Large colored balls on bright green small bushes are a real pleasure for the eyes of a true connoisseur of beauty. Hydrangea arborescens have a special place here because their white flowers are the most elegant.
Today we will talk about two competitors of the same species, Annabelle Hydrangea and Incrediball Hydrangea.
The first (Annabelle) was found in nature as a wild seedling and was introduced into the culture because of its large white flowers.
But time has not stood still and man is always trying to improve everything around him. And so Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’ (also called Incrediball) was born. This variety is the offspring of Annabelle, as it is its seedling. It has several differences from its ancestor, which you will learn about in this article.
|Annabelle Hydrangea||Incrediball Hydrangea|
|USDA Hardiness zone||3-9||3-9|
|Mature height||3-5′ (0.9-1.5 m)||3-5′ (0.9-1.5 m)|
|Mature width||4-6′ (1.2-1.8 m)||3-5′ (0.9-1.5 m)|
|Light exposure||partial sun, full sun||partial sun, full sun|
|Soil||moist, drained||moist, drained|
|Watering||1-2 times per week in a drought||1-2 times per week in a drought|
|Pests||insects, mites||insects, mites|
Annabelle has smaller flower clusters
The first noticeable difference is the flowers. Incrediball has larger flowers than Annabelle.
The size of Incrediball’s flower heads is 12 inches while Annabelle’s heads do not grow more than 10 inches across. But Annabelle has slightly more flower heads than Incrediball.
Depending on the climate, the start of flowering may come in June or July. Both of these hydrangeas usually do not bloom for more than two months.
The color of the flowers is also slightly different. Incrediball has a light green (lime) color at the beginning of blooming, but after a few weeks loses it and becomes completely white. At the same time, Annabelle’s flowers appear pure white at the start.
Incrediball branches are stronger
The large flower heads of hydrangeas, apart from their mind-blowing appearance, have one disadvantage, namely their weight. In calm weather, nothing much happens to them. But when it starts to rain with wind or a storm then the hydrangeas can be damaged.
This is especially true of Annabelle. If it rains heavily and the blossoms get wet, even a little wind is enough to make the bush fall apart and the white balls end up on the ground. The branches of this hydrangea are thin and can easily break or bend.
Incrediball is a little different. It has sturdier and thicker stems. It can withstand more load than its competitor. But still, you should not expect from it too much because in a strong storm it might fall apart too.
To avoid something like this you should take some measures.
First, if possible, plant Annabelle near a house wall or fence. This way the wind will not affect the plant too much but will be broken on the barrier.
Second, both of these hydrangeas flower on new wood so they are not afraid of pruning. In early spring, trim hydrangeas to a height of 1-1.5 feet. This will cause the stems to thicken a bit and the plant will be able to tolerate bad weather a bit better.
Third, buy a plant cage similar to what is used for growing tomatoes. Place the cage around the hydrangea and over time the leaves will cover it up and everything will look nice.
Incrediball is more demanding to growing conditions
Incrediball needs more energy than a competitor to bloom in larger clusters of flowers. So you need to provide the plant with everything it needs. Otherwise, you may not get the result you want.
The first is sunlight. Plant this hydrangea in a place where it will get at least 5 hours of direct sunlight. The further north you go, the more light it needs, and vice versa in hot climates semi-shade is beneficial.
The second is water. Hydrangeas are known to like water because they have large leaves that evaporate a lot of moisture. Water Incrediball an average of twice a week if it does not rain. In severe droughts, water more often.
Third, you need to feed the plant well. In early spring, apply a slow-release fertilizer. It is better to choose one with a little more phosphorus than other elements because phosphorus is responsible for large and beautiful flowers. You should avoid fertilizers with high nitrogen content because this element will stimulate the growth of foliage and not the flowers.
Also, mulch the area around the Incrediball with good quality compost. This will be an additional source of nutrition and retain water near the roots. The layer of mulch should not be more than 2 to 3 inches thick and do not put mulch on the stems.
The shape is slightly different
The last little difference between Annabelle Hydrangea and Incrediball Hydrangea is size and shape.
Depending on growing conditions, Incrediball will be 3 to 5 feet tall and the same amount wide. After a few years of growing, you will get a large ball-shaped bush.
The Annabelle, on the other hand, will also be up to 5 feet tall but can be up to 6 feet wide or a little more. The result will be a slightly flattened shrub. It’s a small difference, but still.
If you want a hydrangea with a more regular shape, choose Incrediball.
I have already told you about all the more or less significant differences, so now let’s talk a little bit about the similarities.
The most important thing that unites these two varieties is the maintenance requirements. You can read about the amount of sunlight, watering, and nutrition above. Next, I will tell you what else Annabelle and Incrediball need to thrive.
An important prerequisite is a soil. Both varieties need well-drained and nutritious soil. To get it you need to add 1 bag of compost to the planting hole and mix it well with the native soil. The compost must be of good quality and properly prepared.
Next, you need to take care of the planting place. Do not plant the hydrangea in the full shade because then you will not get good blooms. Also, air must move freely around the shrub so that diseases do not develop. Therefore do not plant hydrangeas close to other plants.
One of the drawbacks of most hydrangeas is their susceptibility to fungal diseases. This is most often manifested as spots on the leaves. So you need to keep a regular eye on your plants and spray them with a fungicide at the first sign of trouble.
The second problem is pests. To avoid pest damage you need to keep the area clear of plant debris. Also, don’t let hydrangeas get too bushy and thin them out regularly. If there are pests on the branches and leaves, spray the shrub with horticultural oil or an insecticide.
Unfortunately, Hydrangea arborescens is considered a toxic plant, but only if it gets into the body. So if you have pets make sure they don’t eat the leaves. But if they do, the consequences are not critical, the worst situation is indigestion.