Gorgeous Hydrangeas! Who doesn’t love them? Some varieties thrive in the shade and some appreciate full sun. They are available in a wide variety of sizes, too. There truly is a Hydrangea for everyone! My head spins at the number of the breathtaking varieties we offer…the hoop house is overflowing. Visit soon for the best selection.
Once your new show-stoppers have had time to settle in, it is time to start thinking about the pruning care that they will need in order to to receive maximum bloom heads. Be sure to save the tag because, similar to Clematis, Hydrangea care depends on which species or variety you have.
I will break it down for you as simply as I can.
FIRST there are those which bloom on OLD WOOD (last year’s growth). If this type is pruned or cut down after the beginning of August, buds will not set for the following year and you will be very disappointed. Hydrangea species that will generally fall into this group are H. macrophylla (Bigleaf Mopheads or Lacecaps) and H. quercifolia (Oakleaf). There are a few in the Bigleaf group which bloom on new AND old wood, but it is better to treat them as old wood exclusives.
When pruning the Bigleaf and Oakleaf types (like Gatsby Gal™ pictured to the right) in the Spring, remove DEAD stems ONLY. This will be done after the plant has begun to leaf out and the dead stems are obvious. Generally, this group will bloom in the Spring/Early Summer and can be safely shaped immediately following…but not past July.
There are a few exceptions to the Bigleaf group. Probably the most popular variety is called Endless Summer™ (pictured above). This lovely creature continues to bloom all season long when spent flowers are removed (deadheaded). These specialized varieties will regenerate bloom buds which are damaged or removed. In addition, Endless Summer™ will provide you with pink OR blue blooms depending on how acidic your soil is. A neutral soil will create a more violet color of bloom. They truly are stunning.
THEN there is the group of Hydrangea which bloom on NEW wood. H. paniculata (no pruning in Summer) and H. arborescens (no pruning in Spring) fall into this category.
It is not necessary to prune the H. paniculata type every year, but you WILL want to prune the H. arborescens (‘Annabelle’ is a popular variety) in late Fall or Winter down to about 18-24″ (taking them closer to the ground produces weaker stems). Be on the lookout for Invincibelle™ Spirit…the first PINK H. arborescens…she is remarkable!
There are many new, gorgeous varieties of H. paniculata AND most of them can handle quite a bit of direct sun. Look for varieties such as Pinky Winky®, Quick Fire® or Bobo® to jazz up your landscape beds.
As always, if you have other questions, feel free to drop me a line!
Enjoy your new found favorite plants!