We’ve been having a few pretty nice days lately! One was so warm, I could have sworn it was an early summer day.
So I wandered outdoors with my AM coffee, fully knowing what was ahead.
Everything in sight needed pressure washing. Badly.
The lawn even needed mowing! Goodness… I was hoping the mower would even start.
However before feeling completely overwhelmed, I decided to start slow… and head over to the hydrangea bush with some pruners in hand.
Focus. On. One. Thing. At. A. Time.
Before I bolted for my bike instead.
The hydrangea bush is only flowering shrub left in the back yard after the big overgrown flowerbed clean out last summer.
And boy did it need some help.
You may already know hydrangeas can be pruned right after they finish blooming. Theory states, next year’s blooms will be on new wood, so one should cut out the old branches, but leave the new shoots.
Since I like leaving hydrangea flowers on the bush well into fall due to their best flower drying harvest time, I suppose you could say I do some pruning in the fall in that way. However, I leave the majority of the pruning until spring.
I may be different than most that I don’t prune to resize the bush. I prune just to dead head. I find the more you leave well enough alone, the flat out better the bush blooms.
Case in point…
Here is a shot of this hydrangea bush in summer. It’s taller than me.
The blooms are always so abundant, you can barely even see leaves.
I NEVER cut it back hard and the flower yield is always outstanding.
Here is the same bush in fall. The petals are starting to get crispy, which is the best time to dry hydrangeas for long lasting blooms ahead.
Winter thru Spring
And this is how they look during winter.
And spring too of course, if you don’t cut them back until then!
Yup, I decorate with them then too!
However, the bonus on waiting to prune until spring? You can spot exactly where to cut due to the new buds.
For me, it helps gauge to not over cut, and know where to stop.
How I prune hydrangeas
- Wait for spring.
- Cut out any hollow sounding wood, as it’s dead.
- Dead head each spent flower to the closest bud, on an angle.
- Thin out or shape the bush as desired. The less you cut, the better.
Basically put, I’ve found hydrangeas to bloom better if I don’t cut them back too hard.
Edited to add: Others have chimed in that some hydrangeas bloom from old wood. I’ve also read that cutting them to the ground will produce larger blooms.
Knowing what variety you have may require taking a trip to a local greenhouse with clipping in hand for accurate care advice.
If something isn’t currently working, perhaps it’s time to try something different.
And here’s the new cleaned up bush!
Pretty much the same size, however all the dead wood is removed, then it was gently shaped.
I have not babied this hydrangea bush like this for the past few years. I’d just dead head, not caring where I cut and left it, so this bush was well overdue needing a proper clean up. I filled up two wheel barrows, PLUS my ‘green’ garbage day pickup bin!
See what less flowerbeds is already doing for me? It’s gifted me more time to work with what I have in the right way!
Plus… more bike rides. 🙂
Pruning hydrangeas in spring may not be the proper-proper way, however you certainly can’t argue with a bush that loves to bloom!
When do you prune your flowering bushes? What yields the most blooms for you?
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