How and When to Prune Hydrangeas
February 28, 2024

Perfect for shady spots, hydrangeas are a great way to add some brightness and colour to your garden, especially if it doesn’t get much sun. Whether you opt for bold pinks, stunning blues, bright whites or other shades, there’s no doubt you’ll add impact.

To make the most of these impactful plants, you need to know the rules of pruning. In this guide we’ll talk you through when to prune hydrangeas for the best results, and how to do it.

When to Cut Back Hydrangeas

The general rule of thumb with pruning is to cut back after flowering, but hydrangeas are a little unusual in this respect as they need pruning in the spring. Give them a light pruning around mid-March for optimum floral displays. 

How to Prune Hydrangeas

When pruning hydrangeas, the most important thing to remember is not to cut them back too hard or it will reduce flowering. If you cut back too much you may end up with woody regrowth and no flowers until the following year. 

Leave as many new buds as possible and they’ll flower at the top, giving bright, attractive shows. 

If the plant gets too big and you need to cut it right back, you may end up waiting two years for flowering. To minimise this risk, try to only prune the woody shoots right back and leave any new growth so as to encourage flowering in the upcoming season. You can use both anvil and bypass secateurs for the job: anvil pruners for the older, woodier stems and bypass secateurs for the newer shoots.

Make sure you prune just above a bud rather than just below it.

If you have the quintessential rose in your garden too, find out how to prune it in another of our handy pruning guides, and see what other garden jobs to do in March to get your space looking its best in the coming seasons. For pruners, pop into your local Robert Dyas store or shop our pruning essentials online where you’ll find everything you need.