Hydrangeas are flowering shrubs that bloom in clusters of colorful petal-like blossoms. They’re considered to be a flower that represents family, making them an ideal garden shrub for new families. They are generally easy to care for and require minimal pruning. Pruning hydrangeas can help encourage new growth, promote fuller blooms, and even help shape the shrub into the desired form. Pruning can also help remove any dead or diseased branches, which can help the shrub to stay healthy. Read on if you’re planning to prune hydrangeas on your property!
When to prune hydrangeas
The best time to prune hydrangeas is in the fall after the plant has gone dormant. This is because pruning in the fall allows the plant to heal over the winter and put its energy into new growth in the spring. Pruning in the fall also prevents the plant from wasting energy on trying to flower and produce blooms on branches that have been pruned. Pruning in the fall also encourages better blooming in the spring as it removes dead or diseased branches that can otherwise interfere with blooming.
How to prune hydrangeas
Pruning hydrangeas is a pretty straight-forward process overall. Bear in mind that you don’t ever want to prune more than about one-third of the plant’s branches. It’s also not advised that you cut it back all the way to the ground. If you do cut it all the way down to the ground, it will likely grow back, but it won’t flower that first year. Pruning hydrangeas back by a third will produce a bushier plant. Here’s how:
- Wait until the fall after the last blooms have faded and died. This is typically around mid- to late-November.
- Cut back all of the dead, diseased, and damaged branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or growing in the wrong direction.
- Cut each of the remaining branches to a length of 18-24 inches, or about one-third of the original length.
- Make all of your cuts at a 45-degree angle, just above a leaf node.
- Remove any of the remaining dead, diseased, and damaged branches.
After pruning hydrangeas, apply a layer of mulch of your choice around the base of the plants to protect them from the cold winter temperatures. This can be woodchips, grass clippings, straw, or leaves. Make sure your hydrangeas get plenty of moisture throughout the winter. Water deeply every 2-3 weeks and keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Fertilize your hydrangeas in early spring with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth.