The Q&A Archives: How To Prune Hortensia "endless Summer"

Question: I read somewhere that pruning one half of the growth of the hortensia "Endless summmer" would double the blooms. I bought several of your plants from a local nursery. Do you recommend this? Please note. There is no entry on your list of states for the District of Columbia. So I selected Maryland, which was closest. Thank you.

Answer: Endless Summer hydrangea produces flowers on both old and new wood. During the season, to encourage rebloom, remove spent flowers, and some of the stem. This will encourage new growth which will result in nearly continuous blooming all summer long.

To ensure good overwintering success in the first year the following is recommended:

Stop all applications of fertilizer after August 15thto prepare the plant for winter.

Keep the soil moist through the fall months until the ground is frozen.

Cover the plant with a four-inch layer of organic mulch (wood mulch, leaves, etc.) over the crown or growing point at the soil level. There is no need to cover all stems to the tip or to cut them back.

Covering should be done when fully dormant (around November 30th in your region), or at the same time you would cover perennials in your garden.

In spring uncover with your perennials, when the ground is no longer frozen. The plant will grow from the crown (base of the plant) and also from any old branches that survived winter.

Be patient, growth will come slowly until the heat of late spring stimulates the plant to grow faster.

Once you see growth you can prune back the old branches to a finger width above the new green growth.

Sit back and watch your plant grow and bloom which depending on your climate in a northern location, should be some time the middle of July.

The good news about pruning your Endless Summer hydrangea is that there is so little of it required. Big leaf or macrophylla hydrangeas will not suffer if left unpruned. In fact, young, recently planted shrubs are best left alone. Deadheading the flowers will be more important that actual pruning.

Unlike other macrophylla hydrangeas, your Endless Summer will bloom on both old and new wood, branches that grew last year and the new branches from this year. Another unique feature is that this hydrangea will continue to set buds and bloom through out the season. Deadheading the spent flowers will encourage this. You should feel free to cut the blooms for drying and for the vase because you will actually be encouraging the plant to produce more blossoms.

Best wishes with your hydrangeas!

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