Hello, We planted hydrangeas last year. We are new to this bush/plant. This year as it grows again there are old stalks from last year. We are just wondering if we should cut these back as the new stems are growing. We've noticed that sometimes the old stalks/stems appear dead, but are not quite dead at the end towards the ground. We are basically asking what should we do to get these ready for the new growing season? And what should we do at the end of the summer for these. One more question: We are looking to plant some perennials for a very shady area under a tree in the front yard. It does get some sun, but it is mostly shaded by the tree. Last year we planted annuals that required more sun than was available and they didn't do very well. We would like to have something that returns yearly, so hoping for a perennial instead of the annuals we planted last year. Thanks. Michelle
Depending on the variety of hydrangea you planted, care is varied. If you have dead canes in the spring and not sturdy stems, you probably planted an Annabelle. It is a great old hydrangea that will grow full sun to full shade. Leave the stems in the fall/winter. In the spring, you can trim back any part of the old stem that does not leaf out. As far as your shade, there are many shade plants that will do well in a shady area. Visit your local full service garden center and ask for help.