Unleash the vibrant beauty of your hydrangeas with timely and effective pruning. Learn the techniques of expert pruning and discover how you can revitalize your hydrangeas.
Understanding the Pruning Cycle
Most hydrangea species bloom on last year's wood, making it vital to prune accordingly. During autumn, faded flowers and dead wood should be removed. However, extensive cutting, which may weaken the plant, should be avoided. In colder regions, large balls of faded flowers should be left on the plant for protection. Pruning in February or March, during late winter, helps aerate the plant and prepares it for new growth. At this stage, light pruning is advisable, particularly for younger plants. After 3 years, the plants require more detailed pruning. Note that climbing hydrangeas may not need pruning at all.
Late Winter Pruning Technique
When pruning in late winter, bear in mind to cut in a slant, directing towards the cluster's exterior. This helps with proper water drainage. The annual pruning to boost flowering involves cutting just above the first pair of buds, typically one or two centimeters. The shoots that are birthed after pruning will bear flowers the following year.
For a healthier shrub: pruning at the base helps rejuvenate the plant. Older, more woody and white branches should be removed from the base at the end of winter. If the shrub appears crowded, create some space to allow better light penetration and enhance its visual appeal.
For older plants: If the hydrangea plant has aged significantly and needs rejuvenation, a radical pruning technique can be applied. This involves cutting everything to a maximum height of 20 cm from the ground. Although this will result in no flowers in the current year, the plant will begin anew in the following year, flourishing beautifully. This severe pruning technique can be repeated every 4 to 6 years.
Lunar Cycle Considerations
The moon's descending phase is the ideal time to prune, as the sap concentrates in the roots during this period. This is ideal for effective pruning, enhancing the overall health and growth of your hydrangeas.
Pruning Hydrangea Paniculata and Arborescens Varieties
The Paniculata and Arborescens hydrangea varieties bloom on new wood, allowing for more extensive pruning. This can help in structuring the shrub better and controlling its flowering.