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Hydrangea faded – What to do & whether you should cut off the dried flowers in the garden and pot.

If there is one flowering shrub of which many a person is really very proud, it is the hydrangea bush. With its splendor of flowers and at the same time quite simple care, it provides a great sense of achievement even for beginners in terms of gardening. However, with your beautiful hydrangeas, unfortunately, the flowering period is now over and you wonder what you should do now? Do you have to remove the flowers after the hydrangea has faded, or does it even make sense? We summarize the next steps so that you can do everything right until the end of the season!

Cut wilted hydrangea flowers: Yes or no?

Hydrangea faded - Cut off or leave on the plant

The shrub delights us with flowers throughout the summer (from May to September). But every now and then some of the blossoms wither and, quite apart from the fact that they don’t look particularly pretty in the midst of the beautiful blossoms, the question also arises as to whether the plant might not also benefit in general if they are removed. After all, in some flowers and shrubs, this also encourages the formation of new flowers. But is this also the case with hydrangeas? If the hydrangea fades, should you cut off the inflorescences?

To find the right answer to this question, you should find out to which pruning group your hydrangea variety belongs. In total, there are two and different rules apply to both.

Also interesting: how to properly care for your hydrangea bush!

When the hydrangea withers – rules for pruning group I.

This group includes most varieties of hydrangeas. For you, the rule is that pruning should be done only in early spring. After all, the withered inflorescences are a natural winter protection for the new buds. These are already formed in the fall of the previous year, and if they lack the protection of the withered, there is a risk that the new buds will freeze in the winter. Varieties that fall into this category are:

  • Farmer’s Hydrangea
  • Oakleaf
  • Climbing hydrangea
  • Rough hydrangea
  • Giant leaf hydrangea
  • Velvet hydrangea
  • Plate hydrangea

How is the pruning done?

Do a maintenance pruning in the spring, but do it right

Look at the old shoots with the withered flowers. On them, the new buds should already be visible. And just above them, you should also apply the pruning shears. Proceed carefully, because once you have accidentally removed new buds, you do not need to expect any more flowers on that particular branch this year. Also cut off any dead branches and shoots.

Pruning group II varieties correctly.

Encourage new flower shoots by pinching off the faded flowers

These varieties are not only less sensitive to cold, but also do not form their flower buds on the old wood in the previous year like those of the first pruning group, but only in the spring on the new shoots. This means there are no bud starts that need cold protection from faded flowers. This is where it makes sense to cut off any faded blooms from your hydrangea. On the one hand, your shrub will look much neater, and on the other (and this will surely please you), you will increase the chance of a new bloom. Hydrangea varieties with this feature are:

  • Snowball hydrangea
  • Panicle hydrangea

Cut off withered hydrangea in the summer – here’s how to do it

Some hydrangea shrubs use the wilted flowers as winter protection for the buds


If you want to cut off faded flowers from your hydrangeas, place the cut just above the next strong pair of leaves. You can also simply pry them away or clip them off with your fingernails. Whether this will result in a new flower depends mainly on the timing, that is, whether the plant still has enough time to form one. This may take until the fall. However, don’t expect a flush of blooms like during the first bloom period.

Which varieties to prune in the spring and which in the summer

However, spring pruning as in the first group of pruning is also necessary, no later than the end of February. This is because you do not need to remove the last blooms of the year. Instead, you can do that if you do the usual maintenance pruning in the spring anyway , where you remove withered and frostbitten.

The outsiders Endless Summer and Bride.

What to do when the hydrangea withers - rules on cuts depending on the group of cuts.


These two specimens are subspecies of the peasant hydrangea, yet they are exempt from the pruning rules for the first pruning group. If the hydrangea is faded, here you cut the wilted flowers in the spring, but you may also remove the first wilted flowers in the summer. In this way, after only a month and a half, you will get new shoots, which will then develop new, albeit smaller, inflorescences at the end of summer or beginning of autumn. And these will then provide the necessary protection in the winter.

Hydrangea in a pot is faded – What is the right thing to do here?

Hydrangea faded in the pot - how to care for the potted plant

Do you own a hydrangea shrub in a pot? Then, of course, the right care is also important here. What if the hydrangea is faded but not outdoors? Do the same rules apply? Usually, the varieties chosen for the pot belong to the pruning group I. In this case, you can cut off faded flowers from the hydrangea in the summer (the first ones) to encourage new ones, but leave those that faded in the fall on the bush. Then in the spring, and more specifically in March, you will do the usual pruning, removing the old inflorescences. Again, do this sparingly so as not to accidentally remove the buds that have already formed.

Hydrangea faded - Cut off the flowers and use them as decoration

What you can do with the dry flowers, we show you in this article .