Now is the optimal time to prune blooming hydrangea bushes. A few blooms may be lost in the process, but doing so now will aid in producing a healthy plant for next summer.
Walter Reeves, also known as The Georgia Gardener, writes that removing all stems that support the faded flowers on the blue and pink hydrangeas and shortening droopy, flowerless stems by one-third will help spur new growth on next summer’s blooms.
“The recent summer rains filled the leaves and roots of my hydrangeas with water, making them strong,” Reeves wrote on his Web site.
The CSRA Hydrangea Society notes that pruning hydrangeas is not necessary unless a plant is getting too large. For the most common types of hydrangeas – Mophead and Lacecaps, those which usually have pink or blue blooms, or Oakleaf hydrangeas, which have white blooms and leaves shaped like oak leaves – pruning is recommended in the summer before August.
“Some experts believe these hydrangeas may be pruned even into August, but this is ... risky. The hydrangeas may already have set their bloom buds for the next year,” Reeves wrote.
Pruning is not to be confused with removing dead blooms. Dead blooms and dead limbs can be removed at any time.
“There will be lots of new growth between now and October. Many of the resulting branches will also be able to mature and become capable of blooming next year,” Reeves wrote. “It took only 30 minutes to do the chore, but I hope to have lots of pretty flowers next May/June.”