The Q&A Archives: Pruning my Hydrangea Bush

Question: I was wondering if I should prune my blue hydrangea bush in the spring. It grew VERY large and beautiful this year (it is 3 yrs. old) but this year only had one huge blossom. It is very healthy otherwise. I did leave all the stalks thru the winter but this spring I pruned some of them down. It did not seem to hurt the plant but only one blossom???? The year before I had many blossoms. This blossom is the size of a dinner plate, by the way. I just need to know if there is something I should be doing that I am not. Thank-you for your time.

Answer: The bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) bloom on old wood from the year before. Pruning in spring removes flowering wood and limits blooming as a result. Winter cold damage to the stems, and frost damage to the new growth or buds in early spring will also limit flowering.

These hydrangeas may be pruned in summer right after they bloom to thin them or if necessary to control size. In spring, you may have to prune to remove winter-killed dead branches but be very patient and be sure they are truly dead before you cut them off.

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