When to Prune Hydrangeas
By: Julie Day
I have four blue hydrangea bushes. I pruned them back to about 12” tall, and I’ve been told that I ruined them. How and when should I prune my hydrangeas? –Darlene
I’m not sure that pruning your blue hydrangeas will ruin them, although you might not see as many blooms next year. The way you prune hydrangeas depends on the type of hydrangea and how it blooms.
Some types (such as yours) bloom on old wood, so they shouldn’t be pruned severely other than to remove dead branches. Other types bloom on new wood, so some strategic pruning can help them thrive.
Here are some tips for pruning the hydrangeas in your yard.
- PeeGee and Annabelle Hydrangeas: (Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens) Both of these hydrangeas have white blooms and bloom on new wood (this year’s new branches). They can be pruned starting immediately after they flower on into fall and winter. Don’t prune in spring or summer when they’re preparing to bloom. You can prune lightly or severely, depending on the size and shape you want. These hydrangeas don’t have to be pruned at all, but some gardeners cut them back each year.
- How to Grow Hydrangeas (article)
- Hydrangea Propagation by Ground Layering (video)
- Identifying Common Species of Hydrangeas (hydrangeashydrangeas.com)
- Pruning Hydrangeas (North Carolina State University)
- Pruning Made Easy (hydrangeashydrangeas.com)