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After the frosts caught the two beautiful large Hydrangeas by our Front door late spring, they were severely damaged. They are big large flowered Mop headed Blue and purple ones. The purple one regained itself to a fashion and threw out many short stemmed flowers but the beautiful blue one had only 5 flower heads on it. They are both now mis-shapen terribly, they used to be a big mass of plant almost my chest height. My question is, can one prune them down to start again to get their strength and shape back?


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978

    You can, I am doing the same with a row that have been here for a long time and have got terribly untidy,  Thing is you will lose the flowers next year but the flowing yer they will look fantastic.

    most people say that you should remove a third of the old wood, right back to the base, but if they are so overgrown, I think that looks worse, just having long bits here and there. 

    Heres a photo of one I pruned right down last April,  the lot to the ground. No flowers this year but just wait until next?


    And here’s the row that’s coming right down this April. Don’t do it now as the frost will ruin the new buds. 


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Gosh! Thankyou for your reply so quickly it is much appreciated. Your GIANT plants certainly do put mine to shame there image 

    These two outside our door are quite old and as far as l am aware nothing has ever been done to them so a good cut will do them good. They are 'leggy' and woody too.

    I shall do it in the spring and needle out all the old wood knowing that the following year they will be bright and breezy again :)image

  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978

    Oh yes! definitely need thinning out.  Maybe take half right down to the ground and half about a foot from the ground, don’t expect flowers  this coming year, although if you’re in a warm area they may flower a bit in September, mine did. But not many. 

    Dont be in a rush to cut the back, end of March or into April. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Ok, Thankyou. That is so helpful of you as I have been dying to know what I should do with these two sorry souls. I love them dearly but being a new person here I thought I had better ask first, as I was told from a neighbour that they are many years old!

    Thankyou again for your sound advice and I have scribbled notes in Book for March/April time to do the job with time spent on them.

    Merry Christmas Lyn and a happy New Year to you 

    Beat wishes


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978

    Thank you ???

    That row  has been in 30 years, I have 50 of the beasts  here.  Can’t resist doing cuttings, never bought one.  my dad was a bit of a collector, like doctors car park  etc?

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053

    They grow like weeds here. At the moment the mops are beige and withered and they can stay like that until April when i cut last years flowering shoots down to where I can reach. I have alkaline soil in that part of the garden so they come up pink. 

    I am a great believer in not cutting things down until the spring warm up. Natures protection and all that, but I live in South West Scotland.

    I have followed advice in the past from posters in the deep South, only to have plants die on me, so now I leave the lot until April/May. 

    SW Scotland
  • LynLyn Posts: 21,978

    I do live in the Deep South, Devon and as I said, wait until April,  I did them once in March and had to go over the whole lot again as the frost had turned the top buds black, it’s well worth waiting until April.

    it just makes a lot of work when you’re busy seed growing, everything to do at once but thank goodness I have a very good undergardener who will do some of them for me ?

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,158

    Avid weeder - your hydrangeas look as though they're in a narrow band of poor soil squished up against a wall so they'll be struggling for both moisture and nutrients.

    As well as the pruning advice given, think about scattering some blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure around the base of the plants and using a hand fork to loosen the soil and work it in gently.   Give the plants a good drink - at least 5l each - as soon as buds start to open and again every time there's a dry spell.  You can add some liquid tomato feed too as it will help with forming healthy new growth and flower buds.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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