How to prune hydrangeas

How to prune hydrangeas

As each new flowering has depleted, and the beautiful flower-heads on hydrangeas have dried out, these attractive and trouble-free shrubs can be managed with a distinctive pruning method. There’s no need to start «dead-heading» early, just enjoy their many spectacular color changes, through to this pruning routine.

To encourage more of the same wonderful flowers next year, the following steps show just how easy it is to do; a pruning technique dedicated to hydrangea shrubs.


Step 1

When to prune?

For frost-free zones, this pleasant chore can be carried out during the Autumn months. Otherwise, leave pruning until any danger of frosts has passed.

Step 2

Where to prune?

  • Generally you can see this by a defining difference in the color of the hydrangea stem. The «old wood» will be brownish and more aged, whereas the «new wood» will appear lighter.
  • From the section where the new wood starts, look up this branch for a pair of plump buds.

  • Some will not be as «full» as others, and those with most swelling will become the best flowering buds for the following year.

…just like this
Step 3

Rejuvanate aged and unruly hydrangea plants with hard pruning:

In this case, first cut out the oldest branches, right down at their base.

The remainder, where possible, cut to just above the second or third lot of bud pairs from the base. Again, look for the plumpest buds.

Hard pruning like this will minimize the next flowering, but gives the hydrangea back its shape and form, with the promise of good things to come.

Things Needed
• Pruning secateurs
• Wheelbarrow or bin (to contain prunings)


• Use prunings for cuttings, at about 6 — 8 inches (15 — 20 cm) long. These can be planted in «bunches» of say five cuttings, in a pot or open garden. As the warm weather approaches, signs of the cuttings having «taken» will be evident with the sprouting of new buds. Lift out, and plant each cutting separately.


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