Hello - We purchased Endless Summer Hydrangeas last spring. They grew and...

Asked May 12, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

Hello - We purchased Endless Summer Hydrangeas last spring. They grew and bloomed beautifully. Our landscaper informed us to cut off the blooms once done so they could grow more blooms. I am not sure if that is correct or not? I have a second question as well....our neighbor across the street also has hydrangeas but they are the green blossoms. After our first frost, I asked him if he pruned his hydrangeas and he said yes he did, 6 inches from the ground. I thought that was fine to do as well since the leaves and branches were wilted from the frost and because he did this as well. Now that we are starting to get warmer weather....I see my seedums and hostas growing but not my hydrangeas. I am fearful that I killed them. The bush is still live because I cannot break a stick off, they bend only. After reading online more about my Hydranges, I learned that hydrangeas are all different. Some you prune, some you don't. What should I do? Will it take awhile before they come back? Do they need heat? Any advice would be appreciated.

Washington County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. You are correct to realize different hydrangeas require different pruning practices. Your neighbor most likely has Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ that blooms on new spring growth, so pruning it down in the fall is fine before new growth starts in the spring. Your Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’ blooms on both old and new wood which means that in spring/early summer, it blooms on last year’s wood and then later in the summer it blooms on the new growth. You pruned it down last fall, thereby removing the old wood and the chance for blooms early this season. Most likely it will bloom in later summer on new growth that has yet to start. It may not be warm enough yet for the shrub to show new growth but hopefully, it will soon. One way to ensure winter survival is to mulch your plants in the fall after the ground freezes and then remove it towards the end of May because late spring cold snaps can injure new buds. I have read that you can remove old blooms by cutting their stems to half their length to encourage new growth and buds but I wouldn’t do that after mid summer because you don’t want the plant to use its energy on new growth as we move into fall. I haven’t grown this variety of hydrangea but it seems that if it’s blooming on old and new wood, there shouldn’t be much need to force it to bloom more. You can prune after the last bloom in the fall to control shape and height. Most hydrangeas enjoy morning sunlight with dappled afternoon shade. Hydrangeas are traditionally known as shade garden plants, but too much shade can result in reduced bloom production. Ideally they should be situated in areas of light shade to partial sun. In our climate, Endless summer does well with 6 hours of direct sun per day with some dappled shade in the afternoon. Hydrangeas are woodland plants so they prefer to be in consistently moist, well-drained, humus rich soil. A generous application of mulch will help keep the roots cool and retain moisture.