Hydrangea pruning! When is the best time? When is the correct time?
I promise to make this easy once and for all.
You can grow and sell plants just like this and people will go
crazy over them. Getting started is easy. Start right now!
Hydrangeas are confusing, to say the least, but in this article, I am going to set the record straight and simplify your gardening life. For the most part, Hydrangeas fall into two categories.
Those that flower on new wood, and those that flower on old wood. Simple enough right? Not really. Then to make matters worse there are those that bloom on old wood and new wood.
Hydrangea Endless Summer is one that blooms on both old wood and new wood. It blooms all summer long.
The Nikko Blue Hydrangea is in the macrophylla family of hydrangeas and for the most part, but not always, Macrophylla Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. So what does that mean?
What is old wood and what is new wood? And should I care? No, I really don’t think you should care. It’s just too confusing to keep it all straight. But for the record, I’ll show you some old wood and some new wood and explain why the gardening community makes such a big deal out this.
Look to the bottom left of the above photo. See where I made the cut to remove this branch from the plant? I made my cut into old wood. Then if you follow along from where I made that cut over to the bottom right of the photo you’ll see where the new growth starts.
That’s the beginning of the new wood. Notice how it’s light green in color? It’s also softer and more pliable because it’s new growth from the current growing season. As the season progresses and we get closer to winter this new growth begins to harden off so it’s durable enough to withstand the winter weather.
I should note, just for the record, that I took this photo on July 2nd. The old wood that you see in the photo was from last years growing season. The new wood, of course, is from this year’s growing season. Why does it matter? I’m glad you asked.
Some hydrangeas, many in the macrophylla family, start producing flower buds this summer for the following year. So if you prune your hydrangea too severely late in the season you are likely to cut off many if not all of the flower buds for next year.
Same thing with Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and some other plants. So ideally you should prune them right after they bloom then leave them alone. However, with Hydrangeas, that’s not easy to do because the new varieties like Endless Summer can bloom well into the fall. Hmmmmm. That’s a problem.
Now lets talk about those other Hydrangeas. The ones that don’t bloom on old wood.
Members of the Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens families are Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood only. So what does that mean?
When these hydrangeas start growing in the spring they grow like crazy, putting on all kinds of new growth until early or mid-summer. Then the plant stops growing and immediately starts making flower buds right on the end of the new branches that it just produced.
In the above photo, you can see the new growth, then right at the end of that new growth, the flower bud is formed. Is that a good thing?
It is indeed because that means that no matter what kind of crazy pruning your spouse did to the plant last fall, this type of hydrangea is very forgiving and will bloom in spite of any excessive pruning it may have received.
No winter damage. This is a huge benefit because this type of hydrangea does not carry any flower buds into the winter that need to survive all the way through winter into summer of the following year.
That also means that a late frost that completely wipes out the plant in the mid to late spring will not hamper its ability to flower. As soon as the plant bounces back from that late frost damage it’s off to the races with new growth, then flowers.
The macrophylla hydrangeas are not that forgiving. If they receive heavy freeze or frost damage you might not see any blooms at all the following season. Or if you do, it will be near the end of the summer before you see them.
So all of these different scenarios make the “when do I prune my hydrangea” question really hard to answer.
Those that flower on new wood can be trimmed really hard in the fall or early spring and they’ll still bloom. Those that bloom on old wood really shouldn’t be pruned hard in the fall and not at all in the spring.
Still confused? Yeah, me too.
When I set out to write this article I thought this was going to be easy to explain. It’s not. It’s really, really confusing because now all of sudden we have new varieties of hydrangea that like to bloom on new wood and old wood.
So here it is. This is the answer in a nut shell.
If your hydrangeas need pruning, prune them right after they finish blooming. Doesn’t really matter what flavor they are. Prune them right after they bloom.
I noticed when trying to get these photos that even those that bloom on old wood send those blooms from deep within the plant. So unless you are cutting your plants back really hard, you should still leave plenty of flower buds for next year.
It’s really the only window of time that you have. If you wait any longer you are sure to cut off flower buds for next year.
Now, with that said. If you know for sure that your Hydrangea is from the paniculata or arborescens families of Hydrangeas you can prune really hard late in the fall or early in the spring and you’ll be fine.
But if you’re not sure, just get in the habit of pruning them right after they are done blooming.
Boy, I hope this helps.
You can grow and sell plants just like this and people will go crazy over them. Getting started is easy. Start right now!
I have just transplanted some hydrangeas in May that were rooted last year and they are growing like crazy in their new pots. I am wondering if I should prune them back now, or should I let them continue to grow through this season?
Tall lanky plants are best pruned as soon as they need it. They’ll fill out nicely by fall.
Valerie M says
Mike I want to thank you for all the advice you give it has been helpful especially on Hydrangeas.
You are welcome!
Janice Hirtz says
Mike, I have had an Endless Summer Hydrangea for at least 4 years. Last year I had one pink bloom that lasted quite a while. This year again, one pink bloom. I live in Missouri. Do you have any idea what I can do to get the rest of the bush to bloom. I’m thinking of digging it up for poor performance. The plant looks very healthy.
You can put aluminum sulfate around it in the spring to change the blooms to blue, do not fertilize it and make sure it’s getting sunlight. If it’s truly endless summer it should bloom.
I transplanted a hydrangea from a neighbors yard before they moved–early summer before it bloomed. Now with the Ohio weather (Warren OH) being so hot and dry. Besides watering it how can I be sure it will survive. It is blooming now. Do not know what type of hydrangea it is, even tho I bought it for my neighbor……………………. This is the first hydrangea I have ever had and losing a plant always always makes me feel extremely badly…………………..
Just keep it cool and watered as needed. Shade it too. That’s really all you can do.
Funny I just did my endless summer lace-top ones yesterday! They never before bloomed this long in Ga but moved them to shady area in late winter and noticed they are blooming so much longer this summer! Got a tool couple yrs ago that works like extended scissors on Amazon, the Corona LR 3460 Long Reach Cut ‘n’ Hold Pruner, that makes cutting these and daylily heads off so much easier!
Do wish it would work better on the thicker stalks on the cannas and roses though… but on daylillies and huge “mopheads” they definitely work and helps save my back 🙂
If you know of anything that extends and works on thicker stalks like roses and canna lilly, plmk.
