Garden Detective

Jessica Damiano's award-winning garden blog gets to the root of things.

Can hydrangeas be safely pruned now?

(Credit: PHOTO BY BILL DAVIS)

Dear Jessica,

My wife did not want me to touch the hydrangeas (macrophylla), and now it is too late to prune. What can I do at this late time? Do I just leave them as is? Or can I cut back a little. I cut them back to the ground last year and only had one flower. Please advise so I don't get in trouble with my wife again. Thanks Gene Okray

Dear Gene,

The most you can do now without sacrificing blooms is deadhead, which is simply removing the spent flower heads at their base. If there are any broken or diseased branches, you can cut them back, too, but that's it.

And don't feel bad -- my husband would be in trouble, too, if he cut down my hydrangeas! :)

Dear everyone else,

This advice above is specific to Macrophylla hydrangeas. To learn which species of hydrangea you have, compare you plant to these photos. Then check my Ultimate Pruning Guide to learn when to prune your hydrangea species, as well as other trees and shrubs.

Tags: mailbag , hydrangeas , pruning

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