Pruning hydrangeas – how and when?

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Pruning the hydrangea is quite easy. The hydrangea is a very popular plant because of its beautiful flowers and long flowering time. The plant requires very little maintenance. When to prune the hydrangea and what tools to use? When to prune a hydrangea depends on the type of hydrangea. We have listed the most common ones.

Cut hydrangeas in spring, autumn, summer or winter?

What is the right time to prune a hydrangea?

The right time to prune hydrangeas varies depending on the specific species and the desired outcome. In general:

  1. Fall: This is the most popular time to prune hydrangeas, especially for basic pruning and rejuvenation pruning. This is usually done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
  2. Summer: This is a good time to prune hydrangeas for flowering, light pruning or promoting healthy growth. Be careful not to damage or over-prune the plant during the hot summer months.
  3. Fall: This is not a popular time to prune hydrangeas, as there is a risk that the new shoots will be damaged by cold weather.
  4. Winter: This is not a good time to prune hydrangeas, as the plants are dormant and vulnerable to damage from cold weather.

In any case, it is important to keep your hydrangea’s specific requirements and desired outcome in mind when determining the right time for pruning.

pruning the most common hydrangeas

Actual pruning of the most common hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla and Hydrangea serrata is not necessary. However, it is good for the plant to cut away the spent flowers. Do this after winter and before March 1. Only if you think the hydrangea is getting too big, out of shape, or if you want to rejuvenate some branches can you prune the hydrangea. You can then cut off some branches with a pair of secateurs. Here it is important to know that a hydrangea puts on its flower buds the year before. When you prune a branch, it will therefore not bloom for a year.

How can you make the hydrangea smaller with minimal loss of blooms? In spring, cut a few old branches down to the ground. Choose the branches that overhang the most or have grown the furthest into the air. If you really want to significantly rejuvenate your hydrangea, do so over several years. Cut one half of the branches one year and the other half the next year. This way you can still enjoy the flowers every year.

Priming techniques

There are different pruning techniques for hydrangeas, depending on the purpose of the pruning and the type of hydrangea you own. Below are some popular pruning techniques:

  1. Basic pruning: this is an annual pruning that establishes the basic shape of the hydrangea. It is carried out in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
  2. Rejuvenation pruning: this is a more intensive pruning needed to rejuvenate and re-promote the hydrangea. It is performed on old plants that no longer bloom or have died out.
  3. Priming for flowering: this is a technique to improve the flowering of hydrangeas. It is performed after flowering and focuses on removing spent flowers and branches.
  4. Light pruning: this is a technique to maintain the shape of the hydrangea or regulate its growth. It is performed during the growing season.
  5. Priming to promote healthy growth: this is a technique to promote the growth of the hydrangea and protect it from diseases and pests. It is performed during the growing season and focuses on removing damaged or diseased branches.

It is important to keep the specific requirements of your hydrangea and your goals for pruning in mind when choosing a pruning technique.

How to prune

How to influence the growth of a hydrangea by pruning

Pruning is an important aspect of hydrangea care, and it can greatly affect the appearance and growth of the plant. If you follow the proper techniques and times, you can reduce the height of the hydrangea, improve flowering, increase fullness and prevent diseases and pests. Pruning hydrangeas is not only good for the plant, but it also adds beauty to your garden. By pruning regularly, you will create a healthy and full blooming hydrangea. There are different types of hydrangeas and each has specific pruning requirements. It is important to understand and follow these requirements to get the best results. In general, pruning is an easy and effective way to influence and improve the growth and flowering of hydrangeas. So if you have a hydrangea, remember to prune regularly for best results.

How to improve the flowering of a hydrangea by pruning

To improve the flowering of a hydrangea, prune it in early spring, before flowering begins. Remove old branches and cut back to a few eyes (nodes). This will encourage the plant to produce new shoots that bloom later in the season. Note that some types of hydrangeas bloom only on old shoots.

How to care for hydrangeas after pruning

After pruning hydrangeas, it is important to care for them by watering and fertilizing them. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Watering: Make sure to keep the soil around the plant moist, but not too wet. Hydrangeas prefer moist soil, but too much water can damage the roots.
  2. Fertilization: Use a foliar fertilizer or compost in the spring to feed the plant and encourage it to produce new shoots.
  3. Mulching: Cover the soil around the plant with mulch to keep the soil moist and prevent weeds.
  4. Sun protection: Place hydrangeas in an area with indirect sunlight, but protect them from direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves.
  5. Priming after flowering: Prune wilted flowers and branches after flowering so that the plant can put energy into producing new shoots and buds for the next flowering.

Thinning Hydrangea

Thinning a hydrangea is an important step in maintaining the plant. It is best to do this in early spring, before new growth begins. First remove old and withered branches and then thin the plant by removing excess shoots at the base. If the plant is too large, you can divide it by taking a piece of the plant and planting it in a new location. Make sure the remaining branches get enough light and water to keep the plant healthy and full and to keep the flowers beautiful and full.

Different types of hydrangeas and how to prune them

Types of hydrangeas

Annabelle hydrangea pruning

The Annabelle hydrangea blooms from June and sometimes well into October. The large white bulbs slowly change to light green bulbs. The light green bulbs will eventually dry out and turn light brown. It makes no difference to the plant whether you cut the bulbs in late October or in March. The bulbs are on long thin stems and offer little protection from frost. The bulbs can still be beautiful in winter, too. If you prune an Annabelle before winter, don’t prune it too short, this will prevent the plant from freezing. In any case, keep stems of about 60 cm.

The Annabelle blooms on young wood and can therefore, unlike the Hydrangea macrophylla and Hydrangea serrata, be pruned back to the ground.

Annabelle hydrangea

Priming the Plum Hydrangea

The panicle hydrangea should be pruned to keep the plant compact and full of blooms. Like the Annabelle, the panicle hydrangea blooms on an annual. The best time to prune is just after winter, in late February. You can cut the panicle hydrangea 10 cm above the ground. If you want the shrub to grow taller, prune it higher.

Plum Hydrangea

Priming climbing hydrangea

Because the climbing hydrangea has many attached branches with attached roots, this hydrangea quickly takes up a lot of space. Suture branches can be cut away when they take up too much space and you don’t want to see your walls damaged too much. This is because the adhesive roots are not easy to get off the wall.

Climbing Hydrangea

The flowering branches are best pruned after flowering, in June. The plant can then form buds again for the next year. Cut back flowering branches to about 10 inches from the stem. If you want to drastically cut back a climbing hydrangea, do so in the winter. You then have the best chance that the plant will survive. Blooming flowers can be cut away after flowering or after winter.

Would you like to buy more or new hydrangeas? Then look for a garden center near you on the map below!


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