How to Prune Hydrangeas for the Perfect Summer Blooms
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
Ready to learn how to prune hydrangeas? Here's the best way to care for these stunning shrubs.
If you’re curious about how to prune hydrangeas, grab your shears and let’s garden!
When to Prune Your Hydrangeas
It’s good to get into the habit of pruning every year. You’ll need to schedule pruning hydrangeas at different times, though. There are two main types in the Hydrangea macrophylla family: lacecap hydrangeas and mophead hydrangeas. We’ll also cover oakleaf hydrangeas and panicle hydrangeas.
The blue, purple or pink hydrangeas you see in your grocery store’s florist section? They’re mopheads. Mopheads don’t need heavy pruning, but a snip here and there does encourage new growth. Just trim off dead growth once the shrub has finished flowering.
The same is true of lacecaps. Don’t go overboard with pruning! Lacecaps also bloom on old wood, so just deadhead them once they’re done at the end of the season. Lacecap hydrangeas are the only blooms that can change color.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are another type that require old wood to flower. Once again, a light cut to remove dead growth once summer’s over is all you need.
Panicle hydrangeas are instantly recognizable for their unique cone shape. These flower on new wood. You can prune them anytime except during the summer. If you want to reshape the shrub, trim stems back while the plant is dormant (late winter once the risk of frost has passed), about a foot or so from its base.
For more details on pruning hydrangeas, consult our full guide on how to care for hydrangeas.
How to Prune Hydrangeas
First things first—make sure your shears are sharp! Then, no matter which type of hydrangea you have, don’t prune more than one-third of the shrub. If you’re not 100% sure what variety of hydrangea you have, play it safe and simply deadhead it.
Editor’s Tip: Be sure to give your hydrangea plenty of water when the temperatures creep up. During the height of summer, the soil is prone to drying out. Depending on where you live, you’ll want to break out the hose every other day or so.
Ready to start gardening? These are the garden tools worth a splurge.