Hello, I just purchased a house I have been renting for a while and need to begin caring for the landscaping. The front of my house has two hydrangeas growing in small flower beds. They produce lots of blooms that tend to weigh the brush down making it bend to the ground and away from the house. This year they began to lay almost flat against the sidewalk. In an act of desperation I cut about 30% of the bloom off in the hopes I could lighten the weight enough that the bushes could spring back up. This worked slightly but they now look sparse and they seemed to have some permanent posture issues. I don't want to do any damage to them. How should I prune the bushes so that they can support the weight of their bloom, Remain full and healthy and keep them small enough to stay in the small flower bed. Is this possible? I have attached a few images so you can see what they currently look like. Thank you, Katie
It looks like you have what is called a bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). There are several different types of hydrangeas and the best timing for pruning varies by type. The bigleaf hydrangeas produce flowers on second-year stems (with the exception of the 'Endless Summer' cultivar, which will flower on first-year stems). It is best to prune this type in the spring. You can remove any very thin or old shoots by cutting them back to ground level in the spring. If you want to do a complete renewal of overgrown plants to control their height, you can cut the plants to the ground in the spring when they are still dormant. Keep in mind, though, that with a severe renewal pruning, you will not have flowers for one year. You will get new growth and the overall height will be reduced, but you will have to wait until the following year for flowers.
You can find additional information in our guide to pruning hydrangeas: