Incrediball® Blush Smooth Hydrangea

Hydrangea arborescens

SKU: 33845

Size: One Quart
More information on plant sizes.
Sale price$21.99
In stock


Incrediball panicle hydrangea hedge


This super-hardy, super easy-to-grow hydrangea goes by lots of different names: smooth hydrangea, Annabelle hydrangea, wild seven bark, hills-of-snow hydrangea, wild hydrangea, native hydrangea, and probably a few more. Botanically, it is known as Hydrangea arborescens and it is native to much of the southeastern United States, from the south of Illinois to northern Florida and from New York state to Oklahoma. If you were to see a smooth hydrangea in the wild, though, you'd barely recognize it: naturally, its flowers are small and not very showy. It is thanks to avid gardeners and talented plant breeders that we have the big, colorful flowers that now characterize this practically fool-proof hydrangea.


Along with panicle hydrangeas, smooth hydrangeas are some of the most cold tolerant on the market, easily thriving and blooming even in chilly USDA zone 3. They are heat tolerant through about USDA zone 8, though can be grown in cool parts of zone 9, such as the Pacific Northwest.


With the recent work on the Invincibelle series done by Dr. Tom Ranney and his team at NCSU, the size range of smooth hydrangeas has gone from pretty much strictly 5'+ to a huge selection in the 2-3' range, and some as small as just 1-1.5' tall and wide. With a little research, you'll find the perfect variety for any space!


We recommend at least four hours of sun each day, or filtered light throughout the day. This makes a huge difference in the stem strength, as plants that are in too much shade will stretch toward the light, leading to thin, spindly growth that can't support the flower heads. For the pink varieties, sun also helps to bring out the purest, truest colors. Finally, in too much shade, you may find that mophead varieties don't fully develop and take on some characteristics of lacecap flowers. In hot climates, sun should only be in the morning, and during the hottest part of the day, they should be in shade.


Easy-going smooth hydrangeas aren't fussy about soil, but they do require it to be well-drained. They won't do well in soils that are too wet nor soils that are too dry. Soil pH is not an issue, as they can grow well in acidic to slightly alkaline conditions, and the color of the pink varieties will not change based on soil chemistry as they can for bigleaf and mountain types.


Smooth hydrangeas are naturally fast-growing, and need little to no supplemental fertilizer to do their best. One application of a granular (not liquid) rose fertilizer in early spring should be sufficient in most areas.

Flower Color

For many years, white was the only option for smooth hydrangeas, but that changed dramatically in 2010 when Proven Winners introduced Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea. It was the first-ever pink flowering smooth hydrangea. Since then, new and improved color options have been hitting the market, and now pure pinks, ruby reds, mauvey purples, and even greens are available. The color on these varieties is not impacted by the soil chemistry.


Smooth hydrangeas are one of the few types that bloom on new wood. This is one of the reasons why they are such a reliable performer even in cold climates! It's also what makes pruning them each spring the ideal way to maintain the plants, as it removes any thin buds at the tips of the stems and ensures the growth for the year comes from thicker buds that were created earlier the previous season. 

Some people cut smooth hydrangeas like 'Annabelle' all the way to the ground. However, we recommend cutting the entire plant back by about one-third its total height in early spring. You can also remove any thin side branches at this time, as well as any wood that's not showing signs of life. If you prefer, you can do this in late autumn/early winter, you'll just want to wait until the plant is completely dormant before pruning. Our preference is generally to prune in spring, because this leaves the dried flower heads in place all winter, which are much nicer to look at than a bunch of cut-off branches. The plant will not be harmed with late autumn pruning if that's what you prefer. 

Smooth hydrangea problems

Largely problem-free, any issues you do see on your smooth hydrangeas are most likely cultural - due to some conditions the plant is experiencing that aren't ideal for growth. That said, there are a couple of issues that may arise that you should know about.


The leaf spots that impact other hydrangeas are usually fungal in nature. However, the most common leaf spot for smooth hydrangeas is actually bacterial. It can be avoided in the same way as fungal leaf spots: avoid overhead watering, provide good air circulation, keep the plant free of stress, and remove any affected foliage when it falls in autumn.

