Pruning Hydrangea Bush - Knowledgebase Question

Bolton Landing, NY
Avatar for guideny
Question by guideny
November 20, 1999
Our Hydrangea is about 2 feet high and at least 2 feet around. Now last spring my father cut it back and it did not bloom this summer. Right now it has the buds on the tips of each stalk. Should we prune this now or wait until spring again and take a chance of it not blooming again?

Answer from NGA
November 20, 1999
Since you did not indicate what type of hydrangea you have, I am guessing it is the macrophylla type. These bloom on buds formed on the previous year's wood, so pruning at any time other than immediately after flowering will probably sacrifice blooming wood. Pruning at the wrong time combined with winterkill of the tips are probably the top two reasons hydrangeas of this type fail to bloom. Also, it is not usually necesary to prune these very much except to remove branches damaged during the winter or in the case of a mature plant, perhaps to thin out some of the oldest branches.

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