Linda Pepin says
Hi Mike, I have a hydrangea that blooms on new growth. When do I take cuttings from it to propagate? Thanks.
Mid summer or even late winter should be fine.
My hydrangea dies back to the ground each fall. In the spring it grows a new plant about three to three and a half feet tall and then blooms. Obviously then, it blooms on new wood. I would like to separate the plants, divide them, to plant elsewhere. Any tips on how to do that successfully?
Because some Hydrangeas, macrophyllas, have very fibrous roots and can be divided but I’d do it when dormant, after Thanksgiving.
Hey Mike, I took a bunch of cuttings off of a big leaf hydrangea I was pruning and I put them in a growing medium in some 3” peat pots and put those in a plastic clear tote and covered the tote with plastic wrap to help keep high humidity. It’s worked so well that I have roots coming out of the stem even up past a set of nodes that are 2-3 inches above the rooting soil on some of the cuttings (meaning some of my roots are 4 or 5 inches above the soil surface). Does this mean when I plant them later that I need to plant them up past the new roots that aren’t in the soil? For the ones that have roots above a set of leaves, should I snip the upper portion of the stem off above those leaves and plant that section as well (essentially getting 2 plants for 1 cutting). I hope this makes sense. It’s crazy seeing all those roots out exposed to the humid air like that.
Not sure that I’d plant them deep like that unless there are significant roots that far up the stem. And yes, you can try pruning some to increase the number of plants.
Marilyn Swanson says
I have 2 hydrangeas in mostly shade. Only 1 bloom so far. will they ever bloom?
Mostly shade is probably the problem, they do need some sunlight.
I have a hydrangea that my Dad gave me before he passed away. (2013) It has never bloomed since. It gets very big, is in the sun most of the day. One year, a few years ago, it was covered in blooms but a late snow killed them all and I haven’t seen any blooms since.
Not much you can do but wait, eventually it will bloom. Nikko Blue is not a great bloomer.
Barbara L Dyjak says
I have an hydrangea that produces lots of lush leaves, and nothing else, for years. It was a one season bloomer. I’m tempted to dig it up and replace it, unless there is any hope for it. It is in sun until around 3 pm, or so. Is that bad? I live in east central NJ.
Happily, I bought a more productive version a couple of years ago, and it actually bloomed this year! It gets sun until just after noon. Gratifying, finally.
I would replace it with one that is a predictable bloomer. Endless summer, all summer beauty, forever pink.
Tom Surlas says
I like the full blown info. Well covered. My Hydrangeas get cut back every year at the end of the season , usually after their flowers have gone from white to pink to tan.. Temps are in low 30s at night, already had frost and looks like they’re beginning to tan but the leaves still look ALIVE. I’ll play it by ear and evaluate day by day with the caution of the Guesstherman. Thanks
You’re welcome Tom.
Can I prune my “Blue Bunny” Hydrangea now? It’;s gotten so big?What about “Penny Mac?”
You can, now is better than spring for those varieties.
Incredibly informative. Thanks Mike!
Thank you so very much for your help. from Shirley Ward Henrico VA
Shelly Higgins says
I have a wild honeysuckle vine growing within my hydrangea do I need to get it out? Will it kill it?
Yes, by all means remove it, or at least cut off at the ground so it dies.
I received a hydrangea for Mother’s Day. I transplanted it to a larger pot because I was having new siding put on my house & didn’t want it trampled. When is the best time to transplant a hydrangea from a pot to soil?? If spring is the best time, do I keep it inside over the winter? I live in Southern Indiana. Thanks for your help!
I’d plant it right now, that will give it chance to root in before winter.
My daughter has a “blue” Hydranga like 9n your photos. She rooted a cutting for me which I put in a pot until it got a,little larger. My cutting bloomed this year with the prettiest “pink” bloom I have seen. I know the soil has something to do with the color. She is rooting more so just maybe I will be able to have a blue one also. How do I get it to stay blue?
In the spring just sprinkle some aluminum sulfate around the plant. You can get it at a garden center.
Yvonne Schoen says
My Endless Summer Hy. I can’t get any blooms on them. They are in a hosta bed with some sun. Do they need more sun? and when they do get sun it is afternoon.
I’d say it needs more sun, my Endless Summer Hyrdrangeas bloom like crazy, as do my All Summer Beauty and Forever Pink.
I would like to know if i should not clip the old wood back if no new buds produce and if yes how mulch ( joke) much. thank you , yours respectfully ,frank.
Sure, just cut them back to where there is growth. We’re doing that today in the nursery.
Grace McDuff says
Mike, I have a climbing hydrangea. I have had it about 4 or 5 years now, and the growth was very slow, but last year it really took off, and just about doubled it’s size, and this year I have about 2 or 3 white “flat shaped” flowers on it. It is on a garden seat trellis (metal). It is planted on the East side of the house, and gets sun quite a lot of the day. I think I am just going to let it grow and climb all over the trellis. It doesn’t seem to need any pruning. Is this okay? I would certainly love to see more flowers, but am thrilled after this length of time to see at least two!
Grace, that sounds fine to me.
Yvonne Schoen says
Grace, I live in Wisconsin and have had my climbing Hyd. for 20 years. It’s on the east side growing up my deck. the more you trim them the thick they get, you can even trim them to the ground.
You can let them run on the ground and let them get “runners” and you can start a new one.
I live in the heart of Texas. I have found if I plant the Hydrangea where the morning sun shines on it and its shaded from the hot, hot afternoon sun it will survive….
NOTHING much survives the Texas pm sunshine unless its native to the climate….
Thanks Diane, great information for those in really hot climates.
Betty Wnite says
Hi Mike. Thank you for sharing all your good advice for those who love plants but don’t know too much about them. Our house has been here a couple years…..built new and landscaped by a local Yard Man. He put a little tree on the west side of the street, right in front of my kitchen window. I think he called it weeping Jade………..and it has puzzled me every year. It is a strange shape with little branches growing in a rather uncoordinated way, (maybe that is normal)
the first year, it was leafed out in summer, and lost it’s leaves in fall leaving lots of little “berries” The next spring it leafed out pretty well and looked like an ordinary tree with green leaves. Last spring it developed so many blossoms, you couldn’t see any leaves! It was so gorgeous. After the blooms left, the green tree carried on through the summer, looking a little anemic to me. There were berries on the tree in the fall. This spring the small tree has greened up nicely, but has only about three blossoms. I did notice when there were only berries on the tree, the birds were coming for lunch. It was good to see them.
