Pruning My Hydrangea - Knowledgebase Question

Quincy, CA
Question by slyoung
June 11, 2001
I've selected the type of Hydrangea I have...the common variety...my question: At the nursery where I bought my Monrovia Hydrangea, the lady told me to only prune the stem that actually had a flower produced on it....to leave the other stems alone...in other words not to prune a non-flowering stem. Is that correct? and do I prune that in the Fall...Winter...? Thanks so much!


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Answer from NGA
June 11, 2001

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With the exception of Oakleaf hydrangea, which can be pruned to the ground each autumn, hydrangeas produce flowering shoots in the spring on last season's wood. So, to prune for flowering, reduce the old wood by one-half to one-third after bloom. The shrub will develop new flowering wood the following spring. Hydrangeas can be identified by the characteristics of their leaves and flowers. Climbing hydrangea is a deciduous vine with long, green, heart-shaped leaves and short, stiff flowering branches with flat white flower clusters. Smooth hydrangea is a deciduous shrub with oval, grayish green leaves and white flowers in roundish clusters. Bigleaf hydrangea has thick, shining, coarsely toothed leaves to 8" long and white, pink, red or blue flowers in big clusters. This is the most often planted hydrangea. The Peegee hydrangea has green leaves that turn bronzy in the fall, and clusters of white flowers that slowly fade to a pinky bronze. Oakleaf hydrangea has deeply lobed, oaklike leaves that turn bronze or crimson in the fall. It has creamy white flowers in the spring. Hope the above descriptions will help you identify which hydrangea you're growing and how it should be pruned!

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