Hydrangea Pruning

slider6We have had a lot of questions these past few weeks about the proper pruning of hydrangeas.  When to cut back?  How much to cut back?  We hope these tips help!
Different varieties of hydrangea require different pruning techniques.
Blooms on old wood:

Prune after the flowers start to fade in late summer

To determine if your hydrangea blooms on old wood, think about when it flowers. Shrubs with this characteristic generally begin blooming in early summer and peter out by midsummer, though sporadic blooms may appear afterward. These shrubs form next year’s flower buds in late summer or early fall as the days get shorter and tem¬≠peratures cool off. To reduce the risk of removing these buds, prune just as the flowers begin to fade. Often, the earlier you get it done after bloom, the quicker the shrub can recover, producing more and larger blooms next season.  (Big Leaf- Macrophylla- colourfull large pink or blue blooms; Oak Leaf)

Blooms on new wood:

Cut back these shrubs in late winter before new growth begins

Because they need to grow and set buds the same year that they bloom, shrubs that flower on new wood generally start blossoming later than old-growth bloomers, beginning in midsummer and continuing until the first frost. These shrubs are forgiving if pruning is not done at a certain time as long as you avoid pruning when the flower buds are opening.  (Paniculata; Aborescens – Pee Gee & Annabelle)

Pruning can be completed to tidy up/remove old blooms as maintenance for the shrub.  It can also be completed to improve a shrubs vigor by removing oldest canes.  When a hydrangea is getting older and woody it can produce smaller blooms. Removal of oldest canes at the soil line can keep the shrub vigorous and helps producing large and abundant flowers.
If your hydrangea is happy and beautiful, you may not need to prune at all.  We have had many customers that are very happy to report that when they did nothing the shrub produced its best crop of blooms ever!
Happy Gardening!