How To Prepare A Hydrangea For Winter

Protecting flower buds is the aim of winter hydrangea care. The simplest approach is to pile 12 inches or so of mulch made of chopped-up leaves or bark around the base of the plant. After the ground freezes in the late fall, set the mulch pile there. Plants can then be exposed in the spring, when the temperature starts to stay above freezing.

When pruning hydrangeas for the winter?

If and when you prune is the key to happy, healthy hydrangea flowers. Of course, there’s a lot to be said for fertilizing and giving the correct place. However, if you don’t prune properly, your efforts will be in vain. Deadheading is not the same as trimming. Pruning refers to more drastic cutting to preserve shape or remove dead growth. However, feel free to discard spent blossoms or cut fresh ones to use in arrangements.

Hydrangeas can bloom on either fresh wood or old wood, depending on the species. The wood from which they blossom determines whether and when to prune.

Old wood-blooming hydrangeas do not require pruning and benefit from it. They’ll blossom more abundantly the next season if you leave them alone. But feel free to deadhead or gently thin. Just keep in mind that while new growth may appear, it won’t bloom until the following season. In our region, four different species blossom on aged wood. Additionally, they are not limited to the hues displayed here.

Climb using suckers. On your wall or trellis, resist the desire to remove the dormant growth.

The flower heads are more conical in appearance, and the leaves are large and resemble oak leaves. It’s a pleasant surprise for a hydrangea when its leaves turn reddish-orange in the fall.

They are very comparable to lacecap types, but smaller and with more compact leaves.

Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring on hydrangeas that bloom on new wood. Trim back to two feet to prune to shape. The next season’s blossoms are produced by strong, fresh growth that is encouraged by trimming. In our region, there are two types that bloom on fresh wood. They are also not restricted to the colors displayed.

Oakleaf variants are not included in cone-shaped blooms. Keep the blooms on throughout the winter to provide interest; even dried out, they are quite lovely.

regarded as a wild kind. They often have smaller blooms and leaves than Bigleaf variants and are completely white. They enjoy full sun and can grow very tall.

Knowing whether or when to prune now will help you avoid the disappointment of a hydrangea that doesn’t blossom. Don’t forget that a robust shrub will produce more gorgeous blossoms if it has well-draining soil and good organic fertilizer. Come on in, and we’ll show you where to go to develop your green thumb.

Should hydrangeas be pruned in the fall?

When do you prune? Only prune these hydrangeas in the summer after bloom, not in the fall. In August and September, old wood hydrangeas begin to form their bloom buds for the following year. It is advisable to delay pruning your hydrangeas until the following year if you don’t do it right away.

Cut back these shrubs in late winter before new growth begins

Shrubs that flower on young wood typically start blooming later than old-growth bloomers, beginning in June and continuing until the first frost, because they need to grow and set buds the same year that they bloom. As long as you avoid trimming when the flower buds are opening, these shrubs are understanding if it is not done at a specific period.

1. Trim the flowers all the way back for larger blooms.

These bushes can be completely removed from the ground in late winter or the beginning of spring. If cut severely like this every year, smooth hydrangeas will produce much larger flowers, but many gardeners prefer smaller blooms on stronger stems.

2. Maintain an old growth foundation to lessen flopping

Especially after watering from above or after a heavy storm, the branches of some hydrangeas frequently topple over from the weight of their blooms. Cutting the stems to a height of 18 to 24 inches will help to reduce this flopping by creating a strong framework for fresh growth.

Janet Carson is the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s horticulture specialist.

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Which month should hydrangeas be pruned?

Depending on which group the plant belongs to, the timing and extent of pruning are determined:

Advice on Pruning for Group 1:

  • As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder in the late summer and fall, buds for the following year’s blooms start to form.
  • Typically, removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches is all that is required to preserve shape, size, and a healthy plant. Otherwise, gentle pruning ought to be practiced.
  • In the summer, trimming should begin as soon as flowering ends, but no later than August 1. Pruning should not be done in the fall, winter, or spring because you risk removing fresh buds.
  • Tip-pruning the branches in the spring as the leaves begin to appear can promote more numerous, smaller flower heads as opposed to fewer, larger flower heads.