Insect pests

There's only one insect that you are likely to find causing damage on a smooth hydrangea, and that's the hydrangea leaf tier. That's "tie-r," as in, "one who ties," because this little caterpillar makes itself a snug little home in the leaf shoots so that it can feed safely on the developing foliage. These native insects rarely cause any issues for the plant, but once the caterpillar develops into a moth, you may see the foliage is slightly disfigured. If you see the leaves clasped tightly together at the ends of the branches, you can peel them open and smash the green larvae.

Other animals

Deer cause major issues for smooth hydrangeas: they especially love to eat the flower buds and may eat them before they are even noticeable to the human eye. They also eat the foliage, and smooth hydrangeas tend to be the type that are most severely damaged by deer. If you have deer in your yard, plants should be protected with netting or a spray, and this protection will need to be repeated - maturity does not seem to deter them. 


We've got you covered with our 60-day guarantee. We guarantee that your plants will arrive healthy, free of pests and diseases, and true to name.

Have a problem with your plant? We make it easy to place a claim via email or use the chat bubble. Simply send us a photo of your plant, your order number, and a brief description of the problem within 60 days of receipt of your order. Orders from US are eligible for refund or replacement; Canadian orders are eligible only for refunds. All refunds are based on the plant cost and do not include shipping charges. Allow up to 2 weeks for processing refunds.

After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for the plants in your care and will not cover problems with overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, improper planting, drought, flooding, poor drainage, etc. Our goal is that you are successful with our plants (and gardening in general), so our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may experience.

Any plant shipped dormant in spring is guaranteed to break dormancy, even if it takes longer than 60 days.

Please note: our guarantee does not cover plants grown outside of their recommended growing zones. Verify your USDA zone by clicking 'Growing Zone' in the site navigation and entering your zip code before purchasing.


Did you receive an order after September 1? If so, it falls under our fall guarantee. We want to ensure your plants establish in your garden and return the following spring. Therefore, the warranty on your plants is extended to May 31 the next year. Ensure you contact us with images, your order number, and a description of the problem before May 31.


We ship plants with hefty root systems that outperform smaller plants obtained from other mail-order nurseries.


We take great pride in our packaging.  Please contact us immediately for any damaged boxes or shortages.  (Please note: multiple boxes shipped by Fed Ex might not always arrive the same day)


Any plant shipped dormant in the spring is guaranteed to break dormancy even if it takes more than one month. Call us directly if you have any concerns.


Photos of the plant(s) will be required so that we may provide the best assistance possible


A plant refund is based on the plant cost less discounts and shipping charges.  Allow up to 2 weeks for processing. We reserve the right to request a return of an item.


After 60 days, we cannot be responsible for product that is in your care. This includes overwintering, animals, insects, diseases, poor planting, plants beyond their hardiness zone, drought, flooding, etc. Our expert staff is here to assist you with any problem you may be experiencing. Our goal is that you are successful with our product.

Customer Reviews

Based on 16 reviews

My plant was very healthy when it arrived.

Happy with my order

The blush hydrangeas lost all the leaves they arrived with but now have turned the corner and are doing great. They even have some buds.
The Vanilla spice bush is also looking good.

Both plants nearly dead when they arrived

Both plants were totally dead within 48 hours

Hello! We apologize you received your plants not up to our standards. As we try our best to provide exceptional service, some factors like shipping and handling are outside of our control, and issues like this can sometimes happen. Please email pictures of the plants in question to, making sure to put your order number and name in the subject line so that we may provide the best assistance possible. Rest assured, we do have a 60 day guarantee on all of our plants. If you received your plants within that timeframe, we will be happy to apply your warranty once we receive the pictures. Happy Gardening!


I planted 2 quarts sized plants in the fall just before everything went dormant, and the plants grew strong and big the following spring with lots of gorgeous blooms! This is the 2nd spring for these plants and they are doing great. Don't be worried about how small they start, these plants grow vigorously. I’m in a zone 8

Don’t be tempted

Plants came to me full of spots on leaves and in horrible condition. Do not be tempted to order here. Order took forever to ship and took forever to arrive. There are much better websites to order from if you must order plants on line. Otherwise go to your local garden centers. Even Home Depot stores have better conditioned plants, and they are not my usual go-to garden centers.

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