Help my Incrediballs please!!

jill_wingettSeptember 3, 2013

I have 4 Incrediballs, all 2 years old. They've grown like crazy & the leaves & stems look good. They're flowering we'll, BUT the blooms go from pale green as they're emerging, straight to brown & dead looking. They're planted in full sun, one gets about 6 hours, the others get 10-12 hours of sun per day. They get at least 2" of water per week, and don't look wilted. The blooms would be beautiful if they were white! I fertilize with Miracle Grow every 10 days. is that too much? Are they just getting too much sun? Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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Are you saying that when the blooms first become large round balls (instead of green and cauliflower-looking), they're green and never white?

The flowers first open and become white in late June here in Michigan. The flowers usually stay white for about a couple weeks. Since they don't all open at the same time, the shrub has some white blooms for longer than that, though.

I have Incrediballs in various locations, including lots of sun, but none stay green all year.

They don't really need Miracle Grow.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:39PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

They sure do not need more than one fertilizer application. Try using a 1/2 to 1 cup of compost, compost manure or cottonseed meal in Spring. These are not heavy feeders like roses are.

If you are in the southern half of the country, the blooms may need some shade in the afternoon; leaves will benefit too. You can test that by giving them shade with next set of blooms.

If the petals look water soaked, change to brown and then get dirty... covered by fungus, this is a fungal infection called petal blight, gray mold or botrytis blight. Hopefully it is not... since it is rare on H. arborescens (common on H. macrophylla).

This post was edited by luis_pr on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 7:38

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:30AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Where are you located? If it is further south, your Incredi-balls may need some shade later in the day. It would help if you could show a picture of the "brown" blooms, but right off hand, to me (because I have lots of HOT sun), that means they are getting burned--too much sun and too little water. Hydrangeas in general are waterhogs--it might work better to water them 2 or 3 times a week if they are suffering from too much hot sun.

And I'd quit feeding them. I never feed my hydrangea, and if my understanding is correct, hydrangeas should not be fed anything but compost--in fact, fertilizer can interfere with the normal growth/blooming of a hydrangea. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I've always understood. Certainly, my Annabelle (the earlier version of that hydrangea) has never needed any help blooming, although it accumulates plenty of autumn leaves falling around it by winter. My Annabelle also got burned blooms when the tree casting part shade on it had to be taken down.

The other thing to keep in mind is that many plants take several years before settling in and maturing enough to do their thing, so its blooming patterns may straighten out in another year or two all on its own.

I haven't grown Incredi-ball, so I'm making some (hopefully) educated guesses based on the behavior of its earlier relative Annabelle. That may or may not apply in your case, but I think you should consider whether your hydrangea is getting too much hot sun and sunburning as a result.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:40AM
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I'm in zone 5b, Indianapolis. Here's a picture that may show the problem better than I can describe it.
My Incrediballs are planted with a dozen different roses, which is why they end up getting fertilized pretty frequently. They seem to get plenty of water; they don't droop & look healthy.
It may be too much sun. Hopefully the picture will help!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:39PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Yup, sunburn. At the very least, they need more water. A bit of late afternoon shade would help. Get rid of the fertilizer. There--fixed that problem. : )


    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:25PM
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You folks are the best! I thought that might be the problem, but haven't had hydrangeas long enough to know for sure. Thanks for the help & advise!!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:14PM
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You folks are the best! I thought that might be the problem, but haven't had hydrangeas long enough to know for sure. Thanks for the help & advise!!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:25PM
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