How To Trim Panicle Hydrangeas

A panicle hydrangea may have been sold to you as a shrub, a plant with a raised head known as a tree form, or another kind “according to a nursery industry standard. The same pruning techniques apply to both.

The best time to prune is in the early spring, when the first green shoots begin to emerge but the risk of frost has passed.

How to prune: When you notice those green eyes poking out from the branches in the early spring, that’s when you should start pruning. Take out your bypass pruners because it’s time to chop! The buds on these plants are opposite (buds that form opposite to each other along the stems). Determine which sets are virtually parallel to the ground before beginning to prune ” (basically one “eye is pointing up toward the sky, and the other is pointing down). You’ll be pruning back to these buds because doing so pushes the plant to develop outward rather than inward, which would crowd out the interior of the plant. The goal is to take out about a third of the entire plant. To do this, prune back each branch that emerges from the main trunk while making sure to leave at least three sets of buds remain. More plant pruning, especially while the plant is young, could severely limit development and the flower display. Your plants should ultimately resemble coat racks or deer antlers. Don’t panic if you find yourself cutting quite deeply into wood that is only the size of your thumb in some instances. This is not harmful.

Remove one of the two opposite buds that will push where your pruning cut was made to produce larger flowers (but fewer overall). Wait until the stems that grow from these buds are approximately 6 inches long. Leave the outer buds on if you want more smaller flowers.

Buds will start to form on the inside of the plant a little later in the spring. Just use your fingers to pull them off. In order to create enormous flowers, these inner buds will deplete some of the plant’s resources. Additionally, they will cram the inside plant by pushing branches inside. It’s simpler to handle the issue now with just your fingers than to have to use a tool later to cut these branches off.

When should panicle hydrangeas be pruned?

Pruning is a difficult chore, particularly if your shrub is really large. The best techniques for pruning a Panicle Hydrangea are demonstrated to you by Brandon, Ashcombe’s Nursery Manager. Please be aware of the type of Hydrangea you are working with before attempting to use these advice; they may not apply to other varieties.

The preferred tools for this task are hand pruners and loppers. The pruning procedure will go more smoothly if both are available. Make sure the equipment is clean. Tools that are dirty might spread diseases from one plant to another. Brandon advises cleaning with rubbing alcohol. Either dunk your instruments in the rubbing alcohol or rub the blades with a towel that has been dampened with the solvent. Before use, sharpen your tools. For smaller cuts close to the top of the shrub, hand pruners work best; loppers are used later, when you get to the bottom.

How you prune depends on why you’re doing it. Brandon is trimming a shrub that has outgrown its current location since it has gotten too huge. When trimming, keep in mind that the area you pruned will grow 4 feet the next season. Brandon wants to reduce the size of this plant and increase the size of its blossoms.

Make your selection for where to prune using your pruning shears. How much growth you observe in the following growing season depends depend on where you prune. To guarantee growth in the following season, always trim above a bud set. To make this shrub smaller and encourage fewer but larger blooms, Brandon will cut it back to the bud sets, which are about a foot off the ground.

In the growth season, you will observe more blooms, albeit they will be smaller, the higher up the shrub you trim. You can also deadhead the plant just before the next bud forms on each branch to encourage more and smaller blooms. Just remove the flower to restructure the bush and promote numerous, smaller blooms.

Brandon may regulate the size and number of blooms on this plant by trimming the shrub to a height of about a foot from the ground.

Should panicle hydrangeas be deadheaded?

To keep your hydrangeas looking their best and promote the development of new flowers, deadhead regularly during the blooming season.

But in mid- to late-fall, stop deadheading hydrangea shrubs, leaving any spent blooms in situ. This not only adds beauty to the winter landscape but also guarantees that the buds that will bloom the following spring are not removed.

How should a panicle hydrangea be cared for?

Panicle hydrangeas are the most sun-tolerant hydrangeas, and in cooler locations (like USDA zones 3-6), we advise at least four hours of full sunlight each day; six or more is desirable since it promotes the healthiest stems and the most flowers. Even though the plants should receive at least some sun each day, afternoon shade is advantageous in hotter locations (USDA zone 7 and warmer).

Panicle hydrangeas are generally not picky about soil, but excellent drainage is essential. Avoid growing them in any region where it is consistently damp because this can cause root rot. Other than that, any common soil in your garden would do. Even clay soil can support their growth if it is well-drained. As a result, unless you reside in a region with extremely acidic or alkaline soil, you shouldn’t need to make any adjustments to successfully produce panicle hydrangeas.

When planting panicle hydrangeas, avoid adding any soil amendments. When planting in the ground, don’t fill the hole with any type of compost, potting mix, top soil, etc. This results in something known as the “bathtub effect: When you add an amendment, water seeps in very quickly, but as it drains and contacts the surrounding native soil, it slows to a stop. It remains around the roots throughout this time, making them vulnerable to rot. This is the number one reason we’ve observed that recently planted panicle hydrangeas could struggle, so it bears reiterating here even though it is our advise for planting all of our shrubs. Make life simple for you and your new plant by planting just into your natural soil, watering immediately after planting, and mulching with 2-3/5-7 cm of finely chopped bark.

