Pruning Hydrangeas

My hydrangeas are starting to get their leaves. But most of the new leaves on old wood look like they're dying immediately. The new leaves on new wood look okay. Should I prune the old wood?
Also, a few of the branches laid down on the ground and seems to have rooted into a new plant. Is it safe to relocate them at this time?
q pruning hydrangeas, flowers, gardening, hydrangea
q pruning hydrangeas, flowers, gardening, hydrangea
q pruning hydrangeas, flowers, gardening, hydrangea
q pruning hydrangeas, flowers, gardening, hydrangea
  15 answers
  • Kim Kim on Apr 05, 2015
    I moved some of mine last season and they are fine. No worries about the leaves. It should be ok - not an expert.

  • Jen300294 Jen300294 on Apr 06, 2015
    Yes prune the old wood. Now is the time of year you want to prune hydrangeas, right after the new leaves appear. In the winter when they die you want to make sure you clean up the dead leaves and blooms so you dont get fungus but dont prune them until the spring.

  • Ann Forshaw Ann Forshaw on Apr 06, 2015
    Cut all the old wood of be brutal it will grow back lovely

  • Roxy D Roxy D on Apr 06, 2015
    Yes, and yes!!

  • Cathy Cathy on Apr 06, 2015
    You must be very careful in pruning the old wood as your flowers grow on the old wood. Definitely prune anything that looks truly dead, but keep it if there are buds on it. If you over prune your could have a flowerless summer.

  • Sweet Inspirations by JP Sweet Inspirations by JP on Apr 06, 2015
    I agree with Cathy! Most hydrangeas grow new leaves on old wood and look quite woody and sparse until fully grown in. Here is a good article for you and there are many others including you tube videos on this subject. Good luck!

  • Amy Amy on Apr 06, 2015
    The cold snap we had is the reason for the dying leaves. You will not get flowers this year if you cut back all the dead wood. Leave it alone and see how it does. Mine new leaves got bit by the cold but there are now buds appearing on the dead looking stalks.

  • Carolyn S. Carolyn S. on Apr 06, 2015
    I don't know why folks want to look at dead wood! A dying stem does some draining of energy to the plant for a short period until its really dead. Dead wood should be removed anytime you see it. I'm not talking "old" wood but "dead" wood.

  • Donna  Oliphint Donna Oliphint on Apr 06, 2015
    I found out the hard way that some of the stalks that look dead just haven't budded yet. Now I don't remove any dead wood until the bush has completely budded. Then the dead wood will be obvious and can easily be removed with out risking loss of blooms.

  • Rrj1480177 Rrj1480177 on Apr 06, 2015
    Some Hydrangeas flower on last year branches so, I would wait to prune and see what branches leaf out.

  • Rene S. Rene S. on Apr 06, 2015
    I've been following the advice in my Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening (1978) for an eternity. The results have always been delightful. For both your and my hydrangeas, what they suggest we do (and I have, for ages) is to "wait until the flowers fade in midsummer, then prune the plant by one-third or more." They tell us to "remove the wood that has borne blossoms and keep the young, strong shoots." If you are mindful of the shape of the plant, the following spring should result in "a rounded silhouette of young shoots that will bear flowers in summer." As I said, this book is sort of my bible when it comes to anything that grows in my yard, and I do mean anything. Go ahead and follow this advice and you should be more than pleased with the results.

  • Margie Bridges Margie Bridges on Apr 06, 2015
    Can I keep mine in a pot on the porch until it gets bigger?

  • Cat Cat on Apr 06, 2015
    I cut everything level down to about 4 inches in late fall or early spring. It grows back like weeds. I've never had a problem and we've had the same bushes over 15 years.

    • Sweet Inspirations by JP Sweet Inspirations by JP on Apr 16, 2015
      @Cat It all depend on the variety that one has. Some need cutting back and some grow up on the dead looking wood. That is the type that I have. It looked leggy until now that it is getting sprouts of green all the way up the branches.

  • Joan White Joan White on Apr 07, 2015
    Southern Living has a great video from Grumpy Gardner on hydrangeas. It is quite helpful.