Showing posts from April, 2018


Yes, it's time to prune new wood hydrangeas. Now that it is mid spring and your hydrangeas are dormant or just beginning to leaf out, this is the time to get those clippers out for some of them. When I say some, I mean those that bloom on new wood, the growth they will put on in the current season. In the late fall when they still have their leaves, wait until they are leafless and have gone completely dormant before you cut them. You can also do this pruning in winter when they are fast asleep. It is critical for pruning new wood hydrangeas that you wait until all growth has stopped in the current year. That's because pruning always stimulates a plant. If you prune while there are still leaves on that plant, it will continue to grow and possibly start producing the buds for flowers you want next year. That means in a cold winter climate those flowers might not survive and you will be the one to blame for that. Just wait it out and let the plant go into its rest cycle. Then you…

Time to prune your hydrangeas, but not all of them. Pruning hydrangeas is one of the hardest things for gardeners to grasp since it varies by species and it's not a once a year thing.
This time around, the subject is hydrangeas that flower on old wood: big leaf (hydrangea macrophylla), mountain (hydrangea serrata), oak leaf (hydrangea quercifolia), and climbing (hydrangea petiolaris). They all bloom on flowers that were produced on last year's growth. Some big leaf and mountain hydrangeas can also flower on stems that will grow this year (rebloomers). More on that in future posts.

Before you even start, however, make sure you have the right tools including some kind of disinfectant. You don't want to unknowingly spread disease as you move from plant to plant. A simple spray of rubbing alcohol (70%) from the drugstore is all you need to protect your plants.
Basic pruning rules apply to all hydrangeas. Take care of the 3Ds: dead, diseas…



Gift hydrangeas are here! Between Easter just past and Mother's Day just a few weeks away, it was inevitable that these traditional gift plants (also called florist hydrangeas) would show up. You can't avoid them in local garden centers, grocery stores, and box stores. Here in the northeast, blooming florist hydrangeas are a welcome sight as everyone is still struggling with unseasonably cold temperatures and continual lashings from snow, high winds, power outages and the like. So what should you do if you get one of these beauties?

Enjoy these hydrangeas! All dressed up in colorful, shiny pastel colors like prom queens, they have been grown to brighten your home, having been specially fed and nurtured to put on a glorious show with lots of big flowers.

To keep these gift hydrangeas happy, keep them moist but not wet. Make sure the water can drain from their paper wrappings so they don't sit in a puddle. Too much indoor heat will dry them out so be m…