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Do You Have to Prune Hydrangeas?

A person holds a pair of pruning shears towards a hydrangea bloom.

Hydrangeas are widely adored. Their big, expansive blooms steal the show in gardens everywhere. But as you marvel at their beauty, you might wonder: do you have to prune hydrangeas? It’s a question that sparks debates among garden enthusiasts everywhere.

While you don’t have to prune your hydrangeas, pruning can be a beneficial part of hydrangea care for a few reasons.

First, pruning helps to remove dead or diseased areas, promoting the overall healthy growth of the plant. Second, it can shape the shrub and control its size, preventing it from taking over your garden or clashing with neighboring plants.

Finally, strategic pruning can encourage the growth of new, vigorous stems and blooms, leading to a more bountiful display of those iconic, colorful blooms. If you want to reap any of these benefits, it may be time to consider your pruning strategy.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

If you're looking for an excuse to snag another hydrangea plant, this is it.

Keep in mind that there is another perspective to consider. Some argue that leaving hydrangeas unpruned is the way to go. There are garden enthusiasts who claim that allowing the shrub to grow naturally enhances its charm and rustic appeal.

Plus, in some circumstances, pruning too late or too aggressively can result in damage to your plant.

If you decide to wield those pruning shears on your hydrangeas, there are a few rules you want to keep in mind.

First, timing is crucial. Depending on the variety of hydrangeas you have and where you’re located, you may want to prune in early spring, early summer, or even late winter. It all depends on when the growth of your plant begins.

3 Pack Garden Pruning Shears

Having a quality set of pruning shears is crucial for safe plant pruning.

Also, keep in mind that less is more. Avoid going overboard with the pruning. Try to remove only dead or weak stems and any crossing branches to avoid over-pruning your plant.

Different hydrangea species have different blooming habits, and understanding them is key to successful pruning. For example, if you have a reblooming variety, such as the Endless Summer series, you can prune them more aggressively to encourage more blooms.

If you decide to let your hydrangeas thrive without any pruning, that’s perfectly fine too! There’s a certain joy in allowing nature to take its course. Unpruned hydrangeas can still be healthy and put on a stunning display of flowers, albeit with a more organic and untamed appearance.

In the end, the decision to prune or not to prune your hydrangeas boils down to personal preference and the specific species you have. Whichever route you choose, the beauty of these magnificent shrubs will surely bring joy to your garden year after year.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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