Answer: Pink Elf and other bigleafed hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) bloom only once a year, usually for a period of several weeks or longer in mid-summer. The flowers tend to change color and fade and can be neatly trimmed off as soon as they are done or can be left on the plant to dry for fall interest if desired. They bloom on buds formed on wood that grew the year before, so do not prune off stems in fall, winter or spring. (Pruning for shape or size or to thin the plant would be done immediately after blooming.) The plant you purchased apparently had an accelerated bloom schedule this year and should settle into a normal time frame next summer.
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