September 21, 2017

Pruning Hydrangeas

Mop Head Hydrangea

Pruning Hydrangeas

Popular around the world, hydrangeas are admired for their large flower heads.  This beautifully flowering plant is native to Asia and North and South America.  About 75 different species make up the hydrangea family.  Most species are kept as small shrubs ranging from 3 to 6 feet.  However, some are pruned to be appreciated as small trees.  Others can act as climbers reaching heights of 90 feet high.  Among the various species of hydrangeas, some are evergreen, however the majority of the plant that are cultivated are deciduous.

LaceCap Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are most known for their flowers, which bloom in two distinct groupings.  One is referred to as mop head where the small flowers bunch together to for a mop or pompom shape.  The other, is LaceCap flowers where the center of the flower bunch made up of small flowers surrounded by more vibrant flowers on the outside with larger pedals.

Like many flowering plants hydrangeas are bloom from spring to autumn.  The majority of the flowers produced are white.  However, hydrangeas do bloom in blue, light and dark purple, pink and red.   The amount of ph in the soil also has an affect on the color of the bloom.  When pruning hydrangeas it is best to cut at the stem or base which leads to the flower head.

Hydrangeas are most commonly grown for ornamental and aesthetic purposes.  When producing large flower heads, it is difficult for anyone to walk by without taking notice.

Hydrangea Pruning  

It is best practice to prune hydrangeas annually.  Each year as new leaf buds start to appear prune back the branches.  If left unpruned the branches will continue to grow outwards ad weigh down the plant.  With to much added weight, the thin branches will often break and as a result naturally prune.  Another reason to prune regularly is that flowers will not develop on first year stems.  Blooms will only grow from woody parts of the plant.  The new will need to develop and mature for at least a full growing season before they will produce beautiful blooms.

Hydrangea Care

Hydrangeas are plants that do best in full sun to partial shade.  Plant in moist soil that drains well.  Organis matter can help with this.  It also help to water your hydrangeas early and often.  If your about to plant hydrangeas, let them settle in for a few months before fertilizing.  And don’t go crazy with the nitrogen as that may inhibit the plant from flowering.

Colorful Hydrangeas

The type of soil affects the color bloom your hydrangeas will produce.  The more acid the soil, the more blue your flowers will.  A soil that  is more base will tend to produce lighter pink flower.  To quickly help with this add aluminum ions to your soil.  However, this is not an annual fix.  Too much build up in the soil annually will kill the plant.  For longer term health it is best to use Iron sulfate or even switch year after year.  If you like pick flowers better use a lime solutions or dolomite.

For more info on hydrangea pruning: