How to Prune Hydrangeas? The Plant Will Explode with Flowers!

When it comes to pruning hydrangeas, one of the things I emphasize is the power of “major timing”.

The process of pruning should not be engaged in without an understanding of WHEN to prune. 

In this article, I will break down the unique processes and strategies I deploy in pruning my precious hydrangeas plant.

If you want your plant to explode with beautiful flowers, then implement everything you will read in this article. 

How to Prune Hydrangeas? The Plant Will Explode with Flowers!

Pruning is essential for hydrangeas because of the following reasons:

Air circulation is needed for plant growth. One of the ways to ensure proper air circulation is by pruning your plants regularly. Your hydrangea will bloom when there is enough air inflow. Make that happen through consistent pruning. 

If you have old and woody hydrangea plants in your garden. Don’t give up on them. Through pruning, you can revitalize and renew these old plants. Simply cut out the old stems back to the base and let new ones grow.

Hydrangea is a flowering plant. Given the proper care, your garden will never cease to lighten up with the beautiful and budding flowers of this plant. However, a strong stem structure is needed for more flowers to be produced. With pruning, you can strengthen the stems of your hydrangea plant.

Find out here when Hydrangeas bloom (it’s important to know!).

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Hydrangeas have many species. However, they are divided into 2 parts:

  • The Hydrangea species that blooms on old wood
  • The hydrangea species that bloom on new wood

The pruning process for these 2 broader categories differs.

Let’s take a look at this.

Let’s take 3 species of Hydrangeas under this category as an example. The same process applies to other species that fall under this category.

Bigleaf Hydrangea

This plant blooms on old wood. The best time to prune it is IMMEDIATELY after its flowering season, which is somewhat between late spring to early summer. Simply remove the “spent” flowers. However, ensure you’re careful enough to not cut off the flower buds for next year.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Just like bigleaf hydrangea, this plant blooms on old wood. Therefore, you can follow the same pruning process. Wait till after its flowering season is over and cut off the spent flowers and damaged or dead branches.

Using the panicle and smooth hydrangeas, below is the pruning process for hydrangeas that bloom on new wood.

Panicle Hydrangea

This is an example of a hydrangea species that blooms on new wood. Unlike the ones that bloom on old wood, the pruning process begins before the flowering season. I prune my panicle hydrangea between late fall and early spring.

Take out all the dead, damaged, and diseased stems from the base of the plant. It helps to increase your hydrangea’s overall health. 

Smooth Hydrangea

Unlike the previous 3 species, smooth hydrangea blooms on new wood. Therefore, the pruning process should happen before flowering begins.

This helps you to properly shape your plant and stimulate it for explosive growth when its flowering season comes.

Mistakes when pruning

Hydrangeas will bloom – when pruned properly. If you avoid these 4 errors, you will never have to struggle with little or no flower production for your hydrangea plant. 

I will share my experience with you in this article, which I believe will be helpful. 

Read on to find out why you should avoid these 4 errors. 

I understand that some plants don’t have a specific pruning time. However, when it comes to hydrangeas, you CANNOT prune them at the wrong time of the year. Doing this will impede the growth of your plant and stop it from blooming in its flowering season. 

A lot of people prune hydrangeas IMMEDIATELY the flowering season is over. They take out old flowers, decayed or dead stems, and prepare them for the next season. Well, that is a wrong move.

I used the same technique some years ago but got little or no results. 

Give your hydrangea ENOUGH time after its flowering season is over. The best time to prune your hydrangea is late winter or early spring. 

If you have a climbing hydrangea plant, leave it till early summer. 

Don’t ever make this mistake!!!

 I sharpen my pruning tools a few days before the pruning exercise. This ensures that I get the perfect cut QUICKLY. It reduces the risk of cramping on tender stems or cutting out the wrong bud. 

If you use blunt or bad pruning tools, you will hurt your hydrangea. Take care of your pruning tools. If your tools are damaged, get new ones before attempting to prune your hydrangea plant. 

Furthermore, don’t use dirty pruning tools. This exposes your plant to diseases that might affect its growth. 

If you are a gardener, you must have fallen into this trap at one time or the other. Trust me! Everyone does. However, you should keep yourself in check. If you’re meant to chop off a piece, don’t remove the stem. This will hurt the entire plant and might affect how your hydrangea blooms in its flowering season. 

If you remove more than ⅓ of your plant, you’ve exposed it to pressure. It might take a while for it to grow back and some might NEVER attain their full flowering potential

Avoid this by pruning nothing more than ⅓ of a shrub. It’s good enough.

Give your newly planted hydrangeas enough room to grow. Pruning them early is dangerous to their overall growth and health. 

Whenever I plant new hydrangeas, it takes at least one year before I attempt to prune them

You should do the same as well. 

How to Prune Hydrangeas? The Plant Will Explode with Flowers!

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