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I'm very new to gardening so please excuse my ignorance.
I planted three hydrangea bushes in my garden last year, they flowered and grew well despite the heat last summer. I removed any dead heads in the Autumn and they seem to be spouting new growth. The problem is that the new growth appears red/purple. Looking at my neighbours small hydrangea bush their new growth is green. 

Any idea on what is happening? Are they dying? They've been getting plenty of rainwater and otherwise seem okay.


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,853
    Has it been cold where you are since the new growth started appearing?  If so that could be the cause.  The usual advice for hydrangeas is to leave the old flower heads on until the next spring so that they give the new growth a bit of protection from frost. I don't think it'll kill the plants, but if the new growth that's changed colour dies, you can trim it off and they should shoot from lower down.  Don't do it yet though - wait until it gets warmer.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Thanks JennyJ. I live in the North East, we've had some strange weather going on. A really warm spell in February followed by snow, then lots of rain. I'm hoping that the snow has just damaged the new growth and when Spring arrives properly that things should start to pick up again. 
  • Jason-3Jason-3 Posts: 383
    Hi Rachel...what type of hydrangea do you have?  If it's   mophead or lacecap..macraphelia...they flower on last year's growth and pruning hard is not recommended as you won't see any flowers this year. If it's the arborescens or paniculata then these flower on new growth. If pruning you need to do this now. 

    Re colour I wouldn't be concerned about the colour of the stems as my hydrangeas also start of a light purple and turn green in later spring. If the stems have growth you will be ok as hydrangea s are normally extremely healthy ;hardy plants
  • I'm honestly not sure Jason, I'm very new to all of this. It seems as though my neighbour doesn't prune hers so I might just copy haha. Thanks for your help. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,115
    Hi Rachel - the likely reason for discoloured foliage is a cold spell just after there's new growth, so I wouldn't worry too much. The warm spell in Feb created new growth in many plants that wouldn't normally be seen until later. 
    The pruning regime does depend on the type, and as Jenny says, many people leave the heads on over winter, on the mophead ones, for a bit of protection, but pruning back too far on them will remove the stems which carry the buds for the new season. It's important to find out which type you have first though. If you have any photos of them in flower, that will help with advice on pruning. 
    Big shrubs that need a good pruning back because they're outgrowing their space, can be done by taking a third of the stems right back to the ankles over a period of three years. That way, you leave some flowering stems each time, and it creates good new growth.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you Fairygirl, unfortunately I don't have any photos of them in flower. Hopefully they do flower again this year and I'll take some pictures. Thanks :) 
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