The Q&A Archives: pruning

Question: I have six Monrovia Angel's Blush Hydrangeas planted in dappled early morning sun. I would like to keep them on the small side (under 5.5 feet tall) and 4 ft wide if possible. Can I achieve this through pruning?
I'd love a tutorial that includes when, how and what effect such pruning will have on the flowering of the plant in the coming summer.

My wife bought and planted the plants w/out consulting the literature.

Answer: Angel's Blush Hydrangea is a vigorously growing deciduous shrub with a graceful habit; generally reaching 8-13 feet high and 6-10 feet wide with clusters of white flowers which change from white to light pink to ruby red. Angel's Blush flowers on new wood so you can prune your shrub back hard in the spring, but as it matures it will be difficult to keep it small and still get flowers. I'd plant it in an area where it has plenty of elbow room rather than try to keep it smaller. Morning sun and dappled afternoon shade will keep your hydrangea happy and healthy.

The best way to prune your Angel's Blush is to cut back the stems or canes to about 18" (knee level) in the late winter or early spring. This will provide some old wood on which new flowering shoots will develop. You can completely remove any dead canes (new shoots will develop from the crown of the plant, but those shoots won't flower the same year) and then thin out the plant by selectively removing additional canes. This will keep the plant from becoming too wide too soon.

Best wishes with your hydrangea!

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