I am curious for further information about the tree…..hoping I gave you the proper name. Thank you
Sound to me like Red Jade Weeping Crabapple. With a bit of pruning that can be really, really nice. Like all old crabapple varieties it probably gets apple scab that knocks the leaves off early. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=263924&isprofile=0&
Susi Downs says
I have a question about a Smoke Tree I have been growing for like 2 years. The original shoot is not growing but it is growing an offshoot that is growing well. Will this affect the way the tree grows or how strong it will be.
Also I have two dwarf peach trees that are about ready to be torn down. They produce peaches but none are edible and none seem to go to full size. They are about 9 years now and we have gotten no good fruit.
I will say that this year my japanese maples are kicking butt. They seem to have grown a lot this year. I have 2 in pots and one in the ground.. The one in the ground usually gets sunburned when the weather heats up but because of the rain we have had in NC they are doing good. I am proud of them. I would like to grow some from starter branches but for some reason starting plants from stems does not work for me. I won’;t give up though. LOL I also have lilac bushes that I keep trying on to.
Thank you for listening.
If you trim that smoke bush it should fill out nicely. Try one of these methods for your cuttings. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/01/easy-summertime-plant-propagation-techniques-can-home/
I have a rhododendron that was here when we moved in 11 yrs, ago that is mostly woody with very few flowers (about 2 on the whole bush this year). I have trimmed it every year after it stops budding. Is it okay to trim the bush all the way back to see what happens? Someone told me that’s the only way to save it and I hesitate to do that.. Your reply would be very much appreciated. Thanks. Love your blogs.
If you are going to prune the Rhododendron really hard, do so after Thanksgiving. Also consider moving it a place where the soil is nice and dry, they don’t like wet feet or soggy soil.
Marsha Torello-LaVere says
Mike when can I take cuttings off my pussy willows to start the new trees?
June or December. Try and June method first. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/01/easy-summertime-plant-propagation-techniques-can-home/
I have Annabells in my front yard and I cut them down to about 9″ last fall. They’re not sprouting green leave and not growing much taller. I think I screwed the pooch. I think I needed to only trim these to shape and size.
However I only trimmed my Oakleafs and Lady in Reds out back and those are thriving. Note to self: prime less. Right?
Those Annabells should have responded nicely to a hard pruning. I trim mine that way every year.
I bought starters of Annabelle’s in the summer last year in zone 4 Montana and planted them in mostly shade. It is now the end of March and in full sun I have my other perrenials blooming, but I don’t see any new growth coming up on my Annabelle’s. What month should I see new growth? Thanks so much!!!
Being in the shade, especially in zone 4, I would expect them to be a bit later. I’d give them some time, even another month before you deem them a loss.
Bonnie Gholston says
Mike-My goodness, you have a lot of comments on your Website!!! I just wanted to let you know that I have been asking for the past month about whether to prune my Hydrangeas back, or not. I have gotten so many answers, none of which I felt were correct. After reading your articles, I was sold! I know “you” have it down pat and I agree totally with what you were trying to tell us all!! Thanks!! Miss Bonnie in N.E. Mississippi
Thank you Miss Bonnie, right now, late November, we are trimming all of our hydrangeas back quite hard and I did the same at home.
I have 6 hydrangeas that all have bloomed. However, I have one red one that has never bloomed.; the leaves on this one look like others that are mopheads. I have another one that bloomed the first year after planting it, but it only had a couple of blooms (it was shaped like a mophead and had bright pink petals that were trimmed in white and very pretty). I can’t remember the names of either, but probably have the tags somewhere.. Should I try transplanting them next spring to see if they will do better somewhere else? If they bloom on old wood and do not make it through the winter or if we have a late freeze in the spring, then how do I protect them during the winter?. I have been putting mulch around them for the winter and put styrofoam cones over them to protect them last winter (I am in southern Indiana). Thank you for your reply.
I’m not sure that you can protect them. You can try, but when it gets down way below zero that kind of cold permeates all. I say just do what you are doing and hope for a mild winter.
I often refer to your site from over here in Europe. I live in a USDA zone 9 equivalent, and just bought a home whose garden is resplendent with pink mopheads. I would like to pot some of them for the (north facing) terrace, but they are huge plants with well-established roots and massive stems. Can I safely do a root trim and put them in super-sized pots, or is this a recipe for disaster? If it’s feasible, when would be the best time? Thanks again for your fabulous website!
You can dig and root prune them but the ideal time would be from late fall/early winter to late winter, while the plants are dormant. Hydrangeas have a fairly fibrous root system which makes doing this all the more safe. But still, I’d wait for the plant to be completely dormant. It’s like doing surgery on a human being. Traumatizing, even deadly if you were awake. But when you are heavily sedated (dormant) surgeries can be safely done. It’s the same for plants. Cut their roots while they are asleep.
Nancy Sadowski says
I forgot to tell you I live in central NJ
Nancy Sadowski says
Thank you for all your help with my hydrangeas. It is 10/20/15 and we had a freeze. My hydrangeas now have frozen leaves sporadically throughout shrub. Should I trim off or leave alone?
I teach people not to tinker with their plants. The plants know what to do, we just have to leave them alone to do what they know how to do. It seems early for a true hard freeze, even in New Jersey so those might not even be ready to come off just yet. I’d just completely ignore the plants until mid May and then look to see if you have dead branches, branches with no new growth, after winter. You can remove only the dead wood at that time. Or not, the plant will engulf the dead wood with new growth and hopefully plenty of flowers and eventually the dead wood comes off on it’s own.
Nancy Sadowski says
Is it possible to save hibiscus trees after being in pots all summer. They bloomed beautifully all summer but we purchase new ones every spring. Can I plant them after cutting down? They are each about 4ft tall and still beautiful. I live in central NJ, Burlington County. Thanks for any input
I don’t see why not, just remove them from the pot, disturb the roots around the outside of the root ball so they quickly establish in the soil once planted and they should be fine.
Jamie Magee says
It is late summer here in Mississippi and the deer have ate my plants within in 12 inches of the ground. Should I go ahead and prune them now since they look horrible or wait till winter? Also any good suggestions to keep this from happening again?
