Only after you remove the mulch and the plant begins to grow should you consider pruning… and even then, remove only dead wood! This shrub is easily recognized by its globes or domes of white flowers (there are now a few pink-blooming cultivars as well) which bloom at the tip of the stems starting in the middle of summer. Pruning your smooth, panicled and oakleaf hydrangeas is a good task for a warm sunny spring day, when you just have to get out in the garden, but it’s still too cold or wet for other jobs. PeeGee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) Zone 3. Generally, bigleaf hydrangeas don’t need much pruning anyway – just a little shaping. Then you can determine when you should prune it. The answer is simple: I don’t prune them at all. “The five common hydrangea can be divided into two groups for pruning purposes: those that bloom on old wood and those that bloom on new wood.”. Most bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) bloom from buds set the previous fall. Hydrangea pruning. Many years ago, I was intimidated by bigleaf hydrangeas so I spent a lot of time studying the stems (this was in the dark era before it was possible to study topics on YouTube). When to prune hydrangeas. A lot of the information above smacks of hard work, so you might wonder what I do myself, as a laidback gardener, when it comes to pruning hydrangeas. Old flowers from the previous year … If you never prune them at all, or simply limit your pruning to deadheading (removing the faded flowers), they’ll still bloom well. You hear all sorts of advice: spring, fall, after they bloom, not at all, etc. Hydrangea arborescens, commonly called smooth hydrangea, such as Incrediball. I just let them grow, that’s all. This hydrangea needs little pruning, except to remove any dead or damaged branches, including those damaged by winter cold. If a soil test reveals insufficient acidity and you desire a blue color, just raise acidity. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood include dwarf varieties of bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea ... 'Incrediball' and 'Bobo' hydrangea pruning in … Bigleaf hydrangeas require very little maintenance pruning other than removing deadwood from the shrub in early spring and possibly deadheading the flowers for aesthetic reasons. Before you start, spend a few moments studying the stems. Test Garden Tip: When pruning hydrangeas in general, it's best to remove no more than one-third of the plant at … Examples of hydrangeas that bloom exclusively on old wood include: all oakleaf hydrangeas, and bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas that are not rebloomers. ‘Annabelle’, with its very round balls of white flowers, is the best-known variety. If this happens under your conditions, a lighter pruning many help, removing only the top 6 inches (15 cm) of the plant. Hydrangea macrophylla is a species of flowering plant in the family Hydrangeaceae, native to Japan. The two commonly cultivated hydrangea species that bloom on new wood are: Keep in mind that maintenance pruning, which includes removing diseased and dead wood as well as deadheading old flower blossoms, can be done at any time. The first step is identifying what kind of hydrangea you have. Bigleaf Hydrangea (H. macrophylla), zone 6b. And I don’t offer winter protection, either, because I only grown varieties adapted to my conditions. It’s best to wait until new growth emerges in the early spring to be sure that you are only removing dead or weakened parts and not removing live stems with flower buds. Pruning bigleaf hydrangea in fall will remove next year’s flower buds causing irregular flowering the following year. The three commonly cultivated Hydrangea species that flower on old wood are: There are some varieties of H. macrophylla that are reblooming, or remontant, meaning these cultivars will produce flower buds on both old and new wood. Except for the Endless Summer series, most bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on mature wood. The plant can still bloom on new wood. She enjoys growing vegetables in containers and raised beds and watching for birds in her backyard. If you do need to perform heavy pruning, perhaps on an older specimen that has outgrown its allotted space over time, the best time to do so is in summer, immediately after flowering. Sometimes it is necessary to prune plants after a harsh winter to remove damaged foliage. Timing is everything! Leave this leaf mulch in place until there is no longer any risk of frost: until late May or even early June in most colder climates. Note that pruning is never obligatory for these species. Hydrangea Big Leaf macrophylla – Pruning, Winter Care and Fertilizing. Hydrangea Pruning for the Laidback Gardener. Hydrangeas pruning times When you go to prune