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How to prune hydrangeas

How to prune hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are plants of Asian and American origin, very popular for centuries in Italian gardens; the most widespread species is hydrangea macrophylla, which produces large inflorescences throughout the summer season made up of tiny sterile flowers, pink, lilac, blue, white or red in color. These plants bloom every year on the branches of the previous year, for this reason it is advisable to avoid the drastic autumn pruning, which can remove most of the future flowering buds; at the same time it is good to avoid significant pruning even in spring, when the plants already have enlarged buds, and are preparing the flowers and new branches. The pruning of hydrangeas is generally done by shortening the oldest and most twisted branches by about two thirds, and leaving the young and vigorous branches untouched, because they often already carry a flowering bud at their peak in autumn. Vigorous pruning is not recommended.

How to prune hydrangeas and when


The pruning of hydrangeas is carried out every two or three years, starting from already well developed plants, which are at least 3-4 years old. The heaviest intervention is carried out in autumn or late winter, when the plant has lost its foliage, and is preparing the new buds: any dried flowers are removed, and at least half of the very old branches, with wrinkled and dark bark, which they should be shortened by about two thirds, leaving 2-3 buds from which new branches will be produced. The branches that start from the base, young and vigorous, should be left to grow at will, because they already carry the floral buds. Shorten any weak, twisted, or weather-damaged branches, as they will tend not to bloom regularly. Excessive pruning can lead to a delay in flowering, or even to the production of many inflorescences, but small in size. Despite this danger, it is advisable to prune hydrangeas every 2-3 years, to prevent them from emptying in the lower part, or from growing in a chaotic and disordered way.

How to prune hydrangeas video


A video for hydrangea pruning can be useful, especially for those unfamiliar with these plants, or with pruning. Surely watching a video of a professional at work, or some images, helps us to better understand what are the operations to be carried out, and where it is appropriate to place the most important cuts. Hydrangeas are vigorous shrubs, which generally recover even after incorrectly or excessive pruning. Sometimes it happens to have to prune shrubs that have not been touched for many years: in these cases it is convenient to remove about two thirds of the length of each branching, in order to reduce the size of the shrub, and to make it more compact and tidy. Generally in these cases a stunted flowering is obtained, or that begins only in midsummer: in the

Errors in pruning


Most of the hydrangeas present in Italian gardens belong to the hydrangea macrophylla species, which produces flowers on the already lignified branches, produced in the previous year. Incorrect or excessive pruning can lead to smaller flowers or a delay in pruning. But in the nursery we can also find other species of hydrangea, such as hydrangea arborescens, or hydrangea paniculata, which bloom on new wood, such as roses; these shrubs are pruned at the end of winter, removing most of the old wood: shorten all the branches by about two thirds, leaving two or three large and vigorous buds, from which the new branches that will carry the flowers will be produced. In case of indecision, it is advisable to avoid pruning rather than carrying out an incorrect intervention; in any case it is always good, at the end of winter, remove all branches damaged by the weather, or broken or very weak, shortening them by about two thirds. And during flowering, it is advisable to cut the withered inflorescences, just below the flowers, in order to stimulate the plant to produce new inflorescences.

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