Answer: It depends upon the type of hydrangea you are growing.
Bigleaf hydrangea, Garden hydrangea, French hydrangea, Common hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers from May thru early July. Deadhead promptly after flowers begin to fade. Deadheading means to remove faded flowers. Some plants may rebloom in fall. Flowers bloom on last year?s wood. Best time to prune is after bloom ? July (always before August 1st).
Oakleaf hydrangea (hydrangea quercifolia) flowers in June ? blooms appear later than Bigleaf hydrangea and last a longer period of time, typically thru summer. It sets buds on last year?s wood. This plant does not usually need pruning. If reshaping or size-reduction is necessary, prune after blooms begin to fade. (end of summer)
Peegee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ?Grandiflora?) flowers May-June. ?Tardiva? variety blooms in August. Prune entire plant back to 6-12? from ground around March 1st. Plant blooms on current year?s wood. Or leave unpruned ?blossoms will appear on new growth.
Smooth hydrangea (hydrangea arborescens ?Annabelle?) produces white blooms in May-June. Prune entire plant back to 6-12? from ground around March 1st. Plant blooms on current year?s wood.
Aside from pruning and mulching over the soil beneath the plant, there's no other preparation necessary.
Best wishes with your garden!
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