Panicle hydrangeas require constant watering throughout their first year or two of growth, much like any freshly planted shrub or tree. They can tolerate dry circumstances after they are established, but very hot, dry weather might hinder blooming, thus regular watering is advised for the most and prettiest flowers.

Panicle hydrangeas typically don’t need to be fertilized on a regular basis. A springtime application of a granular shrub fertilizer (like a rose fertilizer) will do if you want them to grow more swiftly. Avoid over-fertilizing panicle hydrangeas as this can result in brittle stems. Be especially cautious of inadvertent fertilizer, such as that provided to a neighboring grass or flower bed, as they frequently contain high nitrogen levels and are more likely to promote weak stems through quick, soft growth.

“The word “panicle” refers to the plant’s blossoms’ arrangement and shape, although it’s best to picture them as about football-shaped (and large!). In zones 8/9, mid-late April is when they blossom. The blooms begin the summer season white, but as the season progresses, the days begin to grow shorter and the nights become cooler, the blossoms begin to take on pink to red tones. The specific hue will vary according on the variety; some may completely change color, while others will do so gradually, creating a multicolored shaded impression. Muddy-colored blossoms often signal that the plant is receiving too much shadow and/or that temperatures, especially at night, have been too hot.

The color that the blooms take on is a genetic feature that emerges with the normal aging of the floret cells and is unaffected by any soil factor, such as pH level. Panicle hydrangeas’ color cannot be altered by growing them in acidic soil or applying aluminum sulfate; they will always remain in the pink/red spectrum.

Panicle hydrangeas require little to no winter care because they can withstand freezing temperatures so well. It is ready to withstand the next cold, ice, snow, and wind as long as a thick 2-3/5-7cm layer of mulch is over the roots.

On fresh wood, panicle hydrangeas blossom.

In other words, they don’t start producing flower buds until the spring, once they’ve started to leaf out. This means that pruning them won’t have an adverse effect on how well they bloom. Despite not being strictly essential, pruning promotes stronger stems, better blooming, and an all-around more beautiful shape. Keep trimming to a minimum while the plant is still young and hasn’t had a chance to grow a strong body if you are starting with a very small plant, like one you bought online.

When to prune: Panicle hydrangeas can either be pruned in early spring, right as the new growth starts to emerge, or in late fall, after the plant has completely gone dormant (i.e., has shed all of its leaves and has been bare for at least two weeks). Aim to reduce the plant by roughly one-third of its total height, or roughly 2′ if it is 6′ tall. You should also remove any side branches and thin, spindly stems. For more advice on caring for and pruning panicle hydrangea trees, sometimes referred to as standard or tree-form hydrangeas, check our article.

What occurs if hydrangeas are not pruned?

If and when you prune is the key to happy, healthy hydrangea flowers. Of course, fertilizing and offering the ideal environment have a lot to recommend them. 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.

What kind of flowers are panicle hydrangeas?

The panicle hydrangea is a hardy plant. The flowers are arranged in clusters, resembling large lilacs. They are initially green or white, but as they get older, the majority develop a pleasant pink tinge. Even in the winter, panicle hydrangeas look beautiful!

Should I remove the brown blooms on my hydrangea?

Myers advises leaving the dried blossoms on your hydrangeas if you’re looking for an easy way to spice up your winter yard. Bigleaf hydrangeas produce their final rush of flowers in the fall, so to enjoy the dried blossoms all winter long, stop deadheading at that time. To aid in the production of healthy buds in the spring, these can be removed.

Do they bloom on old wood, new wood or both?

The most challenging aspect about hydrangeas is that they come in a variety of floral forms:

On fresh wood, panicle and smooth hydrangeas bloom (growth created in the current season). After the plant leaves out in the spring, flower buds form and blossom a few months later in the summer. Because of this, these plants reliably bloom every year, regardless of how chilly the winter was.

Climbing, bigleaf, mountain, and oakleaf hydrangeas bloom on aged wood (growth created in the previous season). Flower buds start to form in the late summer and must remain dormant throughout the fall, winter, and spring for the summer to come. Therefore, these plants won’t bloom if:

  • They are cut back. Potential flower buds will be removed by pruning at any moment.
  • Deer will consume the flower buds as they wander through them.
  • The weather has harmed them. The issue isn’t with winter weather; rather, flower buds are more vulnerable to harm in the spring when many days of warm weather are followed by a rapid freeze.

Big leaf and mountain hydrangeas that rebloom, also known as remontant hydrangeas, have the unusual capacity to bloom on both old and new wood. The plant can still flower on wood it generates in the winter even if the weather damages the buds. The Let’s Dance series and Tuff Stuff are reblooming cultivars.