Plant of the Week: Incrediball Hydrangea

Plant of the Week: Incrediball smooth hydrangea
Looking for a hydrangea that can take a cold winter? Check out Incrediball® Hydrangea arborescens. This is a great selection of our native smooth hydrangea. It has sturdy stems, huge flowers, and won't be injured by cold winters. Like all H. arborescens, it will look its best after a couple of seasons in the ground.

Incrediball hydrangea is an attention-grabbing specimen plant for mixed borders and makes a fabulous mass planting, too. You can even cut and dry the huge flowers for arrangements. We are hearing from many landscapers and landscape nurseries that this variety is superseding 'Annabelle' in the market. As it should: it's bigger, it's better, and it doesn't flop.

Incrediball smooth hydrangea from Proven Winners
Native Incrediball hydrangea in our Michigan trial garden. It does well in full sun.

It will grow 4-5' tall and wide and is hardy to USDA Zone 3. It is best in full sun, particularly in northern climates, but will take some partial shade in warmer areas. The flowers open green, turn white, and then go back to green.

You will not get blue from this hydrangea. However, we can offer you a pink version: Incrediball® Blush hydrangea. It has all of the same great attributes as the original Incrediball hydrangea but will delight you with its soft blush-pink flowers.

Incrediball Blush smooth hydrangea from Proven Winners
New Incrediball Blush hydrangea has the same strong stems and large flowers as the original, but now in soft pink.

Ned Stark was right.

Winter was coming. And now it's here. Mild temperatures in December lulled many of us into complacency - it was 70°F in New York on Christmas Day! But winter did finally get here, complete with frigid temperatures, blowing snow, and an insatiable need for hot chocolate.

The best way to deal with winter is to embrace it. Our Canadian neighbors understand this. I was in Toronto last week for the Landscape Ontario Congress tradeshow. There was serious snow removal equipment on display. Canadians also recognize that if you're going to live in a cold climate, investing in stylish winter gear will keep you sane. I am saving up to buy a Canada Goose parka. There is also the ultimate coping mechanism: Tim Horton's. Hot chocolate, tea, coffee, whatever you want - and have a donut, too. You shoveled snow: you deserve it.

Just as our Canadian friends embrace winter, they embrace gardening, too. Some of our most enthusiastic Facebook fans are Canadian. Like the good people of Minnesota, they don't let a short growing season keep them from having a fabulous garden.

That is the real lesson of a cold day: celebrate what you have and make it wonderful. Whether that is a shady garden, cold winters, or hot summers, you can find plants that make your space lovely. And while Zone Envy is understandable, don't let it keep you from enjoying the plants you can grow.

Still feeling chilly? Well, at least you don't live in Finland.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles.

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