How to Prune Hydrangeas

Pruning Hydrangeas can be scary! You can't just hack away-- you could be lopping off future flowers. If you are pruning in Summer, go for it: cut the flowers you want to bring inside and enjoy them. If you want to control the size and the health of your plant, read on. 

First, what type do you have? 

Here is a link to an IG video I made, well, actually 6 videos, that may help you know what you have and how to prune them! Macrophylla types include the your blue and purple ones (but they can be white also) and are sometimes called ‘mop head’ hydrangeas. This group also includes lace cap hydrangeas. They bloom on last year’s bud nodes, so you must be careful pruning. The second group includes arborescens and paniculata hydrangeas. Arborescens are sometimes called ‘smooth’ and paniculata are sometimes called ‘panicle’ (it’s the shape of the flower). They include Annabelles, (photo below), Lime Lights, and lots of others.

They generally grow taller than macrophyllas, they generally tolerate sun better than macrophyllas, and they can be pruned with abandon because this year’s flowers will come on this year’s woody growth.

Once you know that what you are pruning is NOT a macrophylla type, go at it. Prune away. You will get your blooms this year. 

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Oh wait, one more thing, treat OAK LEAF Hydrangeas as you would macrophyllas. 

Pruning Hydrangeas can be scary! You can't just hack away-- you could be lopping off future flowers. If you are pruning in Summer, go for it: cut the flowers you want to bring inside and enjoy them. If you want to control the size and the health of your plant, read on. 

How to prune macrophyllas and Oak Leaf?Gently.  Watch this IG video. These are the ones that flower on LAST YEAR'S wood, so you want to go easy! Lauren shows, after an awkward silence, my fault, what you do want to take away. All that is dead, weak and low should go. Let the plant put energy into the branches that will support flowers that you will see.

Now you know!