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Tips on Pruning Hydrangeas

By Barbara Pierson ; Updated September 21, 2017

It's very important, when learning how to prune Hydrangeas, that you know what kind of Hydrangea you have. Get tips on pruning Hydrangeas with help from a professional gardener in this free video clip.


Hi, I'm Barb Pierson from White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut. We love spring, because this is when we can get out in the garden, and start working our plants. Today, I have in front of me this Macrophylla Hydrangea, and this is a variety that blooms on old wood. But, this is Hydrangea Endless Summer, that blooms on old wood and new wood. What that means, old wood is last year's growth, and you can see this here on the plant. New wood will come up from the bottom. So, on a Macrophylla like Endless Summer, you're going to get blooms here on the old growth, and then also coming up from the bottom of the plant. But, you can see here we've had some die back here and here. So, I'm going to cut off some of the stem. You can see swollen bud on this Macrophylla right here, and the dead wood. We're going to cut right above the swollen buds. This is Hydrangea Paniculata, just like the big tree Hydrangeas, but this happens to be Little Lamb, and you can see here all the new growth coming out in the spring. And, Paniculata Hydrangeas bloom on new wood. So, if you want to shape your plant, you can do it in early spring and it won't affect the flowering. We can prune it here, or really anywhere on the plant, because the flowers are going to come on the new growth. So, it's okay to prune it without compromising your flowering. This is Hydrangea Petiolaris, the Climbing Hydrangea. You can see how beautiful it is here along the fence. At this time of year, you can see it's coming into flower. It flowers on last year's wood, so if you feel that you must prune your Climbing Hydrangea, do it right after flowering. This is Hydrangea Arborescens Incrediball, the beautiful big Mophead Hydrangea. The great thing about Mopheads is that they flower on new wood. So, in the spring you can cut them as low as you want. This one's been cut right about here, and we're just going to let it grow and bloom. They're very easy care - one cut in early spring, and the plant will grow and bloom for you. This is Hydrangea Quercifolia, Snow Queen. The Quercifolia means "oak leaf," and you see here the beautiful shape of the leaves, a beautiful oak leaf shape. It's best not to prune your Quercifolia unless you want to shape it. And, if you do decide to do that, it's a good idea to prune it right after it flowers. This is Hydrangea Serrata, Blue Billow, which is a gorgeous blue flowering Hydrangea. Hydrangea Blue Billow flowers on old wood, meaning last year's growth. So, if you decide to prune it, you're only going to thin it and cut it right after it flowers, probably sometime in July. Don't cut your Hydrangea Serrata in spring, or you won't have flowers that season. Simply by knowing what type of Hydrangea you have, you can prune it properly and have gorgeous flowers this season. We love Hydrangeas here at White Flower Farm. I'm Barb Pierson for White Flower Farm, here in Litchfield, Connecticut.


About the Author

Barbara Pierson, professional gardener, graduated from Cornell’s School of Horticulture and has been the Nursery Manager at White Flower Farm since 1998.