Incrediball® Blush HydrangeaHydrangea arborescens 'NCHA4' USPP 28,280
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Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA4' USPP 28,280
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Incrediball® Blush Hydrangea is a rounded deciduous shrub 4 or 5 feet tall and wide, with many stems, each ending in an enormous dome packed with blooms, in wonderful shades of pink. It can carry up to 100 blooms in a season, and it blooms perfectly even in very cold zones. In warmer areas it flowers in early summer and again in late summer and fall, bringing months of color to your beds. Grow it as a background shrub, in beds and borders all by itself, and around your home. It grows in large planters too, and the flower heads can be cut and dried for winter decoration.
Grow the Incrediball® Blush Hydrangea in any well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade. It grows and blooms even in zone 3, and all the way into zone 8. Afternoon shade is beneficial in warmer zones. This plant is not very drought resistant, and it benefits from rich, moist soil and organic mulches. It normally doesn’t suffer from pests or diseases, and it is easy to grow, needing just a simple spring pruning.
Easy hydrangea growing in colder parts of the country has always been the Annabelle Hydrangea. This plant is hardy in zone 3, and it blooms reliably on new stems. Close in appearance to the classic mophead hydrangea of warmer zones, it is limited to white blossoms. The plant is also floppy, and the stems are not good at holding up the blooms, so while popular and widely planted, it is, to put it politely, ‘less than ideal’. All that changed with the arrival, about 10 years ago, of the Incrediball® Hydrangea, an improved Annabelle with sturdy stems that hold up the heads perfectly, but still only offers us white flowers. Now things have moved to a whole new level, and the first reliable, cold-resistant pink hydrangea has arrived, and wow, what a plant it is. The Incrediball® Blush Hydrangea has huge blooms in gorgeous, rich, pink tones, on a compact bush 4 to 5 feet tall. Once established your bush will produce enormous blooms, far larger than older types, that will give your garden a real color punch and amaze your neighbors. Profusely covered in as many as 100 blooms all June, it even blooms on new stems too, coming back again in late summer and early fall – incredible is right.
The Incrediball Blush Hydrangea is a hardy deciduous shrub with many branches rising from its base. It forms a rounded plant, growing 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. The stems are a pale gray-brown, with peeling bark and large winter buds. A bush has many stems, both from the ground and branching from the main stems. The leaves are broad ovals with a short tip and pronounced serrations along the edge. They are about 3½ inches long and 2½ inches wide. They are a soft matt green color, turning yellow in fall. Every branch ends in a flower cluster, and this happens even on new shoots rising from the base, as well as on side branches on older stems. In colder zones the branches may be killed to the ground, but this doesn’t stop blooming, it just delays it into late summer and fall. In warmer areas it blooms in June on older stems, the same way a mophead hydrangea does.
The flowers are carried in large dome-shaped heads, typically about 10 inches across. Each head contains about 200 one-inch diameter flat blooms, with another 400 very tiny, fluffy blooms hidden among them. The flowers pass through many color changes, beginning a dark purplish pink, then turning lighter pink, and finally becoming a softer silvery pink. Older plants that are well established, will, after about 3 years in your garden, produce very large heads 15 or even 18 inches across. Flowers remain attractive for at least a month, and they can be cut at any stage, hung upside down, and dried for winter floral decoration.
This plant always looks great, even when just in leaf, and it is perfect for the middle of your garden beds, or at the back of smaller ones. Grow it in beds around big trees on your lawn. Plant it between evergreens to bring color around your home. Line a pathway or drive with a border of beauty, or plant it along fence, or in your garden as an informal hedge. Grow it too in large tubs and planter boxes for great color.
The Incrediball Blush Hydrangea is reliably hardy even in zone 3, yet it grows just as well in zone 8. In zone 3 and 4 it will lose some or even all its branches in winter, but still bloom reliably. In warmer zones it won’t die back, and bloom in June, plus repeat blooming later on new stems.
Full sun, or at least 6 hours a day of direct sunlight, will give the best results and the most blooms, particularly in colder zones. In warmer zones afternoon shade is beneficial. The best soil is rich, moist but well-drained, and neither very dry an sandy or constantly wet and stagnant. Acid or alkaline soils do not affect the color development of this type of hydrangea.
Use organic mulches to conserve moisture and keep the roots cool. Some flowering shrub fertilizer in spring will give you optimal growth. Remove spent blooms at the first pair of leaves. Pests and diseases are rarely problems, and this easy plant is definitely low-maintenance. In spring, before or at the same time as new leaves start to show, remove any dead stems completely, and trim other stems back to the first healthy buds. Older plants can have a few of their oldest branches removed at ground level, to make room for new stems that quickly develop following pruning.
The Incrediball Blush Hydrangea is a specially-bred form of the smooth hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens. Unlike the mop-head or big-leaf hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, it is a true American native plant, so it can be used in natural gardens. This plant grows in woodlands and stream banks all the way from New York to Florida, but wild plants have tiny greenish flowers. In the late 19th century a remarkable plant with large white flowers was found in a woodland in Ohio, and after improvements it became the variety called ‘Annabelle’, first released by Gulf Stream Nursery from Watchapreague, Virginia. Earlier in the present century Thomas Ranney, a professor and plant breeder at the North Carolina State University’s Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, in Mills River, began breeding different varieties of the smooth hydrangea. He carefully interbred many forms, and among one batch of seedlings he found a unique plant with large, pink blooms. He reproduced it from stem pieces so that it remained unchanged, and after further trials he patented it in 2017 with the name `NCNA4`. Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan already had a similar plant with white flowers, the Incrediball® Hydrangea, and Professor Ranney’s plant has been added to their Proven Winners® range with the name Incrediball® Blush.
This plant is a true breakthrough, and the first easy and reliable pink hydrangea that blooms profusely even in cold areas. We know our many clients in the north will cut a path to our door for it, so order yours now, because they will very soon all be gone.