Advice on Pruning for Group 2:

  • On the growth of the current year, flower buds form.
  • Early in the spring, as the leaves are starting to emerge, prune.
  • Just above a node, prune branches back by half to a third.
  • After that, prune any fragile or spindly branches.
  • Minimal trimming encourages huge, strong bushes with many of tiny flower heads in H. arborescens. Hard pruning between 12 and 18 inches from the ground, or even all the way down, will result in fewer but larger flower heads that may flop if unsupported.
  • For H. paniculata, remove the surrounding smaller wood while leaving the larger stems in order to establish a sturdy foundation.

Pruning may be connected to flower head size. Shoots will grow more vigorously and flower heads will be bigger and fewer with more rigorous trimming. Smaller but more numerous flower heads may result from less aggressive or tip pruning.

Consideration of hydrangeas’ mature size is the best piece of advise. Place them in a location where they won’t outgrow and won’t need a lot of pruning to keep them in check. Hydrangeas don’t need to be pruned precisely or often; as long as dead wood is removed, they will remain healthy and continue to develop and bloom.

What are hydrangeas used for in the fall?

Maintaining your hydrangea can greatly impact its blooms the next year. When given enough time and the right care, hydrangeas are resilient and can recover from virtually anything.

See our comprehensive growth guide for hydrangeas here after reading the fall maintenance advice below!

Because some hydrangea kinds do not like to be clipped in the fall, it is crucial to first identify your variety.

If you have hydrangeas in your garden, you should be aware that there are two different varieties. Both types develop blossom buds, one on new wood and the other on old wood. If a stem has remained on the plant since the previous summer, it is referred to as old wood. Stems that form this season are considered new wood. The majority of hydrangea species that are found in gardens are old wood bloomers, including as Mophead, Big Leaf, Lacecap, and Oakleaf types. Check your variety once more at the neighborhood garden center.

Hydrangeas can grow for many years without being pruned, but it’s time to cut them if they become unkempt, take over a portion of the garden, or stop producing new growth. But when should they be pruned?

After the summer blooms on old wood bloomers or fall blooming hydrangeas, prune them. Old, woody hydrangeas that are pruned in the fall will not bloom the following season.

Hydrangeas that bloom in the summer or those that do so on fresh wood are clipped in the fall, after their flowering season has ended.

Early in the season, hydrangeas are brilliant and colorful, but they are difficult to preserve after being cut. Once they begin to dry on the bush, they are simpler to maintain.

Your plant will have weak, wispy growth near the bottom. Reduce them. They will consume energy that could be used by your plant to produce blossoms.

On your stems, look for any dead stumps. They won’t have sprung any buds or new wood from the original old wood. To totally remove the dead stumps, cut them to the ground at the base. This will give the new growth below a chance to flourish.

To make way for new buds to emerge, old and dead blossoms must be eliminated. To promote flowers for the following summer, remove the flower head immediately above the first few leaves.

Observe the plant’s shape from a distance. The shrub should be pruned into the shape you desire; a spherical is the traditional shape, but you can prune it however you like!

Clean up any leftover debris from the plant’s foundation. Make sure your soil is devoid of all weeds, dead flowers, and leaves.

Feed your blue hydrangeas with Holly-tone to maintain acidic soil and vibrant flowers. Alternatively, choose Flower-tone.

Feed your hydrangeas two to three times each week from spring till fall for the greatest results.

Your hydrangeas will remain healthy and vibrant for many years if you follow these simple instructions.

How should hydrangeas seem throughout the winter?

Throughout the summer, the enormous flower heads of hydrangea bushes (Hydrangea spp.) can cover a landscape with eye-catching flashes of blue, pink, or white. Most hydrangea cultivars, which are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, can survive a moderate winter without particular care, but they benefit from careful watering, pruning, fertilizing, mulching, and weathering over the chilly season for their spring growth and beauty. Winter doesn’t cover their stems, and if they aren’t clipped, old flower heads will turn brown.


If not removed, the dried and blackened flower heads of hydrangeas will stay that way all winter long. In the fall, hydrangeas likewise lose their leaves, but the brown stalks hold upright unless they are cut back.

