Bella Anna advice

lovinliMarch 14, 2012

I fell in love with Bella Anna and bought one by mail order last summer to plant in honor of my daughter (her name is Anabela). I planted it next a small mophead and some day lilies in my backyard. It did well (3-4 blooms)all summer. I deadheaded the blooms but did not prune at all and left it alone all winter. Spring has sprung early on LI and my older mophead and lacecap hydrangeas are all budding, but my Bella Anna looks dead. Nothing is budding on the old wood stems. I am new to gardening and don't know what to expect. Will my Bella Anna sprout new from the ground, or does it sound like its done?

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'Bella Anna' is a pink flowered form of Hydrangea arborescens, a very hardy species that flowers on both old and new growth. IME, arborescens/smooth leaved hydrangeas are later than other species to bud or leaf out so I would not be overly concerned at this point in time. That is not to say that all is well - some plants just don't make it past their first season regardless - but I'd exercise patience for the time being......give it another month to 6 weeks before deciding. FWIW, it will not hurt nor affect blooming to cut it back at this time if you wish.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 4:02PM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Try cutting a skinny stem off close to the base. If it's white or maybe a little green then your plant is healthy. Otherwise look for small brown buds at the nodes going up the stems - in about a month look for new growth from these buds and expect some kind of flower from each, providing there is enough nutrients, sun and the deer don't eat them...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 6:45PM
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She's alive! She was later than my other hydrangeas but now there are lots of buds and I'm looking forward to some lovely blooms. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Bella Anna is an arborescens type of Hydrangea, meaning it blooms on new wood only. The old wood should be cut down to the ground in late fall, after leaves drop, or early spring before new growth begins.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:27PM
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The arborescens CAN be cut to the ground, but they don't need to be in order to bloom well. If you prune to the ground, you'll get fewer, larger blooms, and if you prune less, you'll get more, but smaller blooms. Many people prune to 12 - 18" to provide some framework for the current season's growth, and some people prune one plant's stems to several different heights.

I've typically pruned to about 15" (Annabelle), but this is my first year over-wintering Bella Anna. Last year I didn't prune my Incrediballs and they bloomed beautifully. This year I didn't prune any of my arborescens - not Bella Anna, Annabelle, nor Incrediball.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:54PM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

I bought 'Bella Anna' last summer too based on high praise from the local horticulturalists here on LI. Anyway, I thought a lot of it was dead until I moved back the mulch and saw new stems emerging from below. I did prune off an obviously dead stem. I hope the flower remains pink in color in our overly acidic soils here.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:25PM
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