Answer: You can train all kinds of shrubs into "standards" by eliminating all side branches so the plant will direct its energy into a single trunk. Cut away everything except one main stem. You may have to help support the trunk while it's young, but after that, simply rub out any buds that appear along the main stem. Once you get the height and shape you want on top, pinch and prune annually to help the plant keep its shape. Your hydrangea will produce flowers on new shoots which develop on old wood. At the end of the season cut back the stems with that in mind.
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