The Q&A Archives: More Hydrangea Pruning

Question: Please clarify something for me. I purchased a pink hydrangea two yeara ago. When I called the garden center I purchased it at to ask about pruning. Without asking what kind of hydrangea I had, I was told to prune back about 1/3 of the plant in the early spring after the threat of frost. I believe the NGA suggestion was after they bloom. I take that to mean fall. Any suggestions or clarification.

Answer: Your hydrangea is probably one of the large leafed or macrophylla types. These do not usually require much pruning except to remove any winter killed material. This can be done in late spring when you can tell definitiely which stems or parts of stems are well and truly dead -- they leaf out late so don't be too quick to prune. If pruning for size or shape, prune immediately after bloom. The reason for this is that they bloom only on old wood from the previous year. If you prune out live branches in fall or early spring you will remove buds for the next year's flowers. For tidiness you might want to deadhead each year, which means removing the spent blooms.

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