Nancy Saowski says
I live in central n.j. I have three beautiful mop hydrangeas that are full of blooms! I didn’t prune at all last spring or fall. Now with the blooms there are a lot of old wood stems sticking out of shrub. Should I do anything with these sticks?
Those old stems are winter damage and can or should be cut off.
Thanks. My 3 plants did well this season. Can you pls help me and guide me with how, when, and what I should prune this fall or spring!
Best article ever…hands down. Thank you!
Karen Frick says
I had no blooms on my 3 white lace caps last year so I just left the bushes as is cause if figured I pruned at wrong time. Now in April I have some leaves coming only from the bottom with 2 foot high leggy dried looking stalks. Do I cut all those off now or just leave them? Thanks
Just cut off the dry stocks. If you don’t get blooms this year don’t worry about it, it could be from the winter damage. With Hydrangeas you just have to be patient, they know what to do when mother nature will allow them to do it.
Karen Frick says
Thanks Mike……we did have a rather cold winter here in the deep south! :/ I’ll try to be patient!
I have 3 macrophylla hydrangeas that I planted on the north side of my house several years ago. Unfortunately, they are all too close to the house. One is in so much shade that it only gets about a foot tall. (I actually planted 4, but one never even grew a little bit.) So I am moving them into my flowerbed on the east side. I have the holes dug. I’ve been waiting for them to go dormant. One had flowers this year and they just died off. It’s gotten cold enough at night that the leaves are turning dark and starting to droop. Do I have to wait for them to fall off or can I go ahead? Do I need to prune them down any before I dig them up? I’m not a very experienced gardener and I have to admit that I’m scared of what I’m doing. I have a compost/fertilizer mix that I got at our local feed mill that I plan to mix into the dirt when I plant them. I have landscaping fabric that I was going to put right around the base of the plant. I also have shredded bark mulch and straw which I thought maybe I should put both of onto the fabric. If I do all of this, do you think they will be OK? I love hydrangeas–I have 3 others that do fine which I have never done anything to but some pruning.
I forgot to mention that I live in PA, Zone 5.
Thank you so much for all your gardening tips. Many have helped me lots!
I live in Georgia, it’s April 21, 2014 and my hydrangeas are still just dried stalks. However, green leaves are growing at the base of the plants. Will they flower at some point this season or did this years very cold winter kill all of them? Last year they were beautiful! Will I have to wait until next year to see flowers again.
At this point it’s difficult to say for sure, but there’s a good chance that we won’t see blooms this year on many varieties due to the severe winter. At this point I wouldn’t prune any dead out, even though those sticks probably are dead.
Mike, can you please answer Ruth’s question below? Thanks!
I’m a new hydrangea planter and I love the flower it’s one of my favorites so I decided to finally plant one in my planter. I mixed acid soil with Miracle Grow Moisture Control,was that a bad idea? I have no clue!
It’s in a sunny area.
sounds to me like your hydrangea should do fine as is.
I really enjoy your helpful articles you send on your emails. Thank you for those I know it is time consuming for you but you don;t know how much you help people like me. So thank you so much.
I’m limited as to what I can do due to my MS.I do enjoy trying to have some flowers even though I don;t really know what I’m doing half the time.. Ha. So I will keep reading your helpful emails and maybe I can be more productive this year.. Thanks again to you and your wife for all your great help.Happy gardening to you.
Tricia Kruger says
Mike, thanks for all your wonderful inisght. I am a subscriber to your Backyard Growers Program but a procrastinator. So far I haven’t done anything to get started until now when you presented the idea of hydrangeas. I love them and have tried for many years to propagate those that I have but without much success. In this piece you talk about making cuttings from existing hydrangeas but what if you don’t know the names of the varieties that you’re working with. I understand your point about Endless Summer so no need to go there again.
Martina Goff says
Did not get around to pruning Hydrangaes after they finished blooming- full of old dried blossoms –
When & how do I “deadhead” them?
Just prune them as needed and they’ll be fine. Waiting is never a good idea.
Hi Mike, I have an oak-leaf hydrangea in my front yard that’s been neglected for around 8 years now and I’ve just inherited them for
up-keeping. First of all, this bush is HUGE! I really don’t know where to start on it, don’t want to stress it or kill it, but I know it’s got to be pruned. Can you give me some tips? This bush is 7’tall and 4’wide at least, and that is the smallest estimate of its size. It bloomed last year and has already bloomed this season. The blooms are huge, and they are covering the entire bush, so I know it’s healthy. Also, I’d like to root this plant and make more. Can you guide me there? Thank you for all your info and help!
Root it now using the softwood at the tips of the branches. cuttings only 5″ long like this; http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Pruning? You can prune it a lot now and probably not hurt it. But if you really, really want to cut it back wait until after Thanksgiving, then you can cut it back all you want them and it should come back next spring beautiful.
Hi Mike, I live in Canada and my hydrangea is now 3 years old. However every year it starts all over again from the ground up and never gets any bigger. This year I left the old dead looking twigs to see if anything every grows on them and so far no. All the growth is coming again from the bottom up. I do usually get about 2 blooms and then the next year it starts all over again. Please tell me what I am doing wrong. Thanks
I don’t think you are doing anything wrong, it’s just variety that you have. Buy a couple of Endless Summer Hydrangea. You’ll love them.
So I live in Central Texas and have a very shaded area with irrigation where I planted four hydrangeas last year. I am not sure of the variety:( So, two of the four just have leaves, no flowers. One has five blooms on it but it’s very small and so are the blooms, think miniature. One has old wood with no new growth at all. I am thinking it didn’t make it. It’s been a dream of mine to have hydrangeas even though I live in Texas. I recently learned that the Oak Leaf Hydrangea does well in my zone so I will be trying that next. Back to my four “babies”…. Is it normal for hydrangea bushes to be small at first and grow as the years go on? Or is this as good as it gets in my zone:( any advice?
I live in Ohio and my Blue and Red Hydrangeas certainly don’t thrive. They struggle, they freeze back, it’s challenging. The big white snowball hydrangeas like P.G. and Annabelle do really well because they are vigorous growers and they make their flower buds just weeks before they bloom. So the flower buds really aren’t subjected to crazy weather. They’re only exposed to the weather for a few weeks right before the bloom. Downside is they are white or pinkish white, not striking reds or blues. Endless summer has more color and does well for me and it blooms pretty much all summer.
sunflower acres says
Great information Mike. Thank you. I have a good size Pee Gee Hydrangea that blooms every year, and last year the branches were really drooping from the weight of the blooms. I just read your article that said to prune anytime you have pruners in your hand (before reading this one). There are tiny buds on the hardwood branches and luckily I only pruned the real long branches. I am one of those ‘afraid to prune’ gardeners. In this case it seems that is a good thing for this plant, right? Will these branches root in water or soil?
