By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Our beautiful native Hydrangea arborescens is a shrub that usually has only white flowers, but there are new pink cultivars, like one called ‘Invincibelle Spirit,’ which I planted in full sun this past June.

The flowers bloom a very pretty pink, but they do turn mauve fairly fast – I’m not a huge fan of such dusty, faded shades, but that’s what the plant does, so be prepared to live with it or deadhead them. On the other hand, the dried flowerheads can be gathered for arrangements and wreaths, and can easily be sprayed if you prefer brighter colors for crafting.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about these pink cultivars of our native hydrangeas is that they flop over – some splat flat as if they’ve been sat upon by an elephant. The flopping seems to be worse in the shade from what many gardeners say, so you might think twice about the site you choose.

But, from my experience in full sun, this hydrangea was tough enough to survive a droughty summer and then a hurricane without losing her leaves or heads, while still putting out fresh flowers through November – which strikes me as pretty true to her name, ‘Invincibelle.’

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