Now that we are in mid-season, it’s time to prune your big leaf and mountain hydrangeas for the last time this season. 


Does your plant look like this where the new growth from this season is hiding the flowers?

Hydrangea flowers in mid-season are hidden by new growth

Hydrangea flowers in mid-season are hidden by new growth


If you want to reveal those flowers, now is the time to cut those stems back (the second part of July hydrangea care). A reminder: anytime you cut your plant you will stimulate it, so do this cutting by about August 1. You might even want to take those cuttings and root them for more plants.

This is what my plant looked like after removing some top growth:

Hydrangea after mid-season pinch pruning

Hydrangea after mid-season pinch pruning


In addition to improving the look of your plant, hydrangea pruning mid-season means cutting your plant now to help it make more flowers for next year (“pinching”). You simply remove the growing tip  just above where you see two leaf nodes.

Cut hydrangea stems just above where you see emerging growth

Cut hydrangea stems just above where you see emerging growth


This forces the plant’s growth hormones into those two nodes which will become stems that can produce flowers going forward. The below photo shows a stem that I “pinched.” I got two flowers instead of just one, the desired result.

Mountain Hydrangea that was "pinch pruned" last year

Hydrangea flowers on stem that was pinched the prior year



I have an in-person hydrangea class at the New York Botanical Garden in August. We spend 2 hours in the classroom and the third hour walking through the garden where we “connect the dots.” You’ll see what the various plants look like in a garden setting, and we discuss a variety of maintenance activities for these beauties.

I am also booking Zoom/virtual talks as well as in person presentations. If your organization wants to discuss these possibilities, use the “Contact Me” tab on my site.


Lastly, if you want to read about the recent Mt. Cuba Hydrangea arborescens trial, you can read my article in the current edition of Connecticut Gardener (a subscriber only publication). That edition also has an article I wrote about garden phlox, a late season perennial that adds great color to a garden. 


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