The Q&A Archives: hydrangeas

Question: Hydrangeas did not produce flowers last year. I pruned down to about a foot and leaves have appeared. If flowers do not appear, what shall I do?

Answer: Hydrangeas produce flowers on new shoots which develop on old wood so it's important not to completely cut the plant all the way down to ground level because you want to retain at least some old wood. So, here's what you can do: cut off all the sticks now so your plant looks more attractive. When the flowers are spent you can cut them off the plant, along with some of the stem. You can also do some overall pruning after the plant has finished flowering if you think it needs to be reduced in size. Next spring, just as the buds begin to swell on the branches, reduce the branches to about 12-18" (or knee-high) from ground level. Anything that sprouts from those branches will be a flowering stem. Hope this clarifies things for you about pruning hydrangeas. Enjoy your garden!

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