What hydrangeas should not be pruned?

Author: Dr. Jalen Rodriguez II  |  Last update: Monday, September 11, 2023

Old Wood Bloomers
Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood do not need pruning and are better off for it. If you leave them alone, they'll bloom more profusely the next season. But go ahead and gently thin or deadhead. Just remember new growth may come, but that new growth will be without blooms next season.

Can all hydrangeas be cut back?

The best advice for hydrangeas is to consider their mature size. Locate them in an area they won't outgrow and require heavy pruning to keep them in bounds. Hydrangeas do not require strict reqular pruning; simply keep them healthy by removing dead wood and they will grow and flower well.

Do you cut back hydrangeas in the fall or spring?

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.

What is the best month to prune hydrangeas?

When to prune hydrangeas. Most pruning is carried out in late winter or early spring. However, the climbing hydrangea is pruned after flowering in summer.

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.

If You Prune Hydrangeas This Way They'll Bloom Profusely

What happens if you cut hydrangeas to the ground?

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.

What happens if you cut hydrangeas in the fall?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Do I need to do anything to my hydrangea for winter?

Keep Them Cozy. Whether or not hydrangeas need protection depends on how cold the winter temperatures drop. If the air temperature doesn't go below 0 degrees (zone 7) there is no need for winter protection. In colder climates, wrap or completely cover marginally hardy hydrangeas.

What happens if I don't deadhead hydrangeas?

Without going through the deadheading process, hydrangeas will not produce as many flowers and the few produced may not grow as big to their full potential.

What happens if you deadhead hydrangeas?

When you deadhead hydrangeas, you aren't harming the plants at all. Removing the spent blooms triggers flowering shrubs to stop producing seeds and instead put their energy toward root and foliage development. This makes plants stronger and healthier, so by deadheading, you'll be doing your hydrangeas a favor.

Can I prune hydrangeas in September?

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.

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.

Do hydrangeas like sun or shade?

Most common hydrangeas prefer a partial sun location - ideally receiving sun in the morning hours and shade in the afternoon. The reblooming Endless Summer® Hydrangea series prefers part shade.

Is it too late to prune hydrangeas in October?

Bottom-line: Panicle-type hydrangeas should be pruned in late winter or early spring. While they could be pruned in fall, we highly advise waiting until late winter/early spring to reduce risk of injury.

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.

Can you cut down limelight hydrangeas in the fall?

Like all panicle hydrangeas, limelight hydrangea blooms on new wood (growth from the current year) so any pruning should be done in the late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

What if my hydrangea is too big?

So the bottom line is that if a hydrangea is too large for the location where it has been growing, the best thing would be to move it and plant a smaller variety in that spot.

Will coffee grounds hurt hydrangeas?

Some gardeners report success in turning their hydrangeas blue by applying coffee grounds to the soil. The coffee grounds make the soil more acidic, allowing the hydrangea to more easily absorb aluminum. In addition, fruit peels, lawn clippings, peat moss and pine needles, are thought to have a similar effect.

How long do hydrangeas live after being cut?

After a day or so of being cut, the blooms begin to wilt. About three days later, they are completely done. But guess what I just learned (from an instagram conversation)? Hydrangeas take in water from their PETALS!

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