For many hobby gardeners, hydrangeas are the highlight of their garden design, because they grow and bloom in bright colors throughout the garden. Unlike some exotic plants, hydrangeas are not difficult to care for. The most important care measure is an annual pruning. This should be done at different times depending on the type of hydrangea. Find out below when and how to prune your hydrangeas…
How should you properly prune your hydrangeas?
Hydrangea pruning: you should know that!
All about “pruning hydrangeas”
The best time to prune depends on the particular variety of hydrangea you have. The most common cultivars, the Peegee hydrangea (H. paniculata grandiflora), have huge, snowball-shaped flower clusters that bloom in mid to late summer. The flowers are white at first and then slowly turn pink. This strain does well with regular pruning, usually done in late winter or early spring, to shape the plant and encourage new growth.
Enjoy the splendor of hydrangeas in your garden
When to cut hydrangeas
The answer to this question is related to the hydrangea variety.
Bigleaf, mophead, or florist’s hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are also a popular variety thanks to their easy-to-control flower coloration (blue in acidic soil, pink in alkaline). They should be cut back once the flowers have faded and before buds have formed, usually in early to mid autumn.
Another popular variety is the Hills-of-Snow or Sevenbark Hydrangea (H. arborescens grandiflora). This strain does not winter well in colder areas so will likely be thrown back to the ground in winter and will not need pruning. In warmer areas, winter pruning can be done any time after the leaves have fallen off the plant. A similar variety, Annabelle, should be treated in the same way.
Hydrangeas come in all different colors
The oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) is usually grown for its leaves and not for its flowers. Since it only blooms on new shoots, this variety can be cut back in late winter or early spring. This also applies to other, similar varieties such as Tea of Heaven (H. serrata).
Climbing hydrangeas, which are more of a vine than a shrub, do not need pruning except to maintain their shape and size.
A sea of blue hydrangeas in the garden
Hydrangeas are easy-care garden plants
Pruning hydrangeas: tips
Regardless of the hydrangea variety, the cut is always the same. Once you’ve set the timing, the rest depends on what goals you want to achieve with the cutting. Dead branches and foliage should of course be removed, regardless of how this affects the appearance of the plant. The rest of the helpful pruning is done on the living parts of the plants.
Learn to prune your hydrangeas like a pro
Most hydrangea varieties, with the exception of the BigLeaf, Mophead, Florist and Climbing varieties, only flower and thrive on new shoots. To encourage regrowth and therefore maximum flowering, these plants should be pruned back by about 1/3 unless you want to continue growing the whole plant to maintain size and volume. In this case, the cut should be made about 3 to 4 inches from the live ends. This encourages new growth and does little to shrink the plant.
When pruning BigLeaf, Mopehead, or Florist hydrangeas, trimmings should be the same measurements, but not on the buds, as these overwinter and bloom in spring.
Hydrangea pruning made easy
How are hydrangeas pruned?
Cut straight with scissors unless you want to influence the direction of new growth. Make sure the scissors are sharp so they cut cleanly and don’t crush the branch or trunk. Bruising can cause damage that prevents new growth. Also, the torn or jagged ends from cutting with a knife can be a problem.
Prune your hydrangeas with an eye to new growth and shape. Most prefer the rounded shape that most hydrangeas naturally have. The lowest branches are the ones that should be given the most attention to get them in the right shape.
Pruning hydrangeas correctly: Get some useful tips from the experts!
Gardening: Prune hydrangeas in spring