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Don’t Prune Hydrangeas

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Like so many gardeners, my friend Cheryl was wondering when she should prune her old-fashioned big poofy pink or blue hydrangeas, and the answer is don’t prune them! You’ll cut the flowers off because they bloom on last year’s branches! I know, you see some great gardener’s super-flowery hydrangea and you’re sure it’s something they’re doing, but actually, it’s what they’re not doing – they’re not pruning the flowers off!

Let your hydrangea completely leaf out and start blooming – if after several weeks there are still a few bare branches sticking up, then I cut those dead ones out – not before. If your hydrangea is too tall for its spot and that’s why you keep pruning it, you don’t need a pruner, you need a shovel to move that hydrangea where it can grow and flower undisturbed.

So, as I told Cheryl, I learned this the hard way myself, put down the pruners, back away slowly, then sit back and watch. You can see the proof in the picture of my blue hydrangeas in bloom.