Answer: Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs, even in southern California. Even if the weather is not cold enough for the foliage to die and drop, by the end of the season the leaves will look tired and shop-worn and should be pulled from the stems to make way for healthy new growth. Since hydrangeas produce flowers on new shoots which develop from old wood, you won't be able to keep the shrub as small as you'd like. All the pruning required to maintain a 3' size will ultimately cut off any flowering shoots. As a result, you won't have any flowers, which is the beauty of growing hydrangeas. Wish I had better news for you!
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