“When is the best time to cut back my Hydrangeas?” Question from Marlene of Lapeer, Michigan
Answer: When do you prune hydrangeas? It depends entirely on the type of hydrangea you are growing. Some bloom on new wood, some bloom on old wood, and still others bloom on new and old wood. Let me break it down by common species to make it simpler.
When to Prune Different Hydrangeas
Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9): Prune these hardy, resilient hydrangeas at any time. They bloom on both new and old wood.
Mophead and Lacecap Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla varieties, zones vary): Prune these hydrangeas in midsummer just after they bloom, if pruning is needed. They flower on second-year wood. Hardiness zones vary anywhere from 5-11, and mopheads tend to die back in their most northern ranges of hardiness, so they are not the best option for colder gardens where their flowers may be frozen back each year. Please check the hardiness of any variety before planting it.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia, USDA Zones 5-9): Prune these hydrangeas in midsummer just after they bloom, if pruning is needed. They bloom on second-year wood.
Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, USDA Zones 3-8): Prune panicle hydrangeas in late winter or early spring. They bloom on new wood.
Lots of newer reblooming hydrangea varieties bloom on both new and old wood, so they can be pruned at any time. Also, keep in mind that any dead or dying stems should be cut off to keep shrubs looking clean and attractive.
I hope that this information helps!
Black Gold Horticulturist