When to Prune Endless Summer Hydrangeas (Optimal Times)

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Endless summer hydrangeas are a popular choice for gardens due to their stunning blooms and long blooming seasons. Taking care of these beautiful plants may seem daunting, but with proper knowledge and technique, you’ll be able to maintain their lively appearance and ensure they continue to grace your garden with their vibrant presence.

When it comes to pruning endless summer hydrangeas, timing is essential. These hydrangeas typically bloom on both old and new wood, which makes their pruning schedule a bit different from other varieties. The best time to prune these plants is in early spring. This will allow your hydrangea to focus on producing more blooms in the next season, keeping your garden colorful and attractive.

Understanding Endless Summer Hydrangea Pruning

Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer 'Bloomstruck'
You shouldn’t remove too much old wood when pruning endless summer hydrangeas, as this can reduce the number of blooms in the upcoming season. F. D. Richards / CC BY-SA 2.0

Type of Wood: Old vs New

Endless summer hydrangeas are unique because they bloom on both old and new wood. Knowing the difference between these types is crucial for proper pruning:

  • Old wood: These are the stems that have been on the plant since the previous year. Blooms from old wood typically appear earlier in the season.
  • New wood: Refers to the current year’s growth. Blooms from new wood usually emerge later in the season.

When pruning endless summer hydrangeas, avoid removing too much old wood, as it can reduce the number of blooms in the upcoming flowering season. A proper balance between old and new wood ensures a healthy and abundant blooming season.

The Role of Blooming Cycles

Endless summer hydrangeas have a unique blooming cycle, which means they produce flowers multiple times throughout the season. To encourage a continuous bloom, consider these pruning tips:

By understanding the type of wood and the blooming cycles of your endless summer hydrangea, you can ensure proper pruning techniques for a beautiful and flourishing plant.

Optimal Pruning Times and Techniques

Pruning shears
When pruning endless summer hydrangeas, be sure to make 45-degree clean cuts with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Joe Wise, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best Season for Pruning

The ideal time for pruning your endless summer hydrangeas is in early spring, as this helps stimulate healthy growth and abundant blooming throughout the year. Pruning during this time allows your hydrangeas to develop flower buds on the current season’s growth. Avoid pruning in fall and winter, as it can interfere with bud development and reduce the number of blooms in the upcoming season.

Methods for Healthy Growth

To ensure the health of your hydrangeas, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Remove damaged or diseased branches as soon as you notice them, regardless of the time of year. This helps to prevent the spread of disease and keeps your plant healthy.
  • Eliminate crossing branches by cutting back the least vigorous or poorly placed branch. This promotes better air circulation and reduces the risk of disease.
  • To encourage new growth at the base of the plant, cut back a few of the oldest stems to the ground every spring. This technique is particularly beneficial for varieties like the Summer Crush, Twist-N-Shout, and Pop Star.

Pruning for Shape and Size

Maintaining the desired shape and size of your endless summer hydrangeas is simple if you follow these pruning steps:

  • Assess the shape of your shrub and identify any branches that appear to be out of place or causing an imbalance.
  • Using sharp pruning shears, make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a healthy bud. This encourages the growth of new branches and helps the shrub maintain a dense, full appearance.
  • For varieties like BloomStruck, focus on removing only the spent flowers and any weak or spindly growth, allowing the plant to devote more energy to vigorous growth and better blooms.

Maintaining Plant Health Post-Pruning

Vegetable garden with soaker hose setup
Implementing a soaker hose system can help to provide consistent moisture to the root zone without getting the foliage wet. Alan Levine / No copyright

Watering and Mulching

After pruning your endless summer hydrangeas, it’s essential to maintain their health. Here are some helpful tips for watering and mulching:

  • Water your hydrangeas regularly, especially during the first few weeks after pruning. Ensure they receive enough moisture.
  • Use a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system to provide consistent moisture to the root zone without wetting the foliage.
  • Apply 2 – 4 inches of organic mulch, like pine bark or shredded leaves, around the base of the plant. This helps conserve moisture and regulate soil temperature. Remember to keep the mulch a few inches away from the stems to prevent rot.

Fertilizing and Soil pH Adjustment

Proper fertilization and soil pH adjustment can promote healthy growth and vibrant blooms in your endless summer hydrangeas.

  • Fertilize your hydrangeas with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in mid-summer. Avoid excessive nitrogen as this can lead to more foliage growth and fewer blooms.
  • Test your soil’s pH level. Endless summer hydrangeas prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • To increase acidity, you can apply elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate. To decrease acidity, apply garden lime.
  • Keep in mind that soil pH also influences bloom color. More acidic soil (lower pH) will result in blue flowers, while more alkaline soil (higher pH) leads to pink flowers.

By properly watering, mulching, fertilizing, and adjusting soil pH, you’ll ensure the health of your endless summer hydrangeas after pruning. This will promote vigorous growth and beautiful blooms.

Chris G
About the author

Chris G

Pond consultant and long-time hobbyist who enjoys writing in his spare time and sharing knowledge with other passionate pond owners. Experienced with pond installation, fish stocking, water quality testing, algae control and the troubleshooting of day-to-day pond related problems.

Read more about Pond Informer.

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