Oakleaf hydrangea blooms on old growth and should be pruned immediately after it has finished flowering. RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team. Hydrangeas that set their buds late in the season are the most likely to have trouble blooming. In general, varieties that bloom on old wood should be pruned immediately after they flower. The pruning methods explained below are for individual types and species of hydrangea. Also known as panicle hydrangeas, peegees display massive snowball-shaped flower clusters in mid- to late summer. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Late winter or early spring before new growth starts, Light pruning in late winter or early spring. In particular, cut out any stems that trail onto the ground. Spent flowers can be trimmed away as they fade to keep the plant looking tidy. When to prune a hydrangea depends on when it sets its flower buds. Lacecaps are hardier, and the faded flowerheads can be cut back after flowering to the second pair of leaves below the head in order to prevent seed developing, which saps energy from the plant, Join Hydrangea serrata can be pruned in the same way as mophead and lacecap hydrangeas; Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens are treated differently. Bigleaf hydrangeas are the variety most susceptible to winter bud injury. This plant flowers on old wood grown during the previous season. Always remove dead, damaged, or diseased stems as the first step during routine pruning. When shortening stems, cut back to just above a pair of healthy buds. However, this type doesn't have the big leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla. It's probably not surprising that oakleaf hydrangea is easily recognized by its oak leaf-shaped foliage. The stunning climbing hydrangea is the type you see slowly making its way up a tree or other support. Selectively prune the dead and weaker stems, both old and new, using bypass pruners. So pruning should be done in early spring to ensure plenty of growth for flowers. Remove any branches that have been injured or killed over the winter, and lightly trim others to shape the plant. If hydrangeas don’t bloom for a season, it's usually due to one of three reasons: They didn't get enough sun, an early frost or cold spell killed the buds, or they were pruned at the wrong time. Smooth hydrangea, including the popular cultivar H. arborescens 'Grandiflora,' doesn't usually have any problems blooming, though its white flowers aren't as showy as we normally expect from hydrangeas. Its leaves are coarsely serrated and glossy, dark green. Once climbing hydrangeas become established, they can grow quite vigorously and might need occasional late winter pruning to set boundaries for the coming season. To prevent flower loss, stagger drastic pruning over three or four years, reducing the size of the plant gradually, If there is any frost damage in spring, prune back damaged shoots to just above the first undamaged pair of buds on live, healthy wood, Also remove any weak, straggly stems. RHS Garden Hyde Hall Spring and Orchid Show, Free entry to RHS members at selected Remove the dead flowerheads in early spring, cutting back the stem to the first strong, healthy pair of buds down from the faded bloom, Cut out one or two of the oldest stems at the base to encourage the production of new, replacement growth that will be more floriferous, Poor or neglected plants can be entirely renovated by cutting off all the stems at the base. Flower buds occur on new spring growth. If you live in an area with severe winters, you might need to offer it some protection. times, RHS Registered Charity no. The most commonly grown hydrangeas in gardens are lacecaps and mopheads – mopheads are identified by their full, roundish heads of large petals; lacecaps have tiny flowers in the centre of the bloom and an outer border of large petals. However, this will remove all the flowers for that summer, and the new stems will not bloom until the following year, Established plants will tolerate hard pruning in spring, but extensive cutting back all in one go is likely to reduce flowering for the next couple of summers. However, there are also a few varieties that simply stay white. How and when you prune hydrangeas depends on which type you have. If it has experienced winter dieback, prune the stems back to below the point of injury. Because its major attraction is the foliage, any loss of blooms is less disappointing than in most other hydrangea varieties. Hydrangeas that bloom on old growth should only be pruned after flowering. When to prune hydrangeas Proper timing for pruning is the key to keeping hydrangeas flowering to their best potential. Likewise, other species, including the climbing hydrangea, will benefit from a trim. Proper timing for pruning is the key to keeping hydrangeas flowering to their best potential. The bigleaf hydrangea often has flowers whose color changes with the soil pH: blue in acid soil and pink in alkaline soil. Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'. Mophead and lacecap hydrangeas will bloom satisfactorily with little attention, but regular pruning encourages new, vigorous growth that can produce a better display. Hydrangeas make beautiful focal points in the garden, and they generally require minimal care other than pruning. Although many hydrangeas have interesting foliage and bark, most are grown for their large, showy blossoms. Hydrangeas that bloom on old growth should only be pruned after flowering. It's a round shrub with leaves that are somewhat rounded with a pointed end, paler on the underside than on the top. Guide to Pruning Hydrangeas. 020 3176 5800 It's a vine not a shrub, and it generally requires little to no pruning. And those that bloom on new wood should be pruned before new growth begins in spring. Others bloom on new growth and should be pruned before they wake up in spring or as they are going dormant in winter. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. When most of the flowers have faded, it's time for pruning. Credit: RHS/Advisory. the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9. University of Maryland Extension, Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener. 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