe the buds got burned, but he said it has had nothing all these years.
Maybe just trimming the dead out might help.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Other possibilities: it may need winter protection starting in the Fall; it may need moist soil when rain is scarce (water in the winter every 2-3 weeks if the soil has not frozen and winter is dry); flower buds develop starting in July-August so do not fertilize or prune after June (deadheading is ok though).

Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

He told me yesterday that he cleaned out a whole lot of dead stalks. Maybe it just was too compacted with all that, that it could not put out any new growth from the bottom . I gave him some cuttings I rooted to plant and told him to put them on the north or the east side of his house. The other was already there when he moved in.

Pontotoc, MS(Zone 7b)

can I root a limb (NOW !) of oakleaf in water? I had a chance to "obtain" a limb from one I had admired and was not able to get one that touched the ground that had roots on it. Should I stick it in the ground instead?

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

I would put a dab of root stimulator and plant it right away in a pot where it gets bright indirect light or in the ground where it gets 1-2 hours of early morning sunlight. Use a soft or medium strength root stimulator with indolebutyric acid. Softwood cuttings in May would be preferable for Oakleaf but try it anyways. Choose a location where the soil drains well because oakleaf hydrangea is notorious for not liking wet spots. I lost one Alice some years ago when the weather was incredibly wet here in Texas for 3-4 months. Do you know which oakleaf variety this one is? :o(

Pontotoc, MS(Zone 7b)

no, this one came from outside a hospital. I saw it in bloom last year and it was so pretty. My husband was bold enough to borrow a limb of it for me. I just knew we were going to get arrested !! ( I am such a chicken and would never do such a thing myself unless having permission.)

Ladysmith, BC

I bought one last year on a visit to Winnipeg. Mine grew well and lots of flowers even if the stems were a little weak. But this year it is wonderful big healthy bush with great flowers and stronger stems.

Yukon, OK

I have a question about the Incrediball Hydrangeas. I planted 1 a year ago, that I ordered from Spring Hill. It is a healthy looking plant even in our drought, but so far, it hasn't bloomed at all! What am I doing wrong? It just gets morning sun and is in the shade the rest of the day.

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

While it is a rebloomer, I doubt any plant wants to produce blooms in this heat. My roses stopped blooming about 2 or 3 weeks ago. When temperatures go down, I would expect the rebloomers to do their thing but not with this heat stress and reduced moisture.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I wouldn't worry about a plant that's only been in the ground for a year not blooming--sometimes they'll take a year or two to get going so you're probably not doing anything wrong.

Yukon, OK

Luis, Oh good. Maybe that's why it's not blooming! I also planted 2 more Hydrangeas this spring and they did bloom and looked really pretty and then shortly afterward one of them turned brown and looks dead. I think the heat got that one too! My garden is really discouraging this summer with the drought! I also have some new shrubs that were planted in the spring and I've lost 3 of them already! I hope it rains soon and cools things off!

Ecrane, I have wondered that about other plants too. I had some astilbe that didn't bloom but looked perfectly healthy and didn't bloom forever! I'm still waiting!

Thanks!

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

There is an area of "disturbed weather" between Cuba and Mexico that may further develop and bring some rain sometime around this weekend!

Rosemount, MN(Zone 4b)

I purchased two Incrediballs at the end of June at a close out sale - on a whim and pity for them. One of them had little blooms just starting and the other had no bloom formation at all. They were obviously in the 50% off section. ha I planted the 'blooming' one in full sun and it took off like a shot. It has big blooms on it and formed new blooms in no time. The other non-blooming one, I planted in part-sun and it did not form a bloom at all. After three weeks, I moved that one in to full sun and so we'll see. poor thing is probably so shocked up now. The big blooms are not drooping or breaking at all although they droop a bit after rain. But they bounce right back up. I am in zone 4 so maybe full sun is the ticket. I am happy with their performance so far. We'll see what happens to the non-blooming Incrediball next year.

This message was edited Jul 30, 2011 6:04 AM

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Lucky you! Hydrangeas here get sunscorch on the leaves if they continue getting sun past 11am-12pm. Good luck with the incrediballs! I assume the blooms are in the green color stage now? Just guessing as my Annabelle blooms are.

Rosemount, MN(Zone 4b)

The blooms are still white and there is another little one forming. They turn green huh? great! Obviously I had no intention of buying an incrediball hydrangea because I normally research what I buy. I guess I better do a little research on my purchase. Sad!

Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

Very nice and not surprising since they are "new". On year one, plants may bloom at abnormal times, too early or too late. The blooms usually start white although in some rare cases, they can start green got a short time and then turn white. The white phase will last several weeks/month before turning green. Having originated from Annabelle sports, I would expect the color progression to match that of Annabelle's blooms.

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