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Pruning hydrangeas

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This is a hydrangea and one of the questions people always have is how do I prune my hydrangea? Well, it depends on what kind of hydrangea. So, let me show you the three most popular hydrangea types and how to prune them.

This is the Arborescens hydrangea, which is the "Annabelle" hydrangea. It's the big white puffy one. It tends to die back right to the ground every year, so you simply cut it back to the ground. If you look down really close to the ground, you can see it's actually starting to sprout up from its root system already. Those shoots will eventually come up and flower.

Now, the hydrangea over there is a little taller and you can see it already has a lot of nice new growth on it. That's a Panicle hydrangea. Like the Arborescens hydrangea, it also flowers on the new wood. What happens is those branches survive the winter and shoots that grow off them will form the beautiful flowers. Prune it like a shrub, meaning you take off some dead, diseased and broken branches, and ones that are growing in the wrong direction. Just shape it a little bit.

The final hydrangea is the one that always vexes people! This is the blue hydrangea like "Endless Summer." You have to protect the bottom of the plant in the winter, so some old growth survives. If you wait for the new growth to come out of the ground, it will be really late in the fall before it flowers, if at all.

So, make sure you protect those old stems and get them to survive and you can see some of the new growth coming off them. Then just cut back to where that new growth is and you'll get some nice blue flowers fairly early in the summer. But you need to take care of them through the winter.

~By Charlie Nardozzi

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