Hydrangea arborescens 'Piiha-I' ENDLESS SUMMER BELLA ANNA
Common Name: smooth hydrangea
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Magenta-pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Wet Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut

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.

‘Piiha-I’, commonly sold under the trade name of ENDLESS SUMMER BELLA ANNA, is an upright deciduous shrub that typically matures to 3' tall and as wide. It is an open pollinated progeny from a numbered selection of Hydrangea arborescens. Magenta-pink flowers in mophead form bloom in large and showy corymbs (each to 5" by 3") throughout summer. A single corymb can contain up to 300 showy sterile flowers and 75 fertile flowers. Ovate dark green leaves (to 5" long) have acuminate apices, rounded to cordate bases, and serrate margins. U.S. Plant Patent PP21,227 was issued on August 24, 2010

Hydrangeas sold under the trade name of ENDLESS SUMMER are often now referred to as being part of the ENDLESS SUMMER collection. The ENDLESS SUMMER collection includes as of January 2014 four U. S. patented plants: (1) ENDLESS SUMMER THE ORIGINAL(H. macrophylla 'Bailmer') which is a mophead featuring pink flowers in alkaline soils or blue flowers in acidic soils (PP15,298), (2) ENDLESS SUMMER 'Blushing Bride'(H. macrophylla 'Blushing Bride') which is a mophead featuring white flowers lightly flushed with pink (PP17,169), (3) ENDLESS SUMMER TWIST-N-SHOUT(H. arborescens 'Piihm-I') which is a lace cap featuring pink flowers in alkaline soils or blue flowers in acidic soils (PP20,176), and (4) ENDLESS SUMMER BELLA ANNA (H. arborescens 'Piiha-I') which is a mophead featuring magenta pink flowers (PP21,227). All ENDLESS SUMMER plants produce flowers on both old and new growth, resulting in excellent repeat flowering throughout the summer as emphasized by the trade name. All ENDLESS SUMMER plants also have excellent winter hardiness (to USDA Zone 4), and rarely suffer winter injury in the St. Louis area.

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.