Larry Maloney says
To be clear, are you saying prune all the branches EXCEPT those with flowers on them (Nikko Blue)?
Am I pruning to shape the hydrangea, or cutting it to the ground? Nurseries have said to cut the old growth to the ground.
Thinking back to the entire summer season last year, I had trouble with my Macrophylla Hydrangea dying off on me. Three or four shoots, at a time, would wilt and die off then two or three weeks later three or four more would die. This went on all summer until finally by the end half of the bush was gone. Any thoughts on what might have caused this and how to prevent it this summer? I did add some aluminum hydrate early in the season to encourage blue coloring but stopped and what few flowers I had still bloomed pink.
I’m stumped. Hydrangea like more water than most plants and a little shade helps. I’d be asking about fertilizer, but you don’t mention adding fertilizer which is much better than over fertilization.
Mike, when is the best time to root hygrandeas? That is in South Georgia. Thank you for all your information. I love hearing from you.
In south Georgia can you can probably start taking cuttings around mid may using this http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Delpha Whitefield says
If I prune my mom’s hydrangea (not sure what kind it is), can I root the cuttings? Is there a special way to root them?
Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!
Delpha, you can but I think they’d work best during the summer. But you can try them now just like I did the potentilla.
Brenda Rogers says
My pink/blue hydrangeas bloomed beautifully this summer. They are at a stand still now and the bloom heads are dying? Do I cut these heads off as they looks terrible? Thank you
I think they bloom pink in alkaline soil and blue in acid soil. Same plant. Some bloom white. Some will only bloom in one color
How do you make them come out Pink, not blue?
len smith says
I have 5 hydraneas , all endless summer, I cut 4 back heavy in the late fall and one I did not. I did this to see what wouldd work best for them but I got no growth on the old wood at all.Everything came from the new growth ,only problem is I only got a couple of small blooms on some plants . Do you think I did something wrong or will they still flower ? Thanks
Thanks Mike, I will try that.
Ana maria says
Thanks for the clarity. I read your article last year, and as I didn’t know what kind my hydrangea was, I just pruned some of the branches and left others alone. This year they are all in bloom, so I keep the doubt of what kind it is… But this year I’ll prune them all as soon as the flowers get brown and hope to have again flowers next year. Thanks again.
I’ve got 3 of same variety, all planted on east side in full sun between a low deck and concrete driveway in a 20 inch wide garden, shade after noon, amended sandy soil, 200 yards off of Lake Eufaula in Oklahoma. They’re all 4 years old, about 30 to 36 inches tall. Troughs around each are full of old rusty nails to achieve blue color, otherwise they’re white. I get plenty of blue flowers on two of them, but within a week to ten days some flowers turn brown and appear to be dieing while others turn a greenish white. The third plant seems to be in serious trouble as it had new growth this year only on 5 branches. The remaining dozen or so branches all dried up. We’ve had 100+ degree weather for the past two weeks or more, extreme humidity. Being in the forest, there is really nowhere I can get full sun all day even though the house is in a large clearing. I’m not much of a gardener, and trying to keep up with weeding, leaves, and pests is becoming a full time job.
Am I just fighting a bad area for them?
I bought a hydrangea and set it out, in it’s container, where I was going to plant it. I forgot about it! It’s terribly hot here and it all but died. It’s still green on the stems, but leaves are all gone. Is everything lost??? Thanks!
As long as the stems are still green, it show your plant still alive. Just keep water it. You will see the new leaves soon..! Good luck.
I have a hydrangea which I started from a cutting from my Mother’s plant; so I have no idea what varity it is . My problem is not the blooms but the leaves.
Im late spring the leaves get browns spots which eventualy cover the entire leaf and it dies off.
Can you give me any help in solving this problem
Mike, I think more sunlight and or more air circulation will help. It sounds like you have fungus issues on the leaves. Not serious. It happens.
Carol Johnson says
I really enjoyed this info. Now I know why one of mine didnt bloom this year. I cut it back too much. Thanks
Giovanni Santelli says
What about climbing hydrangea, like the petiolaris, when is the right time to prune? I live in southern Italy, mediterranean climate and my climbing hydrangea 7 years old is blooming poorly, just a couple of flowers per year.
Giovanni, I’d still prune right after the plant blooms. If it’s not blooming well try root pruning during the winter and some pruning to stimulate the plant.
I Planted 9 limelights last year and they are blooming beautiful this summer. Last year I ahd some pest that is white and makes webs and jumps very fast. How do I kill it. I almost lost all of them because they were getting very anemic, this year so far so good, but I can’t inspect 9 bushes all year. I think they may have come from the nursery like that. What do I do if I notice the leaves getting pale again? I have fed them with Miracle Grow twice this season.
Georgina, I’d use a general insecticde but only if you have a problem with the insects again.
I have a niko blue, which has bloomed 2 times in about 6 years. I was told not to cut back the branches in fall as that is where the bloom buds are, but they never even leaf out in spring and so really detract from the bush. The bush grows out from the bottom and looks nice otherwise. I covered the bush this past winter but still nothing on the old wood. any suggestions what to do to get some blooms?
Mary, Nikko blue blooms on old wood which means that the flower buds can easily get damaged over the winter. Prune as you see fit, right after they would normally just be done blooming.
I have a Blue Lace Cap and the new growth comes from the center of the plant. I have seen buds on the old wood but they have never got any leaves on that part of the plant and usually, the winter kills them off and then in spring, I cut them off because the look so bad. I have waited but nothing ever grows on the stems from the year before, the new leaves always comes up in the center of the plant. So……………………………
All you can do is wait and up for a milder winter. Add a couple of Endless Summer hydrangeas to your yard, they’ll bloom for you nicely no matter what the winter.
Juanita Maggard says
My two hydrangeas have never bloomed for me since I bought them from Aldi’s. One had pink blooms and the other blue blooms, but never bloomed again in 4 years. They have beautiful foliage on bushes that come out in from the ground each spring. They die back to the ground in winter. What do I do to get them to bloom?
