Pruning Hydrangeas

Q.

I have an hydrangea bush. It didn’t flower much this year. I didn’t cut it last year or this year. Is it too late?

Or should I prune in the spring?

It’s such a beautiful day today (Dec 5, 2013). I am doing some work outside and was tempted to cut back the bush.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

A.

I understand the temptation to do gardening today!
If its the type of hydrangea that blooms on new wood, you won’t hurt it by doing some trimming today. Typically these are the hydrangeas that flower in mid to late summer. I suggest you leave a bit of extra length and do the final trim in the spring after the buds form. Consider removing¬†a few old branches and also remove any weak or crossed branches way down at the base.

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One alternative though is to leave the flower heads on for winter interest in the garden until March or April. Once buds break in the spring, it’s a better time to prune as at that point we can see the little buds and make our cuts just above an outward facing one.

If it’s a variety that blooms in late spring or early June, be careful! This may be the type that blooms on old wood. In that case, I wouldn’t trim today at all or you’ll lose all chance of flowers in the spring.

Here’s an article from Fine Gardening Magazine about Pruning Hydrangeas¬†which includes pictures of various types of hydrangeas and some good advice.

Enjoy this fine winter day!