it is best that you do it early in the morning with a good pair of secatuers. If you want to keep the shrub more compact, prune back severely in early spring. Flowers of bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on buds formed on the previous year's growth. When to Prune Hydrangeas. However, this gives very large flower heads that tend to flop. Mophead and lacecap hydrangeas will bloom satisfactorily with little attention, but regular pruning encourages new, vigorous growth that can produce a better display. It’s best to try it in partial shade in rich, deep soil and in a sheltered spot protected from winter winds. These hydrangeas bloom from branches produced the previous year, although some cultivars bloom also bloom to a certain degree on new wood, giving a second flush of bloom. Prune bigleaf hydrangea when the flowers begin to fade. Common names include bigleaf hydrangea, French hydrangea, lacecap hydrangea, mophead hydrangea, penny mac and hortensia. This hydrangea produces elongated clusters (panicles) of white flowers that turn increasingly pinker as fall advances. Unless you are growing them for their tree or high shrub form, many people prune their Panicle Hydrangeas/Hydrangea paniculata … When pruning, cut straight with the snips unless you’re hoping to influence the direction of new growth. Proper timing for pruning is the key to keeping hydrangeas flowering to their best potential. This will give you a shrub about 5 to 6 feet (1.5-2 m) high with a decent amount of intermediate size panicles on stronger branches. Not all hydrangeas are pruned at the same time, so it's important to know what variety you have before you go outside with those pruning shears. Pruning Hydrangeas that Bloom on New Wood Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood can be safely pruned in late fall once the plants have gone dormant or in early spring. Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood produce their flower buds on the current season’s new growth. However, since their dried flowers remain attractive all winter, it makes sense to prune them in early spring, just after snowmelt, rather than in the fall. Here’s more tips to help you become a pruning pro. A little hardier than its cousin, it is theoretically winter-hardy to zone 5. Remove only winter-damaged branches and any that wander where you don’t want. Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 6–9) Bigleaf hydrangeas (H. serrata cvs., Z 6–9) Oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia cvs., Z 5–9) Prune after the flowers start to fade in late summer. I can be hard to grow in colder areas (north of zone 6) because of its limited hardiness. Wait any longer, and you risk removing the developing flower buds. When to prune these woody-stemmed hydrangeas is not critical as bigleaf varieties, as long as you avoid pruning when the flower buds are opening. How to prune your hydrangeas generally depends on which of the four groups it falls in: Smooth, Panicle, Bigleaf, and Oakleaf. Even deadheading can harm the delicate flower buds that form just below the old flower head, so if you do prune after the flowers fade, make sure to prune just above a pair of healthy buds. You may be pruning as the plant is in flowering. In colder climates, these hydrangeas require very careful pruning, mainly consisting of removing dead wood in the spring, at snowmelt. And in fact, when you prune varies, depending especially on the species you’re growing. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood start to develop their flower buds for the next year in August and September. The mulch will keep the soil cold longer, delaying sprouting… and thus protecting the future flowers. After all, why prune off several month’s worth of beauty? These plants can be pruned from late winter to early spring. They also can be heavily cut back in the fall. How to Prune Overgrown Hydrangeas. You don’t want to cut off the flower buds and miss out on the beautiful blooms! Climbing Hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris), zone 4. If the buds are nipped by frost or killed off during a harsh winter, all hope is not lost. This hydrangea suffers not only from winter cold, but also spring frosts. The rest, including the very popular Bigleaf Hydrangea macrophylla, produce flowers on last season’s growth (old wood) and tend to do fine without pruning. Pruning at the wrong time could be the culprit (if pruning to control size is needed, do so in August), but typically winter/early spring weather is to blame. Even so, its tender flower buds remain susceptible to damage from late frosts. We put together some quick points to help you take care of hydrangeas. Pruning hydrangeas can help them retain a pretty shape and produce beautiful blooms year after year. If this group ever needs trimming, it should be done immediately after flowering so you are not cutting … These bushes will bear blue flowers in acid soils, but pink blooms in alkaline ground. If you prune it down to 6 inches/15 cm from the ground, by late summer you’ll get a compact plant about 3 to 4 feet (about 1 m) with extra-large panicles, although only a few of them. Hydrangeas make beautiful focal points in the garden and require minimal care, other than pruning. The timing of pruning is very important on this plant. There’s a lot of confusion about when to prune hydrangeas. When pruning BigLeaf, Mopehead, or Florist hydrangeas, the cuts should be made at the same measurements, but should shy away from any buds as these overwinter and will be the buds and flowers of the spring. Includes Nikko Blue, Pink Elf, Nantucket and Glowing Embers. They bloom on old wood, so pruning is done in summer before next years flowers start to set. Bigleaf hydrangeas (H. Serrata cvs., Z 6–9) Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) The best way to decide if your hydrangea blooms on old wood are to notice when it flowers. Be sure to remove only a third of the total growth of the plant. Life is so much easier that way. Bailey Nurseries introduced “Endless Summer” (Hydrangea macrophylla “Bailmer”) in 2004. That means no blooms next summer. Pay attention to timing your hydrangeas will produce beautiful blooms for years to come! Sometimes bigleaf hydrangeas become overgrown and need to be trimmed. They bloom on old and new wood, but some winters the flower buds will not make it. Others bloom on new growth and should be pruned before they wake … Pruning and Grooming Do not prune bigleaf hydrangeas by cutting back their shoots anytime except immediately after they bloom, lest you remove the wood on which the new blooms will appear. So its very disappointing when hydrangeas dont bloom for a season. Pruning bigleaf hydrangeas. That means the plant actually forms the buds for the following year’s flowers in late summer to early fall. The answer is simple: I don’t prune them at all. Flower buds will begin forming in late summer for the following season, so avoid pruning after August 1. Hydrangea Pruning Tips. Depending on when how they bloom, will help decide when to prune correctly. Changing Blue Hydrangeas Pink and Vice Versa . NOTE: Pruning Panicle Hydrangeas/Hydrangea paniculata. A lot of the information above smacks of hard work, so you might wonder what I do myself, as a laidback gardener, when it comes to pruning hydrangeas. Ones that bloom on new wood, such as the Tardiva and PeeGee varieties, can be selectively pruned, choosing branches that don’t conform to the desired shape of the plant or control size. However, getting them to flower can be a challenge for gardeners, partially due to pruning mistakes. Hydrangeas that bloom on old growth should only be pruned after flowering. Therefore, if you are going prune them, try to finish as soon as possible after they are done blooming—by August 1 at the latest. It is a deciduous shrub growing to 2 m (7 ft) tall by 2.5 m (8 ft) broad with large heads of pink or blue flowers in summer and autumn. If you want lots of flowers, prune little or not at all. For very even bloom, giving branches all the same length, cut the plant down to 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm) in early spring or late fall. So consider limiting pruning every other year or every three years to ensure your hydrangea’s health and vigor. Examples of these types of hydrangeas are the Endless Summer, Let’s Dance series, and Tuff Stuff hydrangeas. When pruning a hydrangea that blooms on old wood, first remove any dead limbs, then crossing branches, thinning out the interior of the plant to open it to more sunlight. Hydrangea Pruning for the Laidback Gardener. Here is a summary: These hydrangeas bloom on new growth that is produced in the spring. Any pruning of healthy growth in the spring, fall, or winter (including help from browsing deer) … Make pruning cuts … Shrubs like hydrangeas flower from mid to late summer on the previous year's growth. Prune out flower heads and head back other shoots, as necessary, to encourage branching and fullness. The resulting stems will be thicker and the flower clusters smaller, giving a stronger plant not so prone to flopping. In cool coastal regions, bigleaf … How to Attract Nesting Birds to Birdhouses, Tips For Growing Paperwhite Flowers Indoors, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. Once you identify the type of hydrangea in your garden, you’ll know if they bloom or new wood. This hydrangea is a near twin of the bigleaf hydrangea (H. macrophylla), but with thinner stems and smaller leaves. if you prune your hydrangea at the wrong time of year, you could cut into next season's blooms. It’s is a very large shrub: most cultivars can reach 15 feet (5 m) in height and diameter if you allow them to grow entirely on their own. Although this will encourage vegetative growth at the expense of flowers, it is better for the health of the plant and its aesthetic appearance to remove win… A good compromise is cut it back annually back to about 3 feet (1 m) (still in early spring). You can sterilize your tools in many different ways but you want to make clean cuts whether you are taking cuttings, cutting back branches, or removing dead flowers. Hydrangeas are beloved summer-blooming shrubs. And I don’t offer winter protection, either, because I only grown varieties adapted to my conditions. Therefore they can be pruned in late fall, after they finish blooming, or in early spring. To determine if your hydrangea … However, too much pruning will greatly reduce or eliminate flowering. With this shrub, pruning reduces the number of blooms, but gives larger flower clusters. Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. And even if you don’t deadhead, note that the faded flowers will fall off all on their own when the plant begins to grow in the spring. Keep in mind that maintenance pruning, which includes removing diseased and dead wood as well as deadheading old flower blossoms, can be done at any time. This is because all bigleaf Hydrangeas form their flower buds on old wood (like Forsythia, Rhododendron, Magnolia). Hydrangea paniculata, which are commonly called panicle or PG hydrangea, such as Pinky Winky and Limelight. To ensure bloom on this somewhat persnickety plant, winter protection is advised anywhere late spring frosts are possible. In many climates, it is therefore wiser to give the cage-filled-with-fall-leaves treatment described above to ensure abundant bloom. “Endless Summer,” known for cold hardiness as well as repeat bloom, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. If that happens, it is probably one of three reasons. If those buds are killed or damaged over the winter, the hydrangea’s flowering potential is reduced, although lower buds along the stem have the potential to develop flowers too. In the fall, after the leaves have fallen, surround the plant with a “cage” of chicken wire 1 to 2 feet (30-60 cm) high and fill it with dead leaves. “Pruning hydrangeas can be confusing because each species should be pruned at a different time of the year,” says Ken Johnson, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. Many hydrangeas have interesting foliage and bark, but most are grown for their large, showy blossoms. Even when it breezes through winter with no damage, it tends to sprout almost immediately in spring, leaving the growing flower buds subject to late frosts. How to Prune : These hydrangeas can grow too large or develop ungainly stems that have grown too high — shape plants by cutting wayward or old stems to the ground. However, the wood won’t yet be fully developed and the stems can break under the weight of the blooms. The timing of pruning is very important on this plant. Wait to prune your bigleaf hydrangeas until new growth appears in the spring. No live buds, no flowers. This may weaken the plant, however. In locations where snow cover is abundant and reliable, it may bloom well in zone 4 all on its own, but otherwise, it’s best to consider winter protection. Hydrangeas provide summer flowers that persist in beauty even after they have dried on the shrub. Also called French hydrangea, mophead hydrangea (those with rounded flower clusters) or lacecap hydrangea (those with dome-shaped flower clusters), this hydrangea is renowned for flowers that can be blue in acid soils and pink in alkaline ones. Includes Endless Summer, Blushing Bride and Twist N Shout. Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) set flower buds on old wood, which develop in late summer and fall; therefore, pruning should be done immediately after flowering. Hydrangea that blooms in this pattern usually begins flowering in early summer and dwindle by midsummer, though colors may appear from time to time. Psst—check out the biggest blooms for your flower garden. We cover other pruning methods in Pruning & Your Plants ; however, this specific article aims to help you identify which type of hydrangea you have and its pruning needs. Flower, plant growing in acid soil. Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) Smooth hydrangeas are native to Eastern North America and are well suited to most New Hampshire gardens.They have a mounded growth habit and white to pale pink flowers that bloom mid-summer.Unlike bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas, smooth hydrangeas bloom on new wood and will tolerate heavy pruning. Oakleaf Hydrangea (H. quercifolia), zone 5. 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