Annabelle or Incrediball?

gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)July 13, 2014

I'm planning to purchase 2-3 hydrangeas for the front of my house. This location receives part sun, maybe 3 hours throughout the day. I've been wanting Incrediball, but haven't heard a lot of rave reviews yet on this forum. Just wondering if Annabelle is the safer way to go? Any thoughts?

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hcmcdole(z7)

I'd give Annabelle a nine while Incrediball for now is Incredi-dud.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:48AM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Do you grow Incrediball? Why is it a dud?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:51AM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Do you grow Incrediball? Why is it a dud?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:52AM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

To take full advantage of Incrediball, you'll need a lot of sun and moist cool shaded soil with lots of nutrients. I just bought one this year in a 3-gallon and the blooms that formed in 6+ hours sun were 2-3" in diameter larger than those on 5 year old Annabelles. The new wood stems go from green to woody as the blooms begin to mature which reduces flop risk.

Post author: under the conditions you mentioned, stick with Annabelle.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 3:21PM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Thanks so much Springwood for your input. I just got back from the nursery.
I hadnt seen your post and was looking at the Incrediballs. They were so picked over and didn't look as healthy as the Annabelles, so I went with the Annabelles. I was having some buyers remorse on the way home, I'm so glad you recommended the ones that I bought. I also came home with a Vanilla Strawberry and a Limelight for a sunny spot in the backyard! Can't wait to get them planted!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 4:15PM
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hcmcdole(z7)

I bought Incrediball about four years ago and it is puny. I finally cut it to the ground this year and the one bloom that it eked out is bigger than the past 3 years so maybe there is hope for future years. Annabelle on the other hand blooms large and plentiful with some sun but will flop after a big storm.

Here is one of the Annabelle plants after a storm. This was the 3rd week in June this year.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 5:27PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I had my Annabelle located close to the house where the overhang protected it from getting rained on and this then reduced occurrences of the flopping problem. On the other hand, it required close monitoring of soil moisture. Incrediball, located elsewhere, produced larger blooms but while the stems where sturdier (to prevent flopping), they did not seem thaaat much sturdier to me. Maybe I expected too much.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:15PM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Thanks for your input Luis and hcmcdole. I will be planting the Anabelles near the foundation of the house so hopefully the overhang will protect them somewhat from heavy rains and flopping.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:13PM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Thanks for your input Luis and hcmcdole. I will be planting the Anabelles near the foundation of the house so hopefully the overhang will protect them somewhat from heavy rains and flopping.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:16PM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

What you bought are fine selections for zone 5. :)

I had trees with grapevines in them shading my Annabelles. Just a few weeks back I finally severed the vines and yesterday it rained heavily. Down they went. Nothing 2' of green metal fencing or a twine lasso can't help with. Peony stakes are another option. Since they bloom first, you can move them over to the Annabelles a month later.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:05AM
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BungalowMonkeys(6-VA)

Im new to gardening, but have a friend who is a garden nut and loves hydrangeas. When I was preparing to purchase hydrangeas for my front yard I had the same question. Obviously I asked her which she thought I should go with. She told me the Annabelles were a sure thing, almost always happy and bloom like mad. Her opinion of the incrediball was that it was a bit more picky about conditions, which would affect amount and size of bloom. Also that it was not that much sturdier. Was still likely to have the floops and when it does floop, it is not as flexible and can actually snap the stems. She has a very cool system for the floops. Its a stake system that uses heavy gauge fishing wire to form a frame. You cant see it and it holds everything in place beautifully. Ill try to grab a pic, or create a drawing to share. The other nice thing is you take it out every winter and redo it in spring.

She had 5 incrediballs on her property and about 10 annabelles. Looking at both, I was still drawn to the classic beauty of the annabelles. Very lucky you can find both where you are. It took me months to find annabelles local and they were $40 a plant for scraggly looking things. Here are mine 1 month after planting.

