The Q&A Archives: Trimming my Hydrangea

Question: My Blue Wave Hydrangea is getting rather tall and I'd like to trim it down, but don't want to hinder any future blooming. When and how do I do this? Also, should I be cutting off any dried up/old blooms from this year? Thank you.

Answer: Your Blue Wave is a lacecap type of Hydrangea macrophylla, often called a big leaf hydrangea. These plants produce flowering stems on old wood and should be pruned in early spring, just as the buds begin to swell. You can prune the old wood down to 18-24 inches from the ground to reduce the size of the shrub. New flowering stems will develop on the old wood. You can remove the spent flowers if you wish. Some gardeners like the appearance of the old flowers over the fall and winter months and leave them on the plant. If you prune your hydrangea every spring, you'll keep the size under control without compromising its blooming ability - of course a smaller shrub will have fewer blooms because there will be fewer stems, but the quality of the blooms will be spectacular.

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