It’s spring and time to prune hydrangeas. What do I need to prune them? Where do I prune them? Should I even prune them? Here is a step by step guide on how to prune hydrangeas.
I love hydrangeas and have slowly been adding more and more to my gardens over the years. I never even realized at first that there were two types of hydrangeas and that some should be pruned in the spring and others shouldn’t.
What type of hydrangea do I have?
There are two types of hydrangeas; those that bloom on new wood and those that bloom on last year’s growth. We’re first going to talk about the kind that blooms on new wood. There are two main categories of hydrangeas that bloom on new wood. So when should hydrangeas be pruned? What happens if I don’t cut back my hydrangeas? How far back should I prune my hydrangea? How do you prune a hydrangea bush?
Hydrangeas that Bloom on New Wood
- Hydrangea paniculata (panicle hydrangea)
- Hydrangea arborescens (smooth hydrangea)
Some Paniculata Varieties
Limelight, Little Lime, Bobo, Firelight, Little Lamb, Quick Fire, Little Quick Fire, Pinky Winky, Zinfin Doll, Vanilla Strawberry, PeeGee, etc
Some Arborescens Varieties
Incrediball, Invincibelle, Annabelle
So if you have any of the above varieties then you will prune in the spring
The other type of hydrangea grows on last year’s growth so if you prune it in the Spring then you’re cutting off the growth for the year.
Hydrangeas that Bloom on Old Wood
- Oakleaf (quercifolia) hydrangeas,
- Mophead (macrophylla) hydrangeas
- Laceleaf (macrophylla normalis)
These varieties should only be pruned in the summer and before August because they produce their blooms on old wood and are formed in August through October; so if you prune them anywhere from August through to spring then you’re cutting off their blooms!
When should hydrangeas be pruned?
Aborescens and Paniculata varieties should be pruned in the Spring once the buds have started to swell.
Quercifolia and Macrophylla varieties should only be pruned in the summer before August because the blooms for the coming year begin forming already in August.
How do you prune a hydrangea bush?
Today we just discussing how to prune hydrangeas that bloom on NEW wood only
How to Prune a Hydrangea that Blooms on New Wood (Paniculata or Aborescens)
Cut out any damaged or dead shoots from last year
Remove any spindly, weak shoots because they are just using up the plant’s energy and are not producing much.
Look at the individual shoots and locate the two swelling buds
Make a clean cut right above the two buds
Repeat this process until the shrub is completely pruned.
What happens if I don’t cut back my hydrangeas?
The plant won’t die but it could start to look scraggily. If weak branches are not pruned out then the overall appearance of the shrub will be weaker and messier looking. Old blooms that are not pruned off will be brown and might look out of place next to the next green shoots.
How far back should I prune my hydrangea?
The general rule of thumb is to prune back 1/3 of the overall hydrangea.
Should I fertilize my hydrangea in the spring?
In the spring it’s a good idea to give your hydrangea a fertilizer for acid loving plants. I use a fertilizer from Miracle Gro and just water it around the drip line of the hydrangea.
Varieties of Hydrangeas that I Grow in My Gardens