Caption: Hydrangeas make spectacular summer-flowering shrubs
Mophead and lace-cape hydrangeas
The simplest method for mophead and lace-cap varieties is to cut around a quarter to a third of the stems to the lowest pair of buds in spring and prune the remaining stems to the top pair of strong buds. This encourages new growth that flowers later that year on new varieties and the following year on older ones.
Caption: Prune most stems back to the top pair of strong buds
Panicle and round-flowered hydrangeas
Panicle (H. paniculata) and round-flowered (H. arborescens) varieties flower well after hard pruning but, if you want more height, you can prune them to a higher pair of buds to give a taller framework of stems.
Caption: Panicle hydrangeas, such as 'Phantom', can be pruned hard or left longer
When to prune
For all types of hydrangea, wait until late March or April before pruning or the new growth encouraged by pruning can be hit by frost. If this happens, cut out the brown, frosted growth just above a pair of healthy buds.
Caption: Cut out any frosted growth