When Should You Prune Your Hydrangeas

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.

Should hydrangeas be pruned back during the winter?

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.

Should hydrangeas be pruned annually?

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. If not, there won’t be any blossoms the next spring.

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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What results from pruning hydrangeas?

Mophead hydrangeas and lacecap hydrangeas, commonly known as bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla), are pruned using the same technique.

With its broad, roundish heads of huge petals in colours of blue, pink, green, and white, mophead hydrangeas are a popular choice for gardens. They are therefore a popular shrub option for cottage garden ideas and are also effective shade-giving bushes.

Small blooms in the center of the bloom and a border of bigger petals on the outside help identify lacecap hydrangeas.

The experts at Thompson & Morgan suggest that in order to winterize hydrangeas, “it’s better to leave the faded blooms in place over the winter to safeguard vulnerable new buds from frost damage.”

Early in the spring, while pruning lacecaps and mophead hydrangeas:

  • To promote new growth that will produce better blooms, remove one or two of the plant’s oldest, weakest stems at the base.
  • Just above a pair of buds, carefully remove any old flowerheads using secateurs.
  • Don’t remove any of the blossom buds, please.
  • Cut the stems down to the plant’s root system if the bigleaf hydrangea shrub has been neglected and has a lot of overlapping, tangled branches. The hydrangea won’t blossom until the next year, though.

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

Trimming season for hydrangeas that bloom on new wood runs from late fall through early spring. This group includes smooth and peegee forms, which function well whether they are pruned lightly, to the ground, or not at all. In order to maintain a compact stature and luxuriant flowering, Peegee hydrangeas are frequently pruned into trees with one or two main stems that are between 15 and 30 feet tall.

Smooth hydrangeas can be pruned all the way to the ground; however, the more frequently they are cut, the less able their stems are to withstand the weight of their huge blooms. Smooth hydrangeas grow in mounds that are 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. When the plants are pruned to leave between 18 and 24 inches of growth, a woody base forms that helps the stems support the pompom blooms more effectively.

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.

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.

Do I need to remove the Brown hydrangea leaves?

If newly emerging hydrangea leaves or flower buds are exposed to a late-spring frost or chilly winds, they will turn brown. A unexpected cold spell can harm the newly emerging buds and leaves, which are exceptionally delicate and susceptible to injury. This can cause the buds to turn brown and wither away.

Naturally, hydrangeas grow in protected regions under trees that block chilly winds and produce a more stable microclimate that allows the young flowers to open up without facing a serious risk of frost.

Hydrangeas’ newly formed buds and leaves can become mushy and their leaves can turn brown when they sustain frost damage.

Since it is more exposed to the environment, the outermost growth is typically the one that suffers from the worst damage.

Sadly, the harmed flower buds are therefore unable to bloom, and the freshly growing growth is probably not going to recover.

Frost damage to hydrangea flower buds and foliage is more common in exposed areas, so plant or move your hydrangea to a more protected area of the garden, close to your house, or close to some other plants and hedges.

Particularly hedgerows are great wind breakers since they shield your hydrangea from the elements and might lessen the effects of frost.

There isn’t much you can do to save flower buds or younger leaves after they turn brown. As a result, prune back to healthy growth any growth that has been harmed by the frost.

In contrast to the flower buds on the plant’s outermost part, which are naturally less protected, hydrangeas frequently have growing flower buds farther down each branch. These flower buds typically survive a frost.

This implies that your hydrangea can still bloom, but much later and with fewer flowers emerging. With a little patience, you should still be able to enjoy some lovely blooms throughout the Summer.

In the winter, what shouldn’t you cut back on?

The garden becomes desolate as the nights grow longer and the weather turns colder. There is no doubting that your garden will need some assistance as winter approaches.

Even though the majority of plants are dormant, winter is a very busy season in gardens, which non-plant lovers may not be aware of. Winter is the time to tidy up flowerbeds, trim back ornamental grasses and perennials, take care of fruiting bushes, and prune some plants (we have a list right here). While many plants and trees can and should be pruned in the fall or winter, just after the last bloom of the year and before the new season’s development begins, there are some plants that should never be touched.

The following plants should never be pruned in the winter:

Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned at the end of winter or in the early spring, but we’re adding them here because it’s strongly advised against using shears in the middle of the winter. They still have time to set blossoms for the following year if you prune at the end of winter or the beginning of spring. You can also prune back deciduous shrubs that aren’t grown for their flowers at the same time.

Late April, right after they stop blooming, is the optimum time to prune them. Later in the year, pruning may result in the removal of buds.

Jasmine should not be pruned in the winter, as with other plants that bloom in the spring, otherwise you risk not having blossoms.

Spring-blooming bushes should be pruned as soon as the spring blossoms start to fade.

Old wood should never be cut back into because this can damage the plants. Till April, leave the fragile French lavender alone.

You’ll lose the buds that would have blossomed in spring if you harvest lavender too early.

You will eliminate flower buds and reduce the number of spring blooms if you prune them later in the growth season or during the winter.

If you prune a forsythia in the winter, just like other spring-blooming plants, you risk removing flower buds.

If you trim a magnolia in the winter, you risk losing the buds that will eventually blossom into magnificent flowers.

These trees that bloom in the early spring should be left alone throughout the winter, just as spring-flowering shrubs, so that buds can develop and produce blooms in the spring.

After they blossom, prune these trees to preserve your summer fruit crop.

Pruning maples in winter can result in a lot of sap, just like with birches, elms, and other so-called “bleeder” trees. Avoid a potential disaster by waiting until the summer.

Winter cutting of these flowers should be avoided as it could hinder their spring growth.

Winter trimming may lose you your flowers because some rose kinds, such as damasks, climbers, and ancient garden varieties, only bloom once a year. Instead, wait until they have blossomed in the summer before pruning.