I am so excited about this new introduction to our line of Hydrangeas! My love for Hydrangeas came about 4 years ago when I planted my first ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea. It surprised me with so many gorgeous flowers that first summer with very little care that I instantly fell in love! I started collecting different varieties of Hydrangeas and ended up with over 45 different types planted in my yard. I bought books specifically on Hydrangeas, spent many hours on the internet reading and researching, and found myself dreaming about them at night. I guess you could say I was a bit obsessed! I read about this new Proven Winners introduction last year and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I could have ordered it from a catalog last summer, but, decided to wait until our grower, Pride’s Corner Farms, in Lebanon, Ct, grew them. I know their quality and size would far surpass anything I could have shipped to me from an internet purchase. I am so glad I waited! We have them scheduled to arrive in late spring.
This type of Hydrangea is called a ‘smooth’ Hydrangea. It dies back to the ground and re-blooms on new wood every year. In the past, those of us living in Zone 6 always had a hard time getting our Mophead or Macrophylla Hydrangeas to bloom. There are 2 reasons for that. The first is that some Mophead Hydrangeas bloom on what’s called ‘old wood’. The plants ‘old wood’ is the stems that were grown the year before. In our zone we get early frosts in the fall and late frosts in the spring. Those cold spells, along with the bitter winters kill off the flower buds before spring, leaving you a plant that is just beautiful foliage. The new introductions of cold hardy Hydrangeas, like the ‘Endless Summer’ varieties bloom on new and old wood, so even if the harsh winter kills off the flower buds, you will still get blossoms on this years growth. The Hydrangeas that do best in our area are paniculata, or panicle and arborescens, or smooth Hydrangeas. Both of these varieties bloom only on new wood and there-fore should be cut back in late fall or early spring.
The other reason that Hydrangeas fail to bloom is the lack of nutrients. Hydrangeas are heavy feeders and need supplemental fertilizer regurlarly. They would respond well to a basic well rounded granular fertilizer like Espoma’s Plant-Tone or a general 5-10-5. Then in early spring a shot of Super Phosphate to encourage more blooming. Although the Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea will not change colors depending on soil acidity, your mophead varieties do, so, a shot of Aluminum Sulphate will turn the flowers blue and regular garden lime will change them to pink. It is not recommended to apply Aluminum Sulphate and Super Phosphate at the same time as the Aluminum Sulphate will bind up the Super Phosphate and make it un-usable to the plant. You should not try to change the color of a Hydrangea for at least 3 years after it is planted. I like to leave the color of mine alone, sometimes it is best not to play Mother Nature.
The other reason I am so excited about the introduction of Hydrangea ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ is that 5 cents from the sale of every plant purchased is going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation with a minimum of $10,000 being donated to help find a cure for breast cancer. As many of you know, this cause is near and dear to our hearts as one of our founders, my mother, lost her battle to this horrible disease in May of 2007.
The following is Prides Corner Catalog’s description:
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Invincibelle Spirit’
Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea
Native ~ Zone 3 ~ Matures to 4-5′ x 4-5′
Leave it to Proven Winners/Color Choice to come up with the first pink flowered, mophead form of Hydrangea arborescens! Invincibelle Spirit will change your summer landscape forever with big flowers that emerge a dark, hot pink color and mature to bright pink, while reaching 6″ in diameter. Not only is the color so new and different, its ability to rebloom on new growth will guarantee that you will have a continual supply of rich pink blooms from mid june right up until frost. With it’s dense, full form and ability to perform well in both sun and partial shade, this selection will be a winner when used as a specimen or grouped to form an ultra hardy, ultra colorful border planting.