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How to Prune Lacecap Hydrangeas

The Lacecap Hydrangea is a type of French Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) with flat clusters of flowers. Tiny flowers surrounded by flowers with larger petals give the blooms a lacy appearance that resembles an old-fashioned head covering. Lacecap Hydrangeas have a rounded form with stout, upright branches. In areas where they freeze in the winter, the plants grow up to 6 feet tall and wide. In frost-free areas, the plants may grow up to 12 feet tall and wide. Lacecap Hydrangeas bloom on the previous year’s growth and should not be pruned after Aug. 1, to avoid disrupting the next season’s flowers.

Use hand pruners for limbs up to 1/2 inch in diameter and lopping shears for larger limbs. Make cuts at a 30 degree angle, at a joint or bud.

In the spring, remove old or woody limbs that no longer produce leaves or buds at ground level with hand pruners or lopping shears.

Use hand pruners or lopping shears to cut out dead, damaged or diseased limbs. Symptoms of disease include split wood, cankers, peeling bark or moldy areas on the affected limbs.

After the predicted date of the last frost, remove frost-damaged leaves by hand or with hand pruners.

In late summer, no later than Aug. 1, trim elongated or wayward limbs that spoil the shape of the plant with hand pruners or lopping shears. To control the size of the plant, cut limbs back 1/3 to 1/2 of their length.

Dead flowers can be removed in the fall with hand pruners or left on the plant for winter interest. If they are left on the plant, remove dead flowers in the spring before new growth begins.


Do not prune more than 1/3 of the plant’s foliage during a season. Clean debris from around plant after pruning. Destroy dead or diseased trimmings to prevent the spread of infection. Green or healthy trimmings can be shredded and added to a compost pile.

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