This guide to fall hydrangea care will give you the best tips on how to prune hydrangeas for longterm success during the fall!
Tips for Caring for Hydrangeas During Autumn
I’ve been chatting on Instagram about hydrangea do’s and don’ts for fall so I figured it would be helpful to put that info into a quick blog post for everyone to reference back to.
In this post about caring for your hydrangeas during fall, I’m going to cover the importance of pruning your hydrangeas correctly this fall. I’m going to go into how to properly prune hydrangeas, the differences of pruning different types of hydrangeas, composting them, and how to begin prepping your hydrangeas for winter.
You might be asking what the importance of pruning hydrangeas might be. Well, pruning hydrangeas is important because if you do not, they might not bloom! So follow this guide for proper fall hydrangea care for the most beautiful blooms!
Let’s learn how to prune hydrangeas!
How to Prune Hydrangeas for Fall
Let’s get the main tip out right away: When in doubt, don’t heavily prune hydrangeas, just deadhead.
If you heavily prune your hydrangea, you risk removing the flowers for next year since many hydrangeas set their buds in the fall on old wood. There are some cases that call for a heavy prune, but that would usually take place in the spring and I highly recommend consulting with a professional before doing something drastic like that.
I will say even with a heavy prune your hydrangea WILL bloom again eventually, it might just take a year or so.
Old Wood vs. New Wood Hydrangeas When Pruning Hydrangeas
I know you’ve probably heard about old vs. new wood hydrangeas and that you should prune them differently. But that can get confusing and complicated and complicated = feeling like you’re failing sometimes, but I want you to feel confident!
My fool-proof recommendation, at least as a beginner hydrangea caretaker, is not to prune.
All I do to my hydrangeas (they are all in the macrophylla/Endless Summer family) is a quick deadhead in the fall. To prune the hydrangeas, just snip off spent blooms right below the flower head. That’s it.
You can also cut off any straggly/weak canes at the soil line and remove and dead or diseased wood. Some people do a light hydrangea prune or trim to keep the plant’s shape. As gnarly as they may look, I leave the bare sticks in my winter landscape because that’s where the beauty grows from in the spring.
If you have a very old hydrangea, you can remove entire canes in order to keep them under control and looking fresh. If you do not do this, your older hydrangeas will be okay, they’ll just produce smaller blooms. So, remove a few of the oldest canes at the soil line to get the biggest, billowiest blooms.
Compost & Winter Prep for Hydrangeas
Once you prune the hydrangea, I like to add a layer of compost around the base of the plant for a slow release of nutrients. Then, I top that off with a thicker layer of mulch to retain moisture, prevent weeds, and add a layer of protection from the cooler winter weather.
So, no need to stress over pruning! Don’t be intimidated and have confidence that with just a little care, your hydrangeas will bring you years and years of those lovely, old-fashioned blooms.
I hope this guide on how to prune hydrangeas was helpful for you! If you’ve found any other tips to winterize your hydrangeas, I’d love to hear about it!