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Tips for pruning your big, beautiful hydrangeas

Old-fashioned hydrangeas and the non-repeat blooming hydrangeas are pruned as the flowers fade in late summer.
Old-fashioned hydrangeas and the non-repeat blooming hydrangeas are pruned as the flowers fade in late summer. Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s time to talk about pruning hydrangeas. Most people either don’t know when to prune these beautiful shrubs or prune at the wrong time of the year. So, here are some guidelines for you to use when pruning your hydrangeas this year.

▪ Old fashioned hydrangeas and the non-repeat blooming hydrangeas are pruned as the flowers fade in late summer.

▪ Prune back to a leaf cluster and try to keep the shrub uniform. The idea is to get the shrub to an attractive size.

▪ Do not prune in the winter! You will cut off all of the flowers for next spring.

▪ On older shrubs, prune to the ground, about 1/3 of the older canes or branches.

▪ Remontant, or repeat-blooming, hydrangeas are all the rage these days. You’re probably familiar with the “Endless Summer” variety. There are more remontant varieties available now than ever before, so check them out. Also, the actual bloom pattern is: bloom, rest, bloom, rest, repeat. Dead-heading and a little liquid fertilizer does help the flowering process.

▪ Prune remontant hydrangeas as needed at any time during the growing season. They bloom on new growth, so the problem of cutting off the blooms is greatly diminished. Still, as a rule, never prune these types of hydrangeas severely.

▪ Remember these beautiful shrubs like shade here in the South, especially after lunchtime.

About 3 inches of mulch will help conserve moisture between waterings. And, like it or not, these shrubs really don’t like dry conditions, so please don’t plant them under the old oak tree and expect good results!

Todd Goulding provides residential landscape design consultations. Contact him at fernvalley.com or 478-345-0719.

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