When and How to Prune Hydrangeas

Prune hydrangea regularly can keep it beautiful and bloom beautiful flowers every year. However, not all hydrangeas are pruned at the same time. So before pruning, you need to know the varieties of hydrangeas you plant. If you prune at the wrong time, you may accidentally cut off the branches that should be blooming in the next flower season.

This article will tell you:

  • How to distinguish the types of hydrangeas
  • When to prune hydrangeas
  • How to prune hydrangeas

How to distinguish the varieties of hydrangea

Old wood flowering varieties

This hydrangea generally blooms in early summer and withers in midsummer. Then the branches began to germinate new buds and bloom in the next year.

Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood include the following:

  • Bigleaf hydrangeas, mop head hydrangea.( H. macrophylla)
  • Oakleaf hydrangeas (H. quercifolia)
  • Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)
  • Mountain hydrangea, Lacecap (Hydrangea serrata)

New wood flowering varieties

This hydrangea begins to grow in early spring and blooms in summer. They bloom later than old hydrangeas, because it takes time to germinate.

The following varieties bloom on new wood:

  • Conical hydrangea.
  • Panicle hydrangea, PG hydrangea(Hydrangea paniculata)
  • Arbor hydrangea or Smooth hydrangea, Annabelle, Snowball(Hydrangea arborescens)

When to Prune Hydrangeas

When to prune old wood of bloom hydrangeas?

Pruning immediately after the flowering period(late summer)

In the late summer and early autumn, these varieties of hydrangeas sprout immediately after blooming, so in the midsummer season, pruning them before they sprout, to fully prepare for the next year’s flowering. Too long will probably delay its growth in the second year. If you miss this opportunity, wait for the next year to prune it. There is no need to prune the hydrangea every year, and it will not be a problem to prune the next year. If you are not satisfied with the shape of the hydrangea tree, you can prune it at any time, but not trimming during midsummer may affect its flowering in the coming year.

Because the bud that the old branch flowering variety can bloom, it must have been differentiated and formed (the flower bud differentiation period) about October of the previous year, and it will develop after several months of development and wintering, so these buds are usually full The size is also relatively large.

When to prune new wood of bloom hydrangea ?

Pruned in late winter to early spring

This variety of hydrangeas will bloom on new shoots, so you can prune them in the winter before they start to grow. This is the best time for pruning new flowering varieties. However, you can also pruning in other seasons, as long as it is not pruned in spring and early summer, because this time they will bloom.

In winter, you can prune one-third of the length of the flower stem. This time trimming can make the hydrangea bloom larger and more dazzling flowers. However, most gardeners still want the hydrangea flowers to be smaller and the stems to be stronger. If you think so too, you can prune it in the fall and let the hydrangea grow stronger before it blooms.

How to prune hydrangea

Pruning old wood blooming hydrangea

1. Cut off the withered flowers.

After the flowers have withered, put the scissors on the top of the stem and under the flower head, then cut off the flower head. This will make the shape of the hydrangea tree in the flowering period more neat. You can also cut dead or dying branches from the roots.

2. Cut off old branches and stumps.

Hydrangea grows old after a few years of blooming, and it needs to prune almost a third of old branches, overlapping branches and stumps. Only hydrangeas can grow many new shoots. In addition, you can use professional tree shears to cut particularly thick branches.

3. Prune the hydrangea tree smaller.

If the hydrangea grows too large, you can prune it after it has finished blooming (around July). Cut off the branches by a third. Most of the time, the pruned hydrangea grows very fast, and it will grow again from the smaller tree shape in a short time. Just considering the health of the tree, there is no need to do such pruning. You only need to prune it when it takes up too much space.

Pruning new wood blooming hydrangea

1. Cut off dead and crossed branches.

Use flower shears to prune dead or entangled branches to give the plant a space to let sunlight in, so that it will grow stronger.

2. Leave a little old stick so that the plant will grow better.

Hydrangea flowers may bloom on one side of the tree, leaving the tree unbalanced, so do not cut off all the old branches, leaving a complete tree shape, so that not too many flowers crush the branches.


To know when and how to prune hydrangeas, first of all, we must distinguish the varieties of hydrangeas. The old-flowering varieties start to prune after the summer flowering period. New shoots need to be pruned before the buds bud in late winter. Then follow the steps above to start prune hydrangeas.

You also need to plan in advance and plant the hydrangea in an open place. Otherwise, the longer the hydrangea is, the bigger and bigger you will have to cut down its tree shape.

For more hydrangea inspiration, see: