How to prune hydrangeas

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Hydrangeas are a distinctive plant, with huge flower heads which come in shapes from balls to cones. Planting different types can ensure you have blooms from April through to October – with colours ranging from pink to blue to red.

The most commonly seen hydrangeas in gardens such as mopheads and lacecaps, with large rounded heads which bloom in summer and autumn.

Many have lovely looking leaves come autumn, and climbing hydrangeas flower in summer and are well suited for covering north and east-facing walls.

Hydrangeas thrive in moist, well-drained soil and dappled shade – not too sunny and not too shady.

You should make sure to water the plant well before planting, and plant in spring or autumn.

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The soil can be too wet or frozen in the winter or too dry to plant in the summer.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) you need to make your planting hole as deep as the rootball and three times wide.

Regularly water and try and keep the soil damp to see hydrangeas at their best.

Hydrangeas also need to be pruned or deadheaded regularly – depending on the plant type.

How to prune hydrangeas

Hydrangea macrophylla (lacecap and mophead hydrangeas) and Hydrangea serrata should be pruned mid-spring, as they produce their flowers on old wood.

Gardeners World advises not pruning back hard or else you risk losing this summer’s flowers.

So, cut back the flowerhead to above the top set of plump buds which are forming under the dead flower head.

When it comes to deadheading mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, the RHS advises wait until mid-spring before cutting back the stems.

Cut back to the first or second strong healthy pair of buds down from the faded bloom.

Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens should be pruned in early spring before shrubs begin to grow.

While you don’t need to regular prune these types, annual pruning of last year’s growth encourages larger flowers.

The climbing variant hydrangea, Hydrangea petiolaris should be pruned in summer after it has flowered.

Cut back the flowered shoots to a pair of new buds.

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