Deadheading Hydrangeas: Do You Cut Off Dead Hydrangeas?

Gardener about to prune or deadhead hydrangeas

At some point, everyone who has a hydrangea in their yard starts wondering about those dying blooms. Huge blooms that were once white, pink, or blue start to turn brown and weigh down the shrub. At that point, you might want to start thinking about deadheading hydrangeas.

What is Deadheading?

Pruning refers to cutting the branches of a shrub to improve the shape or health of the plant. Deadheading is less drastic and refers to simