Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

March 18, 2014

Hydrangea pruning method depends on variety



Many newer varieties of these type hydrangeas, like “Endless Summer” (Blue), and “Glowing Embers” (Dark Pink) bloom the color they start out as. The older varieties are the ones that bloom bluer when adding sulfur, and pinker when adding ag lime.
Another commonly planted hydrangea (especially in the eastern U.S.) is Hydrangea paniculata, also called panicle hydrangeas. Panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) is the most cold hardy member of the genus. It can be reliably grown in USDA cold-hardiness zones 4 to 7. Native to Asia, it grows 10 to 15 feet tall. Large creamy-white flowers, which are borne in 6- to 18-inch long panicles, are produced in mid-summer. 
As flowers mature, they may turn pink. Panicle hydrangeas can be lightly pruned to maintain an ideal shape, particularly those of the cultivar ‘Grandiflora’ (’Pee Gee’), are sometime pruned into a tree form and grown as a specimen plant. Panicle hydrangea is also suitable for use in a mixed border or as a deciduous hedge. The pruning method also will vary depending upon the cultivar being grown. 
A newer variety Little Lime™ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Jane’) is a newer dwarf version of Limelight, but reaching a mature size of only 3 to 5 feet.  Obviously, it requires much less pruning to maintain a compact form. We have a larger woody cultivar toward the back of the garden called Pinky Winky™. This cultivar matures at about 6 to 8 feet tall. 
It responds very well to hard pruning. Cutting it back by one-third to one-half will encourage larger flower production. All panicle varieties are best pruned in early spring, as they bloom on new wood.
The last main type of hydrangeas belongs to the species Hydrangea arborescens. These are often called smooth hydrangeas, or wild hydrangeas, because the plant is native to the southern U.S., including parts of Oklahoma. Smooth hydrangeas also are known as “Annabelle,” which is actually a cultivar of Hydrangea arborescens. 

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