Pruning Hydrangeas - Knowledgebase Question

Islip Terrace, NY
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Question by yojoe
October 28, 1998
I have several Hydrangea bushes that did not bloom this year. When should this plant be pruned, what time of the year and how?

Answer from NGA
October 28, 1998
There are a number of different types of hydrangeas, but I assume you are growing Hydrangea macrophylla or Bigleaf Hydrangea which includes hortensias (eg "All Summer Beauty" and "Nikko Blue") and the lacecaps (eg "Blue Wave" and "Lanarth"). These types often do not bloom reliably every year due to winter cold damage or late spring frosts rather than incorrect pruning. These flower on old wood (meaning the previous year's growth) so any pruning should be done very soon AFTER flowering. This will avoid pruning off flower buds. Generally these don't need much pruning, perhaps only to thin a bit from the base or remove any truly unruly shoots. Overall the plants tend to look a bit scraggly by nature. Good luck with your hydrangeas!

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