The Q&A Archives: Should I Prune My Hydrangea?

Question: Last year, I planted two 'Nikko Blue' hydrangeas (they were 3-gallon size when planted). This year, though, they are starting to leaf out, but I still have long canes from last year's growth that don't have any leaves. Should I have pruned these back, and if so, can I do it now? Also, the blooms last year were pink and should have been blue. Someone told me to put aluminum sulfate on them to make them blue. When should I do this, how much, and how often?

Answer: When all new growth has commenced (a few weeks after the first green buds), you should cut out -- very carefully -- the old wood from last year. It takes an acid soil to keep blue hydrangeas blue. Apply aluminum sulphate soon after new growth begins (well ahead of any flower buds). One application will be enough.

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