You will love that limelight. They have been a fav for a long time. Need a lot of water for the first year though. Another thing is, don't be surprised if your vanilla strawberry is only a vanilla for a few years.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 2:55PM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Nice pic Bungalow, your Annabelles look very happy! The fishing wire with stakes is a good idea, I'll have to try that next year. They are so small this year that I'm hoping they don't need to be staked.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Those will be up to the windows in a couple of years. Keep old wood trimmed to 24" each spring.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:03PM
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BungalowMonkeys(6-VA)

They sure are much happier now. It was almost embarrasing when they first got planted. So much so, my sweet, old german lady neighbor came out to scold me for planting dying hydrangeas. Year two is when I'll probably do the stake system as well. Hope you enjoy your hydrangeas as much as I am. Would love to see some pics when you get them planted.

Springwood- Can't wait until they are up to the windows. Will do the 24". I've been torn between that or clearing to the ground each year. What made you choose prune vs clear on your annabelles? Just looked at your blog and your garden is beautiful. With the name springwood gardens I thought you might have a store, was going to browse and shop. Would love to see some 2014 pics of your garden.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:15AM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

I lean toward Incrediball. I have a lot of both, and in the same conditions find that Annabelle flops more. (I've tried every kind of caging imaginable.) In a lot of sun, I think there are fewer issues, but in my shade/part shade with fairly heavy soil, Annabelle gets tall and flops no matter how I prune or cage.

This is a picture of my Incrediballs on the east side of my house. The ones on the left are in more sun and you can see a slight difference in bloom. These were pruned to about 2' this spring, and are now about 5' (best guess).

This post was edited by ruth_mi on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 10:30

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:26AM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

Here's a picture from another angle that shows the height a little better compared with some Endless Summers.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:27AM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

Here's one in more sun.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:31AM
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BungalowMonkeys(6-VA)

I love your garden! How old are your incrediballs? Also do you know what the name of those hostas are? That is exactly the look I want in front. hydrangeas, hostas, and some sort of flowering annuals. Just beautiful!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:00PM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

Thanks! The Incrediballs in front were put in during 2010 or 2011 I think. The hostas are my favorite one - Liberty. It comes up quite yellow, which I enjoy in the spring, but not sure how you'd feel about that. Here's a spring picture.

I should also mention that Liberty is fairly early to come up in the spring, so if you have late frosts, you might need to cover it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:37PM
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BungalowMonkeys(6-VA)

Your yard is just beautiful! Im just now getting into gardening and learning. Hostas are a favorite. Starting a collection of them and Liberty is on my wish list.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Prettypetals_GA_7-8

Mercy me! Your picture is breath taking June! I have Annabel but think I need some incrediball too. Gorgeous gardens June!!!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:46PM
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Paulette789(9b)

Ruth_mi your hostas are incredibly beautiful. Do they do well in the sun. My experience with hostas in my zone of 9 is that they need shade. I love the yellow. Also I must get some Annabelle hydrangeas, yours are so beautiful. I had one plant at a previous home and I cut it way back and in a couple of years it died. Do you know if there is any rule on how much to prune?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 3:45PM
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Prettypetals_GA_7-8

I meant Ruth not June. Ruth your gardens are stunning!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:21PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Fantastic layout you have there with texture and color!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:03PM
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gardener-in-wi(5 SEWi)

Just beautiful Ruth! I love the color combination, and your Liberty hostas are stunning as well.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:28PM
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lizbeth-gardener

Ruth, your beds/plants are gorgeous! I love that hosta- what is the pink flower in the front ?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:59PM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

Thanks. :-) The pink flower in front is petunia Vista Bubblegum. Those beds are on the east side of the house, and in shade part of the day. I planned to use impatiens there when I redid the landscaping. I tried them in 2012 and of course they had the dreaded downy mildew.

In 2013, I tried begonias, but they just weren't the right scale flower, plus the yellow centers gave them a more coral tone from a distance which I didn't care for with the Endless Summers.

I didn't think I'd be able to use petunias because of the part shade situation, but I'd read so many good things about Vista Bubblegum, I decided to give it a try. It's done wonderfully, even in my back yard in more shade. (Not growing as fast back there, but still decent looking.) I think it's a great annual, unless the rest of the summer proves me wrong.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 8:14PM
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