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The Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea, or Hydrangea arborescens, is a deciduous shrub known for its remarkable attributes that set it apart in the botanical world. One of the most eye-catching features of this plant is its colossal white flowers, which emerge in mid-summer and gradually transition to a lush jade green color as the season progresses. The blooms are notably large, nearly reaching the size of basketballs at their peak, and are held aloft by strong, sturdy stems that prevent them from flopping over, a significant improvement over the garden classic 'Annabelle' hydrangea.
Growing to a medium height and spread of 4 to 5 feet, the Incrediball hydrangea exhibits a mounded habit, which lends a picturesque quality to garden landscapes. This plant is known for its hardiness, thriving in zones 3 through 8, showcasing an impressive adaptability to a range of climatic conditions. When it comes to light requirements, the Incrediball hydrangea is versatile, thriving in part sun to full sun conditions, with an optimum of at least six hours of sun exposure per day for the most abundant blooming.
- Mixed Shrub Borders: Their moderate size and mounded growth habit make these hydrangeas ideal for mixed shrub borders. Their captivating blooms provide a striking contrast to other shrubs, especially those with darker or variegated foliage.
- Hedge Planting: When planted in a row, these hydrangeas can create an attractive flowering hedge. Their dense foliage provides good privacy, while their blooms add a seasonal charm.
- Specimen Plants: Both the Incrediball and ‘Bailday’ hydrangeas serve as beautiful specimen plants when planted alone. Their distinctive blooms make them stand out in any garden setting.
- Foundation Planting: Their moderate size makes them suitable for foundation plantings alongside homes or other buildings, adding a touch of elegance and softening the appearance of structures.
- Cut Flower Gardens: The blooms of these hydrangeas are excellent for cutting and bringing indoors. Their large, showy flower heads make stunning bouquets and floral arrangements.
- Container Gardening: Though they can spread out, with proper pruning, these hydrangeas can be maintained in large containers, allowing for mobility and versatility in landscaping design.
- Cottage Gardens: Their old-fashioned charm fits perfectly into the informal, romantic style of cottage gardens, contributing both color and structure.
- Rain Gardens: As hydrangeas appreciate moisture, they can be an appropriate choice for rain gardens where they can help manage stormwater runoff.
- Woodland Gardens: Particularly the ‘Bailday’ hydrangea, with its preference for partial shade, can be integrated into woodland garden settings, providing a splash of color under a canopy of trees.
- Coastal Gardens: Hydrangeas are often tolerant of the conditions found in coastal gardens, such as salt and wind.
- Naturalized Areas: These hydrangeas can be used in naturalized or wild garden settings, providing a natural yet well-maintained look.
- Dried Flower Arrangements: The flowers, once dried, continue to provide ornamental value and can be used in dried flower arrangements for a rustic aesthetic.
Both the Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea and Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailday’ are relatively easy to care for and can thrive with the right planting and maintenance regimen. Here's a guide on how to plant and care for these beautiful shrubs:
- Location: Choose a location with well-draining soil. Both hydrangeas can tolerate a range of sun exposures but the Incrediball® prefers part to full sun, while the ‘Bailday’ thrives in partial shade.
- Planting Time: The best time to plant these hydrangeas is during the spring or fall when the weather is cooler, which allows the plants to establish roots before the extreme weather of summer or winter.
- Soil Preparation: Enrich the soil with organic matter to improve its fertility and drainage. A well-draining, loamy soil is ideal.
- Planting Depth and Spacing: Plant the hydrangeas at the same depth as they were in their pots. For the Incrediball®, space plants 4 to 5 feet apart, and for the ‘Bailday’, space them 36 to 60 inches apart to allow for mature growth.
- Watering: Water the newly planted hydrangeas thoroughly, and keep the soil moist (but not waterlogged) as they establish.
- Watering: Both hydrangeas prefer consistently moist soil, especially during the first few years or during dry spells. A layer of mulch around the base can help retain soil moisture.
- Fertilizing: Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the spring as new growth emerges. It’s advisable to use a fertilizer high in phosphorus to encourage blooming.
- For Incrediball®: Cut back by about one-third of its total height each spring as new growth begins to emerge.
- For ‘Bailday’: Prune to maintain desired size or to remove wild branches or dead wood in spring.
- Mulching: Mulching helps retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and improve soil quality.
- Winter Care: For ‘Bailday’, mulch in northern zones during the first winter if fall planted to protect the roots from freezing temperatures. Incrediball® is hardier and generally requires less winter care.
- Pest and Disease Monitoring: Regularly check for signs of pests or diseases. Hydrangeas can be susceptible to issues like powdery mildew or aphids, although healthy, well-maintained plants are less likely to have problems.
- Botanical Name: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailday’
- Form: Shrub
- Sun Exposure: Partial Shade
- Height/Habit: 36 – 60 inches
- Spread: 36 – 60 inches
- Spacing: 36 – 60 inches
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Flowering Date: Blooms spring through summer
- Planting Instructions: Set at the same level it is at in the container, firm and water thoroughly.
- Winter Care: None except to mulch in northern zones the first winter if fall planted.
- Growth Rate: Medium to fast
- Shipping Season: Spring
- Flower Color: Blue, Pink
- Flower Form: Lacecap type blooms. Large, open, flat flower clusters. Fertile flowers in the middle and showy sterile flowers along the outside edge.
- Foliage Type: Simple, elliptic to ovate, green and white variegated. Wide white margin
- Pruning: Prune to maintain a desired size or to remove any wild branches, or dead wood in spring.
- Soil Requirement: Well drained, moisture retentive
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