Error in hydrangea pruning “should be avoided” because it causes “destruction of flower buds” and “non-flowering.”
Why prune hydrangeas
According to Kate Turner, gardening expert at Miracle-Grow, pruning hydrangeas is “vital” to keeping them at a manageable size and giving them good shape. By stimulating the plant to produce new buds, pruning also results in “better flower display.”
However, she warns, “Pruning your plants at the wrong time of year can dramatically affect the number of flowers they produce, so it’s important to understand when to prune your hydrangeas to avoid this.”
The experts at Master Gardeners of Buncombe County agreed. They claimed: “Pruning later will destroy the flower buds that develop into subsequent buds.”
Billy Schirmers, a horticulturist at Dundee Nursery, said that if hydrangeas were pruned at the “wrong time”, gardeners ran the risk of cutting off all the flower buds, resulting in “no blooms” that year.
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When to prune hydrangea
Most hydrangeas are pruned in late winter or spring, with the exception of climbing hydrangea, which is pruned in the summer after flowering has finished. However, Kate notes that different types of hydrangea require different pruning techniques.
“It’s very easy to identify the different types of hydrangea by their flowers, so if you’re not sure what type of hydrangea you have, just wait until it blooms in the summer and then prune it the following year, once you know which hydrangea you have,” she said. Write it. Leaving a hydrangea unpruned for a year will not cause it any harm.
How to prune hydrangea
Pruning mophead hydrangea
Mophead hydrangea flowers bloom on buds that formed during the previous year. They require very light pruning, which is basically just a deadheading, to avoid cutting off the flower buds.
Wait until late spring to prune Mauve-headed hydrangeas, as the old flower heads give the new buds some protection against late frosts.
Start by removing all old flower heads, cutting off the first pair of strong buds below the flower head and removing any dead, damaged or crossed stems.
On older plants, Kate recommends cutting one or two old stems down to ground level to encourage the plant to produce new growth.
Pruning lacecap hydrangea
Like mopheads, hooded hydrangeas flower on shoots that formed during the previous year, and are pruned in a similar manner. Hooded hydrangeas are hardier than mauve plants and can be pruned in the fall or spring. These types of hydrangea can be pruned in the same way as hydrangeas.
Pruning hydrangea paniculata and hydrangea bushes
Both species produce their flowers on new growth, so prune them in early spring to “stimulate the plant to produce new flower-bearing stems.”
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Start by removing any dead wood, as well as crossed or damaged branches. Also cut back last year’s stems by about a third, so they reach just over a pair of strong, healthy buds.
Pruning climbing hydrangea
Hydrangeas can be slow to climb, so there’s usually “no need to prune them for the first two to three years” after planting.
Once they start growing, they can become very vigorous plants, reaching more than 10 meters in height, and “it’s a good idea to prune them every year to keep them under control,” says Kate.
Gardeners should prune it as soon as possible after flowering in summer, “to avoid the risk of cutting off any new flower buds.”
Shorten any shoots that are too long and sparse, cutting them back to a pair of healthy, strong buds at the bottom. “Avoid removing too much of the top of the plant, because that’s where most of the flowers will appear,” the gardening teacher urged.
To reduce the size of climbing hydrangea, prune it in the spring. Climbing hydrangeas can tolerate harsh pruning, but will likely produce fewer flowers for a year or two afterward.
For those who reduce the plant size significantly, do so gradually over two or three years to reduce stress on the plant.
Other types of hydrangea, such as the aspera hydrangea and the oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), need only light pruning in the spring to give the plants good shape, remove any dead wood, and maintain their size.