This is another Proven Winners hydrangea, so we have another Proven Winners mouthful of a botanic name–brace yourself: hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo,’ sold in the trade under the trademarked name of Incrediball.™
This one was not sold as a fundraiser; rather this one was sold as an “improved version” of a beloved hydrangea that had been around for decades and is hardy up to Northern Maine. In fact, if you wander around anywhere right now and see huge billowing shrubs covered in drooping white flowers, most likely you are looking at hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle.’
But the problem with Annabelle was those drooping white stems–it’s the same reason they keep breeding smaller and more upright versions of the ‘PG’ hydrangeas. Folks like to look at their flowers, not walk on them!
So along comes Incrediball™–supposedly 4-5 times more flowers than Annabelle and much sturdier stems.
Now as you can see in this photo, some of my flowers are still lying atop the heuchera there–and they have never achieved the double handspan width that I have seen in the photos. But by comparison to Invincibelle Spirit™ this plant is far and away the superior performer in my garden. Its growth rate has been 5 times faster (it helps that the deer mostly leave it alone).
And the two plants are supposed to have flowers of roughly equivalent size and they surely don’t in my garden–and Invincibelle Spirit™ has the preferred site, deer browsing aside. So Incrediball™ is definitely the stronger grower for me in my conditions.
And it’s an attractive plant as well. The leaves are a medium to dark green and show off the white of the flowers quite well. I suspect it may want more room than it has in a few years–but we’ll see. Sometimes nature takes care of that too.