Incrediball Hydrangea – Better Variety to Prevent Stem Flop

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I discovered a better hydrangea variety than the Annabelle. The Incrediball hydrangea has the same familiar big white blooms but unlike the Annabelle, its stems are much stronger and they don’t flop down after a rain storm.

Better hydrangea variety, Incrediball and Annabelle Hydrangeas, brick colonial home, front door

Why I chose Hydrangeas for my garden?

My house is a traditional colonial brick home and I have always loved the look of a simple but manicured English garden. A boxwood hedge in the front and white bloom hydrangeas behind it. I am not by any means a gardening expert and pretty much planted these and crossed my fingers hoping they’ll make it. The boxwoods don’t have a hedge shape yet as I am allowing them some time to grow in before I trim them.

Another reason I chose to plant hydrangeas in my garden is so I can cut the blooms and decorate in my house with them. Even though I’m not above decorating with faux florals, it’s alway better to use fresh or dried flowers.

What are Incrediball Hydrangeas?

I had done a little bit of research on the type of hydrangeas I wanted – big white blooms. They are traditionally Annabelle but there is a new more recent, modified variety called Incrediball. They are virtually indistinguishable from Annabelle with the only difference being that Incrediball have strong stems that don’t flop from the weight of the bloom or after a rain storms. Their blooms tend to be slightly larger too.

These hydrangeas start out green when the buds and flowers first form, then they turn white for a couple of weeks while in full bloom. As they start to dry, the blooms will turn back toward a green color. The bloom color of the Incrediball Hydrangeas changes throughout the season but the blooms stay on and look pretty from mid April all the way through the end of the summer.

Better hydrangea variety, Incrediball and Annabelle Hydrangeas, brick colonial home, front door

I went to a couple of different nurseries in Lancaster, PA looking for Incrediball and bought all of the plants they had. I ended up finding a few at Groff’s but not enough for the large space I needed to cover. I also wanted to plant them close to one another to create full and dense coverage. So I resorted to filling in the gaps with Annabelles.

Stefana Silber cutting Incrediball Hydrangeas

The two varieties were not distinguishable from one another until we had very heavy rain one day. They all flopped immediately from the weight of the water on the blooms. A day later, you could easily tell which ones were Incrediball and which were Annabelle. The former bounced back to tall straight stems. The latter unfortunately remained droopy and bent to the ground. The Incrediball is definitely the better Hydrangea variety compared to Annabelle. You can see the difference between the two below.

You can use different types of supports to prop the blooms up and keep the stems straight and the shrubs looking full. I will probably look into these options going forward but in hindsight I really wish I had all Incrediball plants instead of Annabelles. Their large white blooms are absolutely stunning!

Stefana Silber with Incrediball Hydrangea

Where and how to plant Hydrangeas?

You might guess this from their name but Hydrangeas of any variety love water. I am not an expert gardener and you could probably look up their ability to survive any our particular zone but I can tell you that they do well in the north.

But even if you’re in the mid-Atlantic or Northeast, make sure to plant them in a spot that doesn’t get prolonged or harsh sun exposure. Moisture retaining in the soil is also important. Years ago I planted hydrangeas in the back of this same house you see here. They didn’t make it because the back of the house faces west and gets many hours of harsh afternoon sun. The front of the house faces east and gets a few hours of sun in the morning (less harsh) and then shade for the rest of the day.

How far apart should you plant hydrangeas? The recommendation is to plant them 4-5 ft apart but I might have planted mine a little closer because I wanted a full lush look with no gaps in between the shrubs.

What is the Incrediball Hydrangea growth cycle?

Initially, I got a few blooms on the small baby plants I planted but a year later I ended up with big shrubs and multiple blooms that grew and blossomed from late May through June and into July. I had cut down the plants all the way to the ground the previous fall.

Here is a progression of their growth from being cut far back in the fall to how the buds form and grow in April:

And this is just a few weeks later. You can see the blooms start out dark green but then turn lighter green and white.

Better Incrediball hydrangea variety, Incrediball and Annabelle Hydrangeas, brick colonial home, front door

How to dry and preserve the Incrediball Hydrangea?

Not only are they gorgeous when fresh but the Incrediball hydrangea dries beautifully and the dried blooms have lasted me over a year. You can extend their life even more by spraying the dried blooms with hairspray. It keeps the petals from shedding.

I find that the best way to preserve and dry Incrediball Hydrangeas is to wait for them to dry on the stem. Fresh cut flowers will not last beyond a few days and won’t dry well from the vase. The petals just shrivel up. But if you let the blooms go through their natural cycle and cut them AFTER they have dried on the stem, then they will stay preserved for many months. Even longer than a year.

How can you tell they’re dry enough to cut and preserve? The blooms should be green in color, not white. When you touch them, they should feel dry and sound crunchy. A fresh white bloom will feel moist.

When you first cut them to dry them, they will be green but as time passes, they will turn more yellow. I love the dried yellow color hydrangeas to decorate with in the fall and winter. You can see them turn from green (left) to yellow (right).


Where did you get your Incrediball Hydrangeas?

Groff’s Plant Farm in Kirkwood, PA.

How long have you had them?

I planted them in May 2021.

How long did they take to get this big?

They grew this big by the following year after I planted them.

How and when do you prune them?

I prune them almost all the way to the ground in the fall. They grow bigger and better each year.

What is the plant in front of the hydrangeas?

It’s a Japanese boxwood. I am growing it into a hedge that I will shape once they’re big enough.

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