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madonnaswimmer
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hydrangea mistake

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We forgot to cut down our hydrangeas last fall, and now the stalks that are left are starting to grow leaves. What should we do? Should we attempt to cut them back now or is it too late?

luis_pr
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Re: hydrangea mistake

I do not cut mine as they have plenty of space to grow and that removes one chore out of my "to do list". If there was a reaon for pruning them then the answer is... it depends on what kind of hydrangeas they are. Do you know? There are hydrangea macrophyllas, arborescens, asperas, serratas, paniculatas, quercifolias (aka, oakleaf) and others.

Macrophyllas, asperas, oakleafs, serratas, they all produce invisible flower buds in July-August. If you prune those types of hydrangeas now, you will effectively be cutting off this year's blooms because the majority of the buds are at the end of the stems. But if they are rebloomers, yes, you will only be cutting off early Spring blooms and you will still get bloomage later on, probably around June-July 2014.

I would let macrophyllas, asperas, oakleafs, serratas bloom, enjoy the blooms and then prune at the end of June 2014.

The ones that produce blooms in the Spring are arborescens and paniculatas. I am not sure those (if yours are those) have gotten to the point of producing flower buds yet (the leaves fully develop before the flower buds do). If so, you can prune them now.

Luis

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rainbowgardener
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Re: hydrangea mistake

yeah, hydrangeas really don't need much pruning. I don't really prune mine, just cut dead stuff out.
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madonnaswimmer
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Re: hydrangea mistake

Really? My grandmother always taught me to cut them all the way to the ground. She cuts hers down bare every year.

I don't know what kind they are. They were here when we moved in in december 2012.

What would happen if I did cut them down now?

Lab_Man
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Re: hydrangea mistake

Like the others have said, it depends......

If your hydrangea blooms on new stems, then you would not be cutting off flower buds.
If your hydrangea blooms on last years flower buds then your would be cutting off flower buds.
If it blooms on last year or this years stems then it will bloom later and you'd be cutting off the early blooms.

luis_pr
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Re: hydrangea mistake

Some people like to "cut them to the ground regularly". That helps if the shrub gets too big for its location but then it becomes a regular, annual gardenning chore. So far, I prefer to place them where they will be able to attain their size at maturity without any help from me. But I admit, I have seen some hydrangeas that I would be tempted to get even if I have to prune them because I know the locations would be too tight in my long growing season. So far though, I have good and kept myself under control when I start drooling at large plants.... :lol:

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madonnaswimmer
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Re: hydrangea mistake

Lab_Man wrote:Like the others have said, it depends......

If your hydrangea blooms on new stems, then you would not be cutting off flower buds.
If your hydrangea blooms on last years flower buds then your would be cutting off flower buds.
If it blooms on last year or this years stems then it will bloom later and you'd be cutting off the early blooms.
Ok got it, I think. (please forgive me!)

So, considering that we cut it to the ground in fall 2012, and summer 2013 it grew great with gorgeous white flowers... then we are probably looking at a hydrangea that blooms on new stems, right? Which should mean I am OK to cut it back?

Honestly, I am most concerned about the long-term health of the plant, even if that means I don't get any blooms this year.

Thank you all so much for helping!

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madonnaswimmer
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Re: hydrangea mistake

luis_pr wrote:Some people like to "cut them to the ground regularly". That helps if the shrub gets too big for its location but then it becomes a regular, annual gardenning chore. So far, I prefer to place them where they will be able to attain their size at maturity without any help from me. But I admit, I have seen some hydrangeas that I would be tempted to get even if I have to prune them because I know the locations would be too tight in my long growing season. So far though, I have good and kept myself under control when I start drooling at large plants.... :lol:

Well, I *think* mine is adequately spaced. It just seems to be very sparse this year as compared to last, because I think it is trying to fill out the stalks still standing, rather than making new ones. Hope that makes sense.

NatureHillsNursery
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Re: hydrangea mistake

It would help to know what variety you have and how far along it is…but you probably don't have to worry about it. I know people who cut their Hydrangeas back, but I have one that I never touch (except to remove the dead stuff), and it does fine year-after-year.



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