In the spring, how far back should hydrangeas be pruned?

You can prune hydrangeas paniculata and aborescens more severely without losing this year’s blossoms because they bloom on new wood. Although pruning is not necessary, if it is not done the plant will grow taller, with the majority of its flowers at the top.

Cut back to a healthy framework

Trim the previous year’s growth back to a strong framework that is between 30 cm and 60 cm high in the early spring. On each stem, prune to just above a pair of sound buds. For large flowers, prune back to the lowest healthy buds; less firmly for a more natural appearance or a higher plant.

Watch Monty Don describe the many hydrangea trimming techniques in spring:

Which hydrangeas ought to be left alone?

Here are several common hydrangea varieties and when to prune them:

  • The most popular species of big-leaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophyla, are the well-known mopheads and lacecaps, which come in a variety of shades including blue, violet, pink, purple, red, and white. After flowering, trim them since they blossom in the early summer on old wood.
  • Hydrangea quercifolia, sometimes known as oakleaf hydrangea, is a native hydrangea with cone-shaped white blooms that turn a stunning shade of russet in the late summer. It too blooms on old wood, thus pruning shouldn’t be done before flowering.
  • Panicle hydrangeas, Hydrangea paniculata: These shrubs (Tardivas, PeeGees) burst into panicle-shaped white flowers in mid- to late summer and are frequently pruned into tree forms. Prune these in the early spring before they produce new foliage since they blossom on fresh wood.
  • Hydrangea arborescens, ‘Annabelle’: This variety flowers on new wood as well, so prune in early spring. In the spring, the globe-shaped blooms start out chartreuse and gradually turn white.

recurring, or “Reblooming hydrangeas: This unique breed of hydrangeas was developed to bloom multiple times throughout the growing season. They come in a variety of colors, and “Endless Summer” is one of the most well-known cultivars. This means that these hydrangeas can be pruned at any time because they bloom on both old and new wood.

Remove any dead branches and limbs from a hydrangea that blooms on old wood before thinning down the center of the plant to allow more sunlight to enter. The Tardiva and PeeGee types, which flower on fresh wood, can be trimmed judiciously by removing branches that don’t conform to the plant’s desired shape or regulate size. The most extreme haircuts are available for ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas, which can have their entire shrub cut back to six to twelve inches above ground.

Do you now comprehend why the query “One of the biggest mysteries in gardening is when to prune my hydrangeas.

Should I remove the brown blooms on my hydrangea?

Your hydrangea shrubs’ blossoms appear to be withering or turning brown. No need to worry—this is merely a signal that it’s time to deadhead—remove the blossoms from the plant.

Deadheading hydrangeas doesn’t cause any damage to the plants at all. Flowering shrubs stop producing seeds when the spent blooms are removed, and instead focus their efforts on developing their roots and leaves. You will be doing your hydrangeas a favor by deadheading because this strengthens and makes plants healthier.

How is a hydrangea pruned?

In the late winter, early spring, or just above a big bud known as a heading cut, trim back stems. The flower heads of these plants have a conical form. I wait to prune these until late winter or spring because I advise leaving the dried, tan flower heads on the plant to add some winter beauty to your garden. Favorite panicle hydrangeas include:

  • H. paniculata ‘Bulk’ PP16, 812, Quick Fire
  • (H. paniculata ‘Limelight’)
  • Berry White (H. paniculata ‘Renba’ PP28, 509) first editions

What occurs if hydrangeas are not deadheaded?

Deadheading too-tall hydrangeas can occasionally be challenging. Your other option is to keep them on if you don’t have the skills to reach spent flowers or all of the spent blooms. And you can do that without suffering too much harm.

Simply omit deadheading hydrangeas, and your plant won’t suffer. At least nothing major enough to need worrying about.

Your hydrangea might not produce as many or as large of blooms as it would have if the spent blooms had been removed. It will nevertheless continue to bloom.

Having said that, you can think about pruning hydrangeas that have gotten too tall in order to make them smaller and easier to handle.

This will make it simpler for you to maintain the tidy appearance of your hydrangeas. Additionally, it will make it simpler to remove spent blooms from plants and promote future blooms with greater vigor.