When to Prune Hydrangeas

Some hydrangeas are pruned in the fall, some in early spring and some not at all. How am I to know which variety my hydrangea is and when it is supposed to be pruned or not?   Proven-Winners has the simple answer. 

Of the 49 species of hydrangeas, four are native to America, and only six types generally grown in our gardens. Those that produce flower buds on old wood are

  • bigleaf (mophead and lacecap)
  • oakleaf
  • climbing
  • mountain

    New-wood bloomers include

  • panicle(PG or peegee) and
  • smooth (Annabelle series). 

By not pruning old wood that produces buds formed earlier this year, the hydrangeas are more apt to be protected over winter. Late freezes do not harm new-wood bloomer,  as their buds are set after all chance of a spring freeze. If buds are frozen, more will be produced.

New Proven-Winners(P-W) this year include old wood bigleaf (aka florist, mophead or lacecap) “Let’s Dance Can Do” and “Let’s Dance Do It”. Both stunning. 

New-wood introductions include Firelight Tidbit, a dwarf bush with large flower heads, and Quick Fire Fab (true to its Fab name). Both are panicle or peegee, so named for the panicles(cluster of flowers) of large or grandiflora flower heads. 

There is an hydrangea for every situation, from 1-2’ to 4-6’, colors from white to magenta and almost every color in between, easy to grow, bloom seemingly forever and some repeat. They do best in moist, well-drained soil and more sun than generally given. Peegees are known for their sun tolerance. They are shallow rooted and will dry quickly. Mulch helps retain water. 


You know that hydrangeas likes water, but did you know that ‘hydra’ refers to the seed capsules that resemble ancient Greek water-carrier vessels?

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