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When can I cut back Hydrangeas?

Regina Asked

I have a large Hydrangea Bush and it has not been cut back yet. It is about 3 feet tall and is full of dead leaves and old blooms. When can I cut it back and how much?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Regina: What a sweet picture! The Hydrangea in your garden is a macrophylla or mophead hydrangea. These showy shrubs are a popular landscape plant for Kentucky gardeners. ‘Endless Summer’ is the likely most common re-blooming cultivar. It blooms on both current season growth and old wood. Pruning can be done now, before new growth begins to control size, shape and thin. These plants are pretty forgiving and can tolerate being cut back drastically but reducing the size by one-third is ideal. Removing too much can push back the flowering season. You can also thin each year to rejuvenate your plant; remove five or six of the thickest stems each season to encourage new growth. This will help keep your shrub more compact and suitable for the space it is growing in. I hope this helps.

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