Keeping Hydrangeas Happy


One of the most frequently asked questions by gardeners in our area is “how do you prune a hydrangea?”

That question was handled with humor and expertise by Savanah Laur, Moore County Agricultural Agent, at the March Seven Lakes Garden Club Meeting.

One big challenge in caring for your hydrangea is knowing what kind you have, especially if it came with your property. Savanah gave pointers for determining if you have a species that blooms on new wood or old wood. This distinction is the primary key to understanding how and when to prune.

There are three general categories of hydrangea: Big Leaf, Oak Leaf, and Panicle. Big Leaf and Oak Leaf bloom on old wood. These you prune after bloom. Panicle and PeeGee varieties bloom on new wood and should be pruned in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

The biggest threats to our beautiful Hydrangeas are weather, deer and timing. A hard

winter or late Spring frost can kill off your flower buds. And those pesky deer love those

first tender green buds and shoots. Remember to spray frequently in early Spring. 

The third issue is timing. Pruning at the wrong time and cutting off the buds will make for a sad season for the perennial. Like many flowering shrubs, buds are set for next year just a few short months after they bloom. If your Hydrangea blooms on old wood, there went next year’s flowers if you prune in the fall.

Another main factor to consider is the health of the soil. Soil testing is vital to growing everything for nothing can grow when deprived of nutrients. 

Savanah provided attendees with lots of information and tips on how to keep our

hydrangeas healthy and blooming beautifully.