Midwest Garden Guys

Hydrangea Trimming & Care!

SCOTT: Hey Mike, you stopped over just in time to watch me whop these hydrangeas down.
MIKE: Scott!!! Stop right there… SCOTT!
SCOTT: It’s okay Mike, these are not French hydrangeas. They’re Quick-Fire Panicle Hydrangeas.
MIKE: Ohh good! I was worried for a… wait a second! Mr. Fourth Year Rookie Gardener, you’re not going to whop anything. It’s called pruning, and they’re Panicle? Might you mean Paniculata, a woody ornamental hydrangea?

French Hydrangea

SCOTT: It’s that confusing time of year for every hydrangea gardener. And no, Mike, Panicles are from a grower that claims they are the most reliable blooming, low maintenance, hardy hydrangea you can grow. Mine have yet to disappoint. So, which do I prune in the fall and which right after the blooms die?
MIKE: Please do us all a favor and make sure that our readers find a way to ask “Someone Who Knows” the difference between the Paniculata (Woody Ornamental) and a Macrophylla (French) hydrangea. 
SCOTT: Got it… The French Hydrangeas, mopheads if you like, need to be pruned right after the bloom is spent. Do not trim down in the fall as new buds have set during the late summer/fall months for next year’s burst of color.
MIKE: WOAH!!! Danger Will Robinson! You ARE listening to your own podcast!
SCOTT: Now my Oakleaf and Paniculatas (Bobos, Limelights, Quick Fires) I can trim off during the winter or early spring as blooms set in the springtime.
MIKE: And, as for your first attempt at pruning, I’m going to recommend you take NO MORE than one-third of the entire area away at one time. For example, if your hydrangea is six feet high (six divided by three = two feet) take no more than two feet away. 
SCOTT: Also, I have learned that the shade loving French Hydrangeas actually need like four hours of direct sun! That’s new information for me.
MIKE: Yes, but it’s morning sun they want. Any direct afternoon sunlight will dry them out. The morning sun is needed for the blooms to get huge. Thus, if you have small blooms, it may be planted in the wrong location.


SCOTT: Considering it’s close to fall now, should I use a certain type of fertilizer? Mainly to help the blooms early next spring, or should I wait?
MIKE: Although we cannot protect our hydrangeas from the midwest spring weather, we can give the plants the nutrient base needed to help insure they bloom. I would recommend using nutrients that promote blossom and nutrient intake! It wouldn’t hurt to apply a blooming agent called phosphorous now and one more application after Halloween. I would also recommend applying any organic fertilizer that contains mycorrhizae. This will add an increased amount of nutrient uptake in the plant. Ensuring that your hydrangeas have enough of the essential nutrients is necessary for a welcome bloom for next season. 
SCOTT: Alright, that sounds like a good start to fall clean up.
MIKE: Cleanup? Fall? That’s another article for an upcoming Sylvania Advantage edition.
SCOTT: Until then… green thumbs up!

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