(n.) A genus of shrubby plants bearing opposite leaves and large heads of showy flowers, white, or of various colors. H. hortensis, the common garden species, is a native of China or Japan. (Thinkexist.com)
Identifying what types of hydrangeas beautify your yard, along with knowledge of its growing habits, will ensure you are utilizing the proper pruning methods at the right time of year. This is an instructional guide on how to prune hydrangeas. You can watch an actual hydrangeas pruning video here.
Three Types of Hydrangeas
1 – ) Hydrangeas that form buds in both spring and fall
2 – ) Hydrangeas that form buds in spring only
3 – ) Hydrangeas that form buds in fall only
Pruning and Cuttings
According to CarrollGardens.com, macrophylla hydrangeas, a classic shrub, will develop next year’s buds this summer, generally in the first part of August when the flowers have turned brown. With this in mind, if you desire flowers for arrangements or in vases, cut only while the blooms are in color. It is not safe to cut stems of the hydrangeas after browning has occurred. Do not prune or clip if blooms have browned and dried on the stem. This will result in the removal of the following year’s buds.
Spring Budding Hydrangeas
The consensus concerning hydrangeas that form buds in spring appears to be; safe pruning can take place during the summer and fall months. However, a note of caution when it comes to this practice; Carroll Gardens website claims early spring pruning of this type of hydrangeas is still widely recommended by many horticulturists.
Established Bigleaf, Panicle, Oakleaf and Smooth Hydrangeas
Regular pruning of these particular hydrangeas will benefit the plant. Every year, eliminating approximately one-third of the oldest stems on the plant, will actually help the hydrangeas flourish into a healthier, fuller plant.
When I purchased my hydrangeas a few years ago, my local nursery suggested I do this pruning in winter (before snowfall). The bush is bare of leaves then and it is much easier to see what needs pruning inside the bush. This has been a great way for me to control the height of my hydrangeas as well.
If the Bigleaf Hydrangeas have stems damaged by cold weather, prune these dead stems as soon as you discover the impairment. Checking the base of the plant, look for new growth. Basal shoots about 6 or 8 inches long may be apparent, but stems above these shoots may be bare. Prune the bare stems to encourage the shoots below to grow and strengthen.
Tips for Hydrangeas Care and Root Development
Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen during the active growing season. When bloom time nears, dwindle down the nitrogen fertilizer and supply the hydrangeas with potassium and phosphorus, which is available at any garden center or nursery. To aid moisture and keep an even ground temperature, mulch around the bush. Prune dead stems and wood at the base. An excellent source of information on hydrangeas care is available at Heronwoods.com.
Familiar now with how to prune hydrangeas, it is also beneficial to know what garden tool you will need to keep your hydrangeas blooming beautifully. While any basic pruning shears will do the job, a long-term investment in a good pair of shears is advisable.
Top rated by experienced gardeners and professionals who landscape for a living, Felco clippers are the number one pick in pruning shears. Felco offers various models with Felco Model 8 being the top of the line for all your common pruning needs. Cost will run between $30 and $60. Visit this company online for information on where to purchase these outstanding tools. Pruning hydrangeas is easy when you have the perfect tool.
Personal Experience – Hydrangeas In My Garden