You can try a bloom booster fertilizer. Sooner or later they’ll bloom if the flower buds ever make it through the winter. Other varieties bloom much easier.
Thanks for that advice. I transplanted 2 of our hydrangea about a month ago. They are blooming from new growth. Now I know the variety and when to prune. I planted one close to the house under the shade and the other away from the house in the sun. We will see next year how they compare. Right now the one in the shade is doing much better. I took notes from your article and put the notes in my “plant” file for future reference.
Just an unrelated note. Our Monkey Grass is spreading like wild fire. I pulled some of it up and put into cutoff milk cartons with holes stabbed in the bottom. I sold 8 containers of them in my yard sales for .50 cents each. So, I made $4.00 from something I was going to throw out. Next is my Wondering Jew. 🙂
Mohannad M. says
It helps a lot.
Pat Hight says
ok, but what is oak leaf hydrangea and does this pruning info apply to it. i would like to make starts.
Larman Self says
Not all the dead wood produces leaves or blooms, Is it ok when the plants are blooming to cut the dead wood that does not have any leaves at all.
Absolutely! It makes the plants look so much better and won’t harm them at all.
Whoops, I forgot about the Lady in Red Lacecap Hydrangea, it will bloom in full deep shade.
Yes, the PeeGee Hydrangea likes a lot of sun to bloom but the Annabelle is the only Hydrangea that will tolerate shade. I have some growing in full shade AND in full sun here in Pittsburgh. The ones in full sun get larger and bloom more but they will do fine in shade. The Mopheads need at least part sun and the Panicles like Limelight or Tardiva like full sun. If you can’t get your Mophead to bloom you can check the PH or take a shovel into the dirt around your Hydrangea and “pretend” to dig it up. This will sometimes stimulate blooming. Also in the spring, check for buds, they may have been eaten by deer or groundhogs and of course then they will not bloom.
Thanks for the article, Mike. I have Endless Summer and they were beautiful up until the fall. I just cut the blooms and dried them for the winter. This spring – I had lots of dried wood stalks. After our hard frost this early Srping, I finally cut off those dried and dead stalks. Now, I have beautiful full leaves and o blooms. Is it because of the frost do you think? Any chance I’ll get a bloom by the end of summer on my endless summer?
Susan, yes the late frost did the damage. You did fine and I think you can still expect some blooms this year.
June Lee says
I wonder if I must get down into the base of my endless summer blushing bride plants. There are many stems in the base that might crowd out growth. Is that necessary?
No, I never do that. I just let them take a natural coarse. Plants know what to do on their own. They don’t need us meddling all the time.
I have a question about my honeysuckle vine.
When it blooms in the spring it is beautiful. Imediately after blooming it starts to die. A dusty look to the leaves until they all drop off. It looks awful and this has happened for the last five years. I sprayed it & even treated it w/an systemic insecticide. Nothing helped. I have decided to cut it down. I don’t think there is any hope for it anymore. Any thoughts?
Arlene, sounds like powdery mildew to me. A good hard pruning in the fall will thin it out. You can treat for powdery mildew, but normally I don’t. Powdery mildew is humidty driven, some years are worse than others. The is a fungal issue not an insect issue.
Carolyn Spivey says
Mike I had powdery mildew this pass year. I did some studying on it, I found out if u put of all things, cornmeal. Small garden cornmeal from store; if large garden cornmeal for livestock. Thanks
Richard Holt says
Mike, I’m losing trees, bushes this summer because of heat stress, lack of water here in s.e. Illinois. Would trimming the branches back on my bradford pears or hard maples help these trees or bushes survive the drought?
Richard, I don’t honestly know. I’m afraid it would cause more stress. Try and water the roots if you can.
Trevor McPherson says
Hi to all of u dirt diggers.
I live in Melbourne Australia for 74 years i was interested in the replies from many gardeners regarding looking after hydrangers.
My experience in pruning these cretters is do’nt be over cautious,for the last 20 Years
at my bowls club i usually prune about 2 thirds of them in late July much to shock and awe by some of member,come Sept growth come November blooms and the members off my back.
What is the average temperature down under when you carry out this. Pruning, wonder if it woul work in UK Cornwall.
Could you explain to your reading audience how to change the color of Hydrangeas from blue to pink or pink to blue, what to use,
how much to use or the appropriate amount etc. Does over treating get a result of a deeper pink or blue? Can you make a Nikko Blue Hydrangea a deeper blue?
Also what type of Hydrangeas is best suited for this color change.
And last but not least, does planting location(which side of the house)north,south,east or west have an effect on color change?
Do Hydrangeas come in “Purple”?
Any advice you could share would be very appreciated.
Thank you in advance for you time and consideration.
We look forward to reading your response.
Winn, all of that info is here: http://www.freeplants.com/hydrangeas.htm
I love the article on pruning hydrangeas. Is there any way to print out the article so that I could save it? Thank you!
Try highlighting his article (hold down left mouse clicker and drag to end). Go to FILE and click on print. In your print screen, tell it to print selected. This may print every thing. But, if your lucky, it will print your highlighted print only. Good Luck.
Wow! I’ve gotten your planting emails for two years. And this one was the first one I opened. Newly retired I feel like this can now be a hobby. I have a hydrangea pushed between an above ground swimming pool and shed in a patch of dirt not more than 3′ x 6′ and honestly just plopped it in the ground – growing like a champ! Keep sending your emails. It sure has caught my eye!!
Thanks Mike for all the wonderful insight in all of your articles and videos
I’ve got 2 hydrangea mophead varieties I started from cuttings 3 seasons ago from a neighbors gorgeous Plant (about 6 feet tall and full of blooms) During dry spells my plants wilt horribly but come back with watering. Sometimes too late and some of the leaves curl up and dry out. Although it comes back every spring the blooms are sporadic and rather anemic looking.They get good morning sun and dappled sun throughout the day How can I improve their growth? Thanks for any advice
Jeff, I’d prune the plants to make them nice and full and fertilize with something organic like milorganite.
mike,this is not abounthydranges,but about my rohdodendrems. I planted them last fall, they have not grown, and have not bloomed. what is wrong
Carolyn, Rhododendrons do like wet heavy soil. They like the soil almost dry, but they do need water. But when you water the excess water must drain away. They also need oxygen to their roots so make sure they are not planted too deep and the top of the root ball is covered with mulch and very little soil. Do not fertlize them. The like to be planted in soil that is high in decomposed organic matter.
