Is it OK to cut hydrangeas back in the fall?

Author: Golden Stiedemann  |  Last update: Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood can be safely pruned in late fall once the plants have gone dormant or in early spring. Next year's flower buds won't be formed until late spring the same year they bloom, so there is no risk of removing the buds if you prune in fall or spring.

How far do you cut back hydrangeas in the fall?

To reduce the size of a hydrangea that blooms on new wood, cut off about one-third of each stem in late fall or early spring before it begins to leaf out. If your hydrangea blooms on old wood, prune right after it has bloomed when the flowers are fading.

Can you cut hydrangeas down to the ground in the fall?

New Wood Bloomers

It is easy to grow these hydrangeas because they bloom every year regardless of how they are cared for or treated. They can be pruned to the ground in the fall and they will emerge in the spring with bountiful blooms.

Should I prune my hydrangeas in October?

But when to prune them? Prune fall blooming hydrangeas, or old wood bloomers, after they bloom in the summer. If you prune old wooded hydrangeas in fall, you are cutting off next seasons blooms. Summer blooming hydrangeas, or those that bloom on new wood, are pruned in the fall, after they stop blooming.

Can I cut back my hydrangeas in November?

While some plants bloom on new growth, others primarily set flower buds on old wood. Regardless, it is best to wait to prune all hydrangeas until spring. In the fall, hydrangeas (and all trees and shrubs) are in the process of going dormant. They do not produce very much new growth until the following spring.

✂ When to Prune Hydrangeas This Fall and Winter - SGD 251 ✂

What month do you cut hydrangeas back?

Prune back stems to just above a fat bud — called a heading cut — in fall, late winter or spring. These plants have conical-shaped flower heads. I recommend leaving the dry, tan flower heads on the plant to provide some winter interest in your landscape, so I wait to prune these until late winter or spring.

How do you winterize hydrangeas in the fall?

To prepare hydrangeas for winter in colder areas, add a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants to protect the crown and roots from freezing temperatures.

How do you winterize hydrangeas?

Wrap with winter protection.

During the winter, make a DIY A-frame wire cage out of burlap and chicken wire to protect your hydrangea plant. This cage will protect it from winter winds, heavy snowfall, and cold temperatures.

What happens if you cut hydrangeas all the way down?

In late winter or early spring, these shrubs can be cut all the way back to the ground. Smooth hydrangeas will produce much larger blooms if pruned hard like this each year, but many gardeners opt for smaller blooms on sturdier stems.

How do I know if I should cut back my hydrangea?

So these shrubs should be pruned immediately after their flowers fade. Conversely, if the shrub flowers on new wood (stems developed during the current season), its buds are set within the season, so the shrub should be pruned in early spring before that new growth emerges.

Do you cut off dead hydrangea blooms in fall?

However, stop deadheading hydrangea shrubs in mid to late fall, leaving any spent blooms in place. This not only provides winter interest, but also ensures you don't remove the buds that will become flowers next spring.

Which hydrangeas should not be pruned?

Old Wood Bloomers

Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood do not need pruning and are better off for it.

What does hydrangea look like in winter?

With their vibrant, plump blooms, hydrangeas offer a striking display in the warm weather - but what do they look like in the winter? As the delicate petals fade in the colder months, bright hydrangeas can quickly appear dry and brown - requiring targeted care to get them flowering again in April.

What should hydrangeas look like in fall?

Mophead hydrangeas look lovely in the fall when their blue, purple and pink flowers contrast with the fall foliage. Brown flowers can be snipped off if they annoy you, but you don't have to remove them. Look for flowers like this to dry or for making Hydrangea Wreaths.

What happens if you cut back hydrangeas too early?

The reason that climbing hydrangeas are pruned in summer is because the flowers are produced on the previous year's wood. If they are pruned earlier in spring, before flowering, the blooms for that year will be sacrificed.

Why are my hydrangeas turning brown and dying?

Both over and under-watering your hydrangeas can cause them to weaken and brown, so Myers says it's crucial be precise about irrigation. "Water established plants thoroughly but less frequently to encourage deep roots that are more drought tolerant," she says.

Does cutting hydrangeas promote more flowers?

Removing spent flowers will ensure your hydrangeas produce healthier, more bountiful blooms later on.

Where is the best place to cut hydrangeas?

Regardless of the type of hydrangeas you're growing—and whether it blooms on old or new wood—the cutting process is the same. Start by using clean, sharp shears, then make your cut. "Cut stems above a node, and include at least two leaf groups on the cut stem," says Godshalk.

How far to cut back hydrangeas tree for winter?

So, in October or November, simply cut all branches back to about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) from the top of the trunk. Once you've gotten your hydrangea tree back into a more winter-resistant shape, start pruning early in the spring rather than the fall.

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