Darrell Blackwelder: What your hydrangea wants you to know about pruning

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 1, 2020

Your hydrangeas may have been killed back during freezing weather earlier this winter. Let’s hope not!

Many ask when is the best time to cut them back. Hydrangeas don’t really need heavy pruning to produce ample flowers.

Hydrangea pruned

There are four major types of hydrangeas grown in Rowan County and all are pruned differently and at different times. Those with deadwood can be pruned or deadheaded at any time. It’s important to note that severely pruning older varieties will almost assuredly reduce future flower production; the flower buds are produced on the old growth.

Newer “Endless Summer” cultivars produce blooms on both new and old growth, so they can be pruned in the spring and summer.

However, if you have older “mop head” type hydrangeas you may consider light, judicious pruning in the mid-summer before August.

Pruning older hydrangeas into August and later is risky because they most likely have already have set their bloom buds for the next year.

If those stems are removed pruned in the fall, winter, or spring, the bloom buds will be removed, and there can be little or no bloom that year.

Go to http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/pruning.html for detailed information on pruning hydrangeas.

Darrell Blackwelder deblackw@ncsu.edu is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.