This is a followup to our previous blog about hydrangeas. Every year I am asked this same question from clients or neighbors of clients; "Should I cut my hydrangeas back?" Many people are under the impression that blue Mophead Hydrangeas should never be pruned, even when there are no viable buds present. If the canes on your blue Hydrangeas have not leafed out by now, then they are dead and need to be pruned back to some sign of life. Sorry, they will not come back to life, unless you have a variety named 'Lazarus'!
Many of the canes can be pruned to the ground if there are no leaves on them, but if they have leaves, simply prune them back to the first set of healthy leaves. For clarification, we are speaking of hydrangea macrophylla commonly known as blue Mophead Hydrangea. This is where there is much confusion because there are several types of hydrangeas and they are pruned differently depending on whether they bloom on old growth or new growth. It is important to keep track of the types of hydrangeas you have in order to prune them properly. Our next blog on hydrangeas will address the different categories of hydrangeas and how to prune them.