Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA1' INVINCIBELLE SPIRIT

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Common Name: smooth hydrangea
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Tolerate: Rabbit, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Wet Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates full sun only if grown with consistent moisture. Intolerant of drought, with foliage tending to decline considerably in dry conditions. Plants may die to the ground in harsh winters. Bloom occurs on new wood, so plants may be pruned back close to the ground in late winter to revitalize and to encourage vigorous stem growth and best form. If not pruned back, any weakened and/or damaged stems should be removed in early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hydrangea arborescens, commonly known as smooth hydrangea or wild hydrangea, is a loosely and widely branched deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-6’ (less frequently to 10’) tall. It is native to moist or rocky wooded slopes, ravines, streambanks and bluff bases from New York to Florida west to Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Gray-brown stems are clad with opposite, broad egg-shaped to rounded, sharply toothed, dark green leaves (2-6” long) with pale green undersides. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Tiny white fertile flowers bloom in May-July in flattened hairy clusters (corymbs to 2-6”across). Scattered continuing flowering may occur throughout summer to September. A few large sterile flowers usually appear at the cluster margins (usually not enough for a quality lacecap effect). Flowers give way to dehiscent seed capsules which ripen in October-November.

Genus name comes from hydor meaning water and aggeion meaning vessel in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit.

Specific epithet comes from arbor meaning tree in reference to the similarity of this shrub to a small tree.

‘NACH1’, commonly sold in commerce under the trade name of INVINCIBELLE SPIRIT, is the first pink-flowered mophead form of Hydranga arborescens to be introduced into commerce. It is being promoted by some nurseries as a pink ‘Annabelle’ (see H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’). It was developed at North Carolina State University’s Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station. This deciduous shrub typically grows to 3-4’ tall and as wide. It originated as an open pollinated (F2) seedling from an unpatented H. arborescens cultivar. It features large globular flower heads (to 6-8” diameter) that bloom June to August (sometimes into September). Each flowerhead is densely packed primarily with showy sterile florets that emerge an intense dark pink in bud before maturing to bright pink. Flowers contrast well with the ovate to elliptic dark green leaves (3-8” long). U.S. Plant Patent PP20,765 was issued on February 16, 2010.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Many species of hydrangea, including this one, are susceptible to bud blight, bacterial wilt, leaf spots, mold, rust and powdery mildew. Watch for aphids, mites, scale and nematodes. Pruning stems back to the ground in late winter each year helps promote stem vigor.

Garden Uses

Mass or group in part shade areas of the mixed shrub border, woodland garden or as background for a perennial border. Naturalize in woodland or native plant gardens. Named cultivars often make showy specimens.