How to Grow and Care for 'Invincibelle Spirit'

'Invincibelle spirit' hydrangea shrub with small pink flower head clusters on tall thin stems in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Hydrangea arborescens 'Invincibelle Spirit' is a cultivar marketed as the first pink-flowering hydrangea. The shrub bears deep pink, round clusters of flowers yearly with minimal needs. As the invincibelle spirit flower buds open, the sun fades the tops to light pink, while the undersides remain the darker color, giving the overall flower heads a speckled appearance. This re-blooming variety continues flowering throughout the summer until the first frost. Invincibelle spirits, like all hydrangeas, are toxic to humans and animals.

Common Name Invincibelle spirit hydrangea
Botanical Name Hydrangea arborescens NCHA1 Invincibelle Spirit
Family Hydrangeaceae
Plant Type Broadleaf, deciduous, shrub
Mature Size 4 ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial sun
Soil Type Loamy, moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral, acidic, alkaline
Bloom Time Spring, summer
Flower Color Pink
Hardiness Zones 3-9 (USDA)
Native Area Cultivar, no native range
Toxicity Toxic to humans , dogs, cats, and horses

Invincibelle Spirit

Invincibelle spirits are easy plants to grow if you give them proper care from the outset. They grow best in full sun, moist soil, and a wide range of climates. The plant doesn't need to be pruned and requires little overwintering. You can fertilize your invincibelle spirit with compost yearly. Although its large size may be prohibitive, you may pot an invincibelle spirit. You cannot propagate the plant from cuttings or its seeds because, as a cultivar, propagation is an infringement of copyright. The invincibelle spirit is generally pest and disease-resistant, but pay attention to potential infestations and spotting on leaves. 

Invincibelle spirit hydrangea shrubs with pink and flower head clusters on tall thin stems and large leaves

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Invincibelle spirit hydrangea shrub with small pink flower heads clustered on thin stems in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Invincibelle spirit hydrangea shrub with small pink flowers clustered on thin stems closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Invincibelle spirits prefer full, morning sun over afternoon sun. Still, it can tolerate partial sun.

Water

As with most hydrangeas, the plant's soil should never dry out completely. Be especially wary of this during the summer months. It's best to water approximately 1 inch each week during initial growth and deeply water three times a week once roots are established.

Soil

A humus-rich soil is ideal for invincibelle spirits. Working organic matter into the ground will both improve drainage and provide nutrients. In some hydrangeas, you can change flower color by adjusting soil pH, but this isn't the case for invincibelle spirits. This cultivar is reliably pink.

Temperature and Humidity

The invincibelle spirit is hardy and remains a reliable bloomer after the harshest winters in hardiness zone 3. It is also heat tolerant. It can survive temperatures down to -35°F and up to 86°F, but only for 150 days.

Fertilizer

You can add compost to the plant's soil once a year, or apply a rose fertilizer once in the spring after the ground has thawed.

Types of Invincibelle Spirits

  • Hydrangea arborescens 'Invincibelle Spirit II'
  • Hydrangea arborescens 'Incrediball'
  • Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
  • Hydrangea arborescens 'Mini Mauvette'
  • Hydrangea arborescens 'Lime Rickey'

Pruning


Although generally unnecessary, if you choose to prune your invincibelle spirit, do so between the first hard frost of fall and early spring. You can make pruning cuts down to the ground, and new shoots will still grow. Cut the whole plant back by about one-third of its total height. Deadheading or removing the spent flowers is unneeded for this plant to continue blooming. You won't harm these plants by cutting.

Propagating Invincibelle Spirits

As a trademarked cultivar, propagating invincibelle spirit hydrangeas for sale is prohibited.

How to Grow Invincibelle Spirits From Seed

Like propagating invincibelle with cuttings, it is copyright infringement to grow invincibelle spirit by propagating seeds.

Potting and Repotting Invincibelle Spirits

All hydrangeas are shrubs that can grow very large and need substantial containers to bear the heft and weight of the branches. If you decide to pot an invincibelle spirit, consider a giant container at least 5 feet in diameter. Re-potting the plant once it has grown to full size may be difficult or impossible.

Overwintering

Smooth hydrangeas like invincibelle spirits require little overwintering. You can prepare your plant for the winter months by cutting back all the stems to about 3 to 6 inches from the base. Smooth hydrangeas can handle heavy winter snow.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Invincibelle spirits may be affected by beetles, aphids, and spider mites that damage the structural integrity of the plant's leaves. Your invincibelle spirit may also be impacted by diseases common to all hydrangeas. These include powdery mildew, botrytis blight, and leaf spot. You can usually curb infestations by practicing an appropriate watering routine and preventatively spraying pesticides.

How to Get Invincibelle Spirits to Bloom

Invincibelle spirits bloom yearly in the summer and fall, producing ball-shaped, bright pink flowers and green foliage 2-4 inches long. The bulbous pink flowers are accompanied by smaller, white blossoms from May through July. To encourage bloom, provide your invincibelle spirit with ample sunlight and consistently moist soil. Spacing the plants 3 to 4 feet apart will help with healthy growth and bloom. Deadheading isn't necessary, but you may do so for aesthetic purposes.

Common Problems With Invincibelle Spirits

While invincibelle spirits are a relatively easygoing cultivar, it is not without vulnerabilities. Look out for problems with your plant so you can get ahead of further damage.

Drooping Leaves

Invincibelle spirits, like all smooth hydrangeas, are sensitive to overwatering. If the stem becomes compromised by excess water, it may weaken and be unable to keep the heavy flowers upright. If you notice this, consider adjusting your watering practices. 

Spotting on Leaves

Invincibelle spirits may develop yellow or brown spots on their leaves, usually due to under-watering, overwatering, viruses, or insects. Pay attention to potential infestations and consider treating your plant with an anti-fungal. Adjust your watering practices as necessary.

FAQ
  • How long do invincibelle spirits live?

    With proper care, invincibelle spirits can live up to 20 years.

  • How much do invincibelle spirits cost?

    On average, but depending on the size of the plant, invincibelle spirits range from $20 to $30 at your local nursery.

  • What are alternatives to invincibelle spirits?

    Consider snowball bushes if you're looking for a non-toxic alternative to invincibelle spirits. These bushes yield similarly shaped abundant flowers. While the flowers are white and not pink, they are much safer, especially if you have pets or children.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

  2. Hydrangeas. ASPCA.