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Pruning hydrangeas: When and how is the pruning of panicle hydrangea and Co. in the garden and in the pot?

Whether in a pot for the terrace or balcony or as an ornamental shrub in the garden: hydrangeas are true classics . Nevertheless, for most amateur gardeners, the question arises as to whether or not hydrangeas should be pruned. Basically, the ornamental plant can tolerate pruning well, as long as it is done at the right time. It also matters how you prune the plant.

Pruning hydrangeas: When should pruning be done?

Hydrangea when to cut in the spring in February

Most varieties of hydrangea, such as the climbing hydrangea and the cottage hydrangea, begin flowering in the previous year. In the months of December – March, the plants of the flower buds are easily recognizable. This greatly facilitates the maintenance pruning, which is done directly above the new buds.

The right time for this maintenance pruning is therefore spring. Then the old shoots without flower buds can be removed.

Hydrangea cutting when and how is correct cutting technique

The pruning technique at a glance:

  • Older shrubs are given a rejuvenation pruning. This involves cutting off the old shoots without buds up to 15 – 20 cm above the ground. Such severe pruning is permitted by law only until the beginning of March. From March 1 to September 30, radical pruning is prohibited, because during this period many birds nest in this country. The shrubs and the hedges provide nesting sites, food and safety for them.

how deep cut hydrangeas tips and why hydrangeas do not bloom

  • Young shrubs are pruned very carefully. Basically, they are thinned out only a little, dead parts of the plant are removed. Care is always taken to cut above the new flower buds. The young plants are also sensitive to frost. So it happens that individual branches freeze in winter. These can be quickly identified by their yellow color and must also be removed. Scrape the bark of the affected parts of the plant and check whether the shoots are green or yellowed.

Save frost-bitten hydrangeas by pruning them with care

panicle hydrangeas strong pruning in February when allowed


Hydrangeas are sensitive to frost and can freeze to some extent in late fall and winter. However, frost damage also occurs in the spring because the new shoots and leaves cannot withstand subzero temperatures. Experienced amateur gardeners can estimate the frost damage quite well and immediately recognize whether the branches are affected. Beginners can be guided by the color of the shoots – brown shoots need to be cut off.

Why do my hydrangeas not bloom?

In the summer and autumn, you suddenly notice that the hydrangea does not form flowers. Very often it is due to the fact that when pruning removed not only the old, but also the new flower buds.

Pruning panicle hydrangea: Heavy pruning is required

Panicle hydrangea cutting in spring proper care tips (1)

Unlike the other hydrangeas, the panicle hydrangea requires heavy pruning in the spring. This is because it does not form its flower buds until spring. If all shoots are cut back close to the ground in the spring, the plant will actually sprout more vigorously. However, leave at least one pair of eyes so that it can still form flowers this year.

Panicle hydrangea is characterized by very strong growth, so it must be thinned out every two-three years. For this purpose, in the spring, the shoots that are down and get very little light, are removed.

The panicle hydrangea, as long as the weather permits, can also be cut in the fall after the end of flowering. But you need to choose the appropriate time very carefully, otherwise the plant may freeze.

By the way, the same pruning rules apply to the snowball hydrangea.

Pruning hydrangeas in pots

Hydrangeas in pot cut and care patio plants


Hydrangeas in pots are actually also either a peasant hydrangea or a plate hydrangea. The same rules apply here: Cut above the new flower buds. However, only the yellowed umbels are removed. Pruning is not an option for the potted plant, it will recover poorly or not at all. Pruning can also be omitted for annual plants.

When to prune climbing hydrangeas?

Hydrangea cutting in spring proper care for long flowering period

Unlike the other hydrangea species, climbing hydrangeas are pruned immediately after the end of the flowering period.

What you should keep in mind for a nurturing pruning

Hydrangeas after the flowering period cut off care

There are a few things you should keep in mind when performing a maintenance pruning:

  • Wear gardening gloves.Hydrangeas are mildly toxic plants and can cause allergies or skin irritation if touched.
  • Use sharp pruning shears. Try to make as clean a cut as possible so the plant can heal faster and better.
  • Only prune hydrangeas once a year. It is best to prune the plants in the spring.

Pruning Hydrangeas: Proper care after pruning

Hydrangea pruning and care in spring for long flowering period

You want to make the hydrangeas bloom? Then you should care for them properly after cutting in the spring.

  • Fertilize. Provide hydrangeas in the garden with special hydrangea fertilizer to promote growth and extend the blooming period later.
  • Hydrangeas in pots should not be allowed outdoors until after the Ice Saints. Then you can also fertilize them.
  • Cover the freshly cut plants with fleece or brushwood to protect them from night frost.