While the proper time is to prune your Hydrangeas right after they bloom to ensure that you have blooms next year there is a need to know how to tidy up your plants after the winter to address winter kill and old flow blooms left on the plants from last year.
Many people will leave the dried flower head on their plants after they bloom to provide visual interest over the winter months. Now that winter is coming to a close you will be looking to tidy up your plant for the coming year
You will wait until the buds on the stems begin to grow and show their green color.
These top growths are the ones that contain this year’s flower buds
In order to not remove this years flowers you do not want to cut these top buds away from the plant as you clean it up after the winter and before the plants leaves out.
You will cut out any stems that do not show green buds developing right at ground level. These branches have died for any number of reasons.
For those branches that are showing growth at the buds you will cut off the old flowerheads just above the newly developing growth identified by the green leaves forming
These top buds are the location the blooms develop for this year.
This is also the time of year that you can ensure that your blooms are the color you want. You can control the color by adjusting the pH of the soil around the plants.
Pink blooms are the result of alkaline soil and blue blooms are from soil that is acidic.
If you want to get pink blooms add a fast-acting lime to the soil around the base of the bush to achieve a 6.0 to 6.2. But be carful to not add to much because if the pH goes higher, it will begin to inhibit the plants’ ability to use nitrogen.
If you want to have blue blooms then you want to add something to acidify the soil to a pH of 5.2-5.5.