There are hydrangeas galore in 2024, the best flowering season I can ever remember (and that takes in more than 20 years!). Anywhere you drive, you will see them in all their glory. Hydrangea hysteria is over – at least for now.


If your hydrangea isn’t doing well, you have a couple of choices. First know that it is not a weather issue in colder U.S. geographies that caused your plant to fail. Mother Nature gave us plenty of rain, a mild winter, and no fluctuating temps in the spring once the plants broke dormancy. So that means it’s something you are doing that needs to be fixed. It could be soil, light, drainage, moisture, and above all your pruning practices. Not to mention maybe some critter sampling your plant. So closely examine your situation and if you still come up empty, you may want to consider taking up golf instead of gardening – just a joke!


Early July is the best time to tackle the last of your seasonal hydrangea chores. First up is cutting back some of the excess growth. You are probably noticing that the growth this season on your big leaf and mountain hydrangeas has begun to hide those gorgeous flowers. Maybe your plant looks like my Hydrangea serrata ‘Tuff Stuff ™ Red’ that I propagated 2 years ago.

Hydrangea serrata before mid-season pruning

Hydrangea serrata before mid-season pruning with all the new growth that hides the flowers.


If so, be brave and give it a haircut. Take some of the tall stems and cut them down. You can propagate new plants from them quite easily (which is where this plant came from) which I wrote about in this post.

Look for a place on the stem where you see 2 side shoots beginning to emerge. That’s where new stems will grow so make your cut there.

Hydrangea mid-season pruning: Where to cut

Hydrangea mid-season pruning: Where to cut



The next thing you might want to do with those flowerless stems that are on your plant is “pinch prune” them. In this case, you remove the growing tip right above a pair of leaves which will force the plant’s hormones down into the stem. That stem that you just cut will now branch and if we are lucky again next year, you’ll get 2 flowers instead of one. It’s the best thing you can do for more flowers unless you have a working magic wand. This can be done with all your “old wood” hydrangeas including oak leaf and climbing varieties. Check out this earlier post where I cover that process in detail.

The last thing to do in July is fertilize your big leaf and mountain hydrangeas that are rebloomers. They need that extra oomph this season to keep the flowers coming. Again, an earlier post details that activity and repeats some of the info from the other posts already referenced above.



Audience listening to speaker

Audience listening to speaker

I’ll be back at the Greenwich Botanical Center (GBC) this month on July 25. This time I'll be talking about roses, the most popular shrub in the U.S. and another of my favorites. The event is called “Roses and Rosé.” Here is the link with all the info. This late day discussion starts at 5 p.m. Come and mingle with other rose lovers, along with some rosé and “light bites” while we talk about today’s roses. Tell/bring your friends!


Thanks for reading!

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