Sherry Gale says
Thanks Mike! A couple of years ago, I took cuttings in the early spring around the bottom of the plant, and left the pots around the mother plant and watered like crazy. Mother plants bloomed like crazy but the cuttings didn’t bloom until the second year, but they were beautiful!
Hi I have 2 hydrangeas growing close together however one of them has kind of anaemic leaves.meaning veins are dark green but rest of it is lighter.Is it ok or I should give some special feed to it?
Just give it some Miracle Gro and see if that makes a difference.
Joe (UK) says
Bought a new hydrangea this year for the first time and is in full flower. However the flowers seem to flop over in the rain and the stems holding the flowers look quite thin. Do they need to be staked each year or perhaps have I bought a plant that may have been forced in a greenhouse?
Joe, it’s not unusual for rain to pull down hydrangea blooms. It is possible that the plant was forced as well. I don’t think I’d do anything for now unless you want to stake up the blooms, then just see what next year brings.
Karen Kuckreja says
RE: the article on pruning Hydrangeas, What a fine explanation! I really appreciate your clarity. Thank you so much.
I purchased an “all summer beauty” hydrangea from a reputable nursery May 1. Shortly after planting the leaves started turning rust color on the edges and now they have died. There are small new leaves emerging on the wood. Is there a chance that I will have bloomms next summer?
Carolyn, as long as you have new growth that’s a good sign and I’m pretty sure All Summer Beauty will make flowers next year on the new wood.
Tim Landers says
We have hydrangeas of all type and they are blooming like crazy in the sun ,shade,acid soid,alkalye soil it doesn’t seem to matter.
Thanks to you, Mike, I finally (after 4 years)have flowers on my hydrangeas. In previous years, I have cut them to the ground because I didn’t like to look at the stalks throughout the winter. Last year, I decided to take your advice and leave them alone. Wow – they are gorgeous today !! Thanks so much and keep the articles coming.
Elizabeth Smith says
Thank you Mike, I went out to look and i have a Hydrangea Paniculata-Arborescens. The Blooms are on the end of the wood only. It is full of White Blooms. It doesn’t turn a color..
This is a old plant too.
I enjoy all your video’s and i just wish i was young enough to do your program.. Thank you so much.
Karen Renne says
Hi Mike…After looking at the pictures above I realize my hydrangea blooms on old wood. Apparently the early frost destroyed the buds as there were just dried out sticks poking out of the rest of the green leaves. They also had dried out buds on the sticks. I cut these way down to the ground because they looked so bad, therefore, no flowers as of yet. Will they grow back and give me flowers next year?
Karen, yes you should have flowers next year as long as the flower buds make it through the winter okay. I know that doesn’t sound overly optimistic but I think you should be fine. Each and every year it’s us and the plants with or against Mother Nature. Some years are incredible, others frustrating. But we just keep on doing what we do because we should.
U-u-u-ugh….Mike this is the 5th year I have been frustrated with this darn flowerLESS hydrangea…It is such a pretty flowerless bush with very nice leaves so I will give it one more year or it’s history!!!??????
Probably Nikko Blue Hydrangea, either replace it or plant some that will flower, like All Summer Beauty or Forever Pink. Both bloom well for me and are often available in our members area for really cheap, http://backyardgrowers.com/join. Soon I am going to post photos of an awesome hydrangea that I need to identify. This thing is like a flowering machine! And prettier than words can describe.
Bill Lawler says
If you live in Mobile, Alabama your hydrangeas need some shade. Annabella not as much as the mop head. Mop head will not grow in full sun here.
What about the acid to make them change color?
This is what you are asking about http://www.freeplants.com/hydrangeas.htm
Thanks so much for this info! I had hydrangeas about 25 years ago, pruned them severely after they bloomed and they died the next year. Haven’t been brave enough to try again. Now I will!
I have the Annabelle and it get the flower heads but does not fully flower. What do you think? It is planted on the north but gets full sun until 2-3 in the PM. I have used Muracid; do you think it is not enough sun?
Interesting article, but I’ve always liked to leave old blooms for winter interest, and then I prune in early spring. It’s worked for me..You can see where to prune because there’s new growth. My hydrangea is a lacecap, that’s all I know.
Joan Albertson says
I have 2 Hydrangea bushes that we inherited when we moved into our home.
We live in central Florida and in the 2 years we have lived here, I can’t figure out when the seasons change!
I’m used to living up in Maryland so this is a whole new experience.
What month would I prune?
Joan, I think I’d prune in late October.
Mike my hydrangea was planted this year..in June its called Pinky Winky hardy Hydrangea. I googled it and it is nothing like any in your article. Its my first try at hydrangeas . I love them can you tell me if the care of it is so much different than the ones in todays article.
Thank you for all you do
Jo, Pinky Winky is one of the newer varieties and should flower all summer which means you can prune it at the end of summer.
Thank you so much for this article! I have been trying to find a decent article on this for ages! Because I one time pruned one of mine and didn’t get flowers the entire next year so obviously I cut the wrong wood. I now have 2. They are both in beautiful bloom right now. One of them was just a “throwaway” desk plant that someone was given and gave to me. I stuck it in a larger pot with good soil and feed a little and it’s now about 3 feet tall and the biggest flower is the size of a medium (round) watermelon). I am going to need to repot when it’s the right time into a larger pot.
Lilly, you can really shift plants from one pot to another any time, but fall would be the ideal time.
cheryl lynch says
Thanks, Mike. That sounds easy enough. But what about climbing hydrangeas? Mine look great climbing a fence, but not a bloom in over 7 years. Not alot of sun, is that the problem?
I enjoy all you tips and information. I read every time you send out a mailing. I did however not get what I needed to know about the Endless Summer Hydrangea plant. I read what you wrote about the Hydrangea but still did not understand what to do with my Endless Summer ones. Please be more specific.
Jan, Endless Summer blooms on both new wood and old wood. So if yours needs pruned I’d prune it at the end of summer. Just don’t cut it back really hard unless you have to.
…Or DON’T prune your hydrangeas at all. Maybe take off the dead flowers if you don’t like them, or if the wind doesn’t take them first, but otherwise it’s not really necessary. Trim out the dead wood when you notice it but otherwise forget this obsession with cutting – LEAVE THEM ALONE and they’ll most likely be beautiful year after year!
Robert Berger says
Mike, My Hydrangea’s bloom like crazy every year. However when it rains, they bend over to the ground and don’t recover when dried out. The stems seem weak compared to others in my neighborhood. I’ve tried several methods of supporting them, but no success. They’re just weak stemed.
Robert, it could be the variety. Some tend to fall over more easily than others. It is the nature of the beast.
I have black spots on my leaves again this year. I sprayed an anti-fungal (blue liquid) last year. What do you suggest and how often do I need to apply? I live in Savannah high humidity and we have had a good bit of rain too.
I am going to try to prune my the right way this year too!
Cindi, if there’s anyway you can improve air circulation within the plant that will help and don’t water them at night. You don’t want them going to bed with wet hair.
Mike.. My Hydrangea’s bloom on New Wood and are cut back ‘to the ground’ every fall..and just get larger and more beautiful every summer! I have seen the ‘Nikko Blues’ in my local supermarket sold as indoor potted plants..is it possible to grow them outdoors, or being greenhouse raised, they are not able to withstand the climates outdoors ? Are they a different variety ?
I planed my hydrangea 4 years ago. First I didn’t know that I pruned it so badly.
It is still alive until now, it looks so heatlhy with a lot of new branches every year. It produces one or two flowers every year. The size of the flowers is okay, but the height of the bush never passed 30 cm.
Originally I think it’s a normal size 70-80 cm. I planted it in a full sun location.
Lisa, all plants are pretty simple. Give them good soil and enough water but not too much water and ample sunlight and they will grow exactly as they are supposed to grow. If that’s as tall as yours gets, that’s what it’s supposed to do. Plants are also individuals and not every one will act like the others. That’s how we get new introductions into the plant world.
sharon connor says
prune after bloom we elders have to make it easy..
mary ann says
Hi Mike!! i am looking for spikenard,lilic, and some basil-cinnomon. sorry this is not about hydrangeas. I’ll take seeds, or plants. I enjoy your news help !!!!!!!
Mary Ann, see if anybody near you has what you need. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/category/backyard-nurseries/
Teresa Mealer says
I know nothing about flowers! Before I move here, my Hydrangea was very beautiful and full of blooms each year.
After I moved here, I’m lucky if one or two blooms come on it.
Now I’m legally blind, so I cannot see your pictures properly to tell where to prune them.
Can I bring it back to a beautiful state?
Teresa, if your hydrangea is planted in good soil and kept watered when dry it will find it’s own way back. That’s what plants do. If they are growing under the right conditions they grow vigorously.
Wayne Stewart says
what is the best way to root hydrangea and when. i have tried but no luck
Wayne, do them right now with this http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Janet Hebdon says
Easiest way I’ve found is to just set a brick on a lower branch and it will soon put out roots. Then just cut it off from the plant and pot.
Roslyn Parsons says
last year i bought three hydrangea plant one is blooming beautifully, one is big and green
no buds, one is very small, but blooming.
can you tell me what the problem could be?
Roslyn, just give them time. Keep them watered as needed. The flower buds may have been damaged over the winter and only time can fix that. My endless summer are just starting to make new buds right now.
I have a beautiful hydrangea that I have had about 6 yrs, it gets little sun also and took about 3 yrs to bloom. I started using holly tone product and love it. I use that on all acid loving plants. Very good product.just sharing
Were do you find the product you use for fertilizing?
Good Morning Mike, Thank You for the nice summary on pruning. MANY years ago when I worked at a wholesale nursery I decided to prune ALL of my flowering shrubs less than a month AFTER flowering, IF I did not get to it then I would wait for following year to prune OR know that most or all of next years blooms were going to be gone after late pruning. Your description of different hydrangeas really helped. Keep up the GREAT postings
Jeff N says
Have not gotten any flowers yet this season. What kind of fertilizer should I be using? I don’t even see a hint of buds so afraid will not be seeing any flowers.
One question, my area has a large population of rabbits. Is it possible they are eating the flower buds? Do they eat rose buds? Thanks for such a great site and sharing so much excellent information…
Jeff, if you fertilize at all use something that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous. Nitrogen causes lots of growth which slows flower production. Good soil, plenty of water as needed and patience.
C.Mc Grath says
A good informative article.
Fran Smith says
Boy that was a mouthful! I’ll have to be more careful at pruning mine. This really got me to thinking about them.
Val Prest says
This article is a cut above the ordinary. I have been wondering about my several kinds of Hydrangeas, especially “Endless Summer”. Now I know. Thanks.
Barbara Lowrie says
I have three hydrangeas and none of them has bloomed since I planted them. They look healthy but no flowers. Two get some sun but not much and the other one gets half sun. Any suggestions?
Barbara, the PG hydrangea and Annabelle really need sun. Those are the ones with white blooms. The others need sun, but will tolerate some shade. Just let them grow. They’ll find they’re way eventually. Flower production is a sequence of events that happens naturally when the growing conditions are right.
Janet Hebdon says
If you got frost late in the season it could affect the new buds and not bloom that year.
I had a late frost and have only 1 blossom; but lots of green leaves for next year.
James Morgan says
We had a Hydrangea that we had given up on and it seemed that the place where it was planted was not suitable. So, we dug it up and moved it…and again….and again. Finally over the last two years it loves its home and is shade most of the day. It has grown and blooms realy good. Since then I planted two more that receive full sun and they have bloomed good this first year. They finally have put on new growth. I think sometimes it just takes patience and good soil.
I’ve found that when I transplant hydrangeas, it takes a season or two for it to bloom again. I’ve also noticed that this year, every hydrangea I’ve seen is bursting with beauty…maybe the mild winter?
Libby, if you do transplant them make sure you only do so when dormant. A mild winter is always good news to a hydrangea.
I have a Blue Bunny hydrangea that did practically nothing for 2 years. I finally replanted it this year to a shaded area in July & it took off almost immediately! (too much sun I believe) I’m just now getting the first flowers on it since I planted it 2 years ago & it is actually growing. I guess this would be the exception to the rule of only planting when dormant??
Mark Fredrick Cleveland, MEDINA,Ohio says
liquid fertilizer weekly in growing season:April to sept1. Miracle grow?bloom booster 15-30-15.or thereabouts. AND ALUMINUM sulphate IF you want BLUE! dont disturb the roots when weeding, etc.