Everybody loves hydrangeas! They’re one of the most popular flowering shrubs for Michigan landscapes, blooming for weeks at a time during the summer months.
To ensure an abundance of flowers every year, all hydrangeas need annual pruning. The trick is to know when to do it, because like so many things in life, timing is everything! Warren Liken, Reder Landscaping’s Staff Horticulturalist and Nursery Manager, says the key factor in knowing when to prune your hydrangeas is if the blooms develop on this season’s new growth or last year’s old wood.
Hydrangeas that bloom on new growth would include the Paniculata and Annabelle varities. These plants produce flower buds early in the growing season, beginning about a month or two before they bloom. Therefore, the best time to prune them is while they’re dormant in the late fall, winter, and early spring. For the Paniculatas, Warren recommends cutting the plant in half when pruning to produce abundant blooms and good structure for the next season, and in the case of the Annabelles, he recommends taking them down to the ground.
Hydrangeas that flower off of old growth would include the “big leaf” Macrophylla varieties. The time to prune these hydrangeas is right after they’re done flowering in the late summer. This gives the plant time to set new flower buds for the next season before winter comes. Pruning them in the fall, winter or early spring would remove all of the flower buds for that summer, and poor blossoms would result.
If you want to try pruning your hydrangeas yourself and you have some doubts, only prune off old flower heads this fall and leave the rest until spring. Once June arrives, you’re safe to prune off any stems that have not produced leaves.
Be sure to ask about our Bronze, Silver and Gold Plant Health Care Programs. These plant fertility programs will keep your trees, shrubs and perennials in top shape year round. Also, inquire about our new Certified Arborist Plant Care Program, for homeowners with mature landscapes who want a custom, comprehensive plan crafted by a plant expert.
From plant care to lawn care to irrigation to landscape design and installation (and now, snow removal) – Reder Landscaping is the one company that does it all!