Everything You Need to Know about Hydrangeas

Mar 15, 2023

If you are looking for a plant that is easy to maintain and can elevate the look of your landscape, garden, or backyard, hydrangeas are the perfect pick. Featuring beautiful pom pom-like flowers, attractive leaves, and an interesting bark, hydrangeas are one of the most popular flowering woody shrubs in the world. In addition to being disease- and insect-resistant and versatile, a hydrangea can grow well in different types of soils compared to other woody plants. Some common hydrangea species include Hydrangea Paniculata, Hydrangea Macrophylla, and Hydrangea Petiolaris. This article will teach you everything you need to know about hydrangeas.

When to Prune Hydrangeas

You will need to prune hydrangeas in order to keep them in a tidy and neat shape. Not pruning hydrangeas can tangle the old flowers with the new ones, ruining the curb appeal of your garden. However, similar to most flowering shrubs, the time to prune hydrangeas depends on two factors:

  • Hydrangeas that bloom on the old wood flower before July.
  • Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood flowers after July (in the current year).

Because some hydrangeas bloom on new wood and some on old, it is advised to prune the flowering shrubs that bloom on new wood in the early spring or late winter. On the flip side, hydrangeas that blood on the old wood should be pruned as soon as the flowers have faded. Out of all hydrangeas species, only climbing hydrangeas need to be pruned in the late summers once they have finished flowering.

How to Prune Hydrangeas | Step-by-Step Guide

Want to keep the hydrangeas in a manageable size and length? Pruning is the solution. Regular pruning also stimulates the growth of new shoots and flowers, enhancing the look of your garden. To prune hydrangeas, you will need lawn waste bags and bypass pruners.

1.      Pruning Smooth Hydrangeas

Smooth hydrangeas species include Incrediball, Annabelle, Grandiflora, and H. arborescens. These hydrangeas bloom on new wood and feature bright while-colored flowers and a round shrub with smooth leaves. Here is a guide on how to prune a smooth hydrangea plant in early spring:

  • Step 01: Start by removing any injured or dead branches to the ground or stem level.
  • Step 02: Trim the remaining branches to give the plant a round shape. It is advised to remove one-third part of every stem’s length.
  • Step 03: If the shrub has few but large flower heads, hard prune them 18 to 12 inches from the ground.

2.      Pruning BigLeaf Hydrangeas

Blooming on old wood, the big leaf hydrangeas should be pruned in summer to ensure you don’t remove any flower buds. Typically, these woody flowering shrubs do great even without pruning. However, if you want to prune them to maintain a good size and shape, here’s our guide:

  • Step 01: Use a bypass pruner to trim or clip away spent flowers.
  • Step 02: Prune away weak or dead stems. Make sure that you don’t end up pruning all the old wood, as it is essential to ensure the smooth growth of future flowers.

Pruning for Size: In case your hydrangea has outgrown, and you want to trim it, use a bypass pruner to carefully chop off selected branches to the stem or ground level. Instead of mistakenly pruning all healthy branches, trim one-third of the total mass.

3.      Pruning Mophead Hydrangeas

Mophead hydrangeas require light trimming and should be pruned at the end of spring. Follow these steps to prune mophead hydrangeas without damaging the plant:

  • Step 01: Start by deadheading all the old flower heads. Cut all the way back to the first pair of strong flower buds.
  • Step 02: Now remove all damaged, dead, and crossing stems.
  • Step 03: If you are dealing with an older plant, cut two or three old stems to the ground level. Doing this will encourage new plant growth.

4.      Pruning Climbing Hydrangeas

Climbing hydrangea slowly makes its way up to the tree or any other support nearby. Instead of the classic shrub, the climbing hydrangea has a woody vine with flowers that require little to no pruning in the first 2 to 3 years. However, once the vines start growing, they can reach a height of up to 32ft (10m), making it important to prune them in order to control their growth.

Pruning to Control the Size: If you are pruning the climbing hydrangea to control its growth, prune them after the flowering season in summer to avoid cutting flower buds. Use a pruner to trim the sides of the woody vine.

Pruning to Rejuvenate the Plant: Overgrown or neglected vines should be cut in the early spring. While this might reduce the flowering for one or two years, it is necessary to ensure robust roots and stems of the hydrangea.

Hydrangeas Care Tips and Tricks

If you have planted hydrangeas in your lawn and want to keep them blooming all year long, here are some hydrangea care tips to make the flowering shrub maintaining process easier:

  • Before you plant the hydrangea, make sure that there is sufficient planting space. Hydrangeas require a planting space of 3 to 10 feet, depending on the species.
  • During the growing season, water the hydrangeas one inch per week. Make sure to water the hydrangeas 3 times a week.
  • Give the hydrangeas an occasional boost of fertiliser based on the species. For example, smooth hydrangea plants must be fertilised once in the winter. Panicle and Oakleaf hydrangeas should be fertilised two times (once in April and once in June).
  • Bigleaf hydrangeas should be lightly fertilised in June, May, and March.

Bottom Line

There’s nothing more beautiful than a large flower bed of blooming hydrangeas in the summer and spring seasons. While hydrangeas might seem difficult to maintain, with the right environmental conditions and care, you can easily grow a stunning garden filled with flowering shrubs. We hope that our guide helped you in learning when and how to prune hydrangeas and how to care for them throughout the year.

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