The Q&A Archives: what best to do for my hydrangeas right now.

Question: HOw do I care for my hydrangeas? Feeding? Do I want to keep all leaves on the plant? How do I deadhead the plants? What do I do in fall when they stop blooming?
Thank you

Answer: In your mild winter region hydranges normally keep their leaves all year around. Since these plants bloom on new shoots growing from old wood, I'd make it a habit to prune the shrubs back in late winter (February) so they will grow new flowering shoots in the spring. You can safely cut everything back to about 18" above ground level, then remove a few of the oldest canes clear down to the ground. Your hydrangea will produce new shoots from buds on the shortened canes and these shoots should produce flowers later in the season. When the flowers are spent you can cut them off the plant, taking as much of the flower stem as you want. Or, you can cut the flowers as soon as they're fully opened and use them in fresh flower arrangements. After they stop producing flowers, cut any old flower heads off the plant and then wait until the winter to prune the entire plant back down to about 18". This will ensure a healthy, full shrubs with lots of new growth and flowers when the weather turns warm.

Aside from deadheading now and the rest of the summer, there's not much you need to do right now. Best wishes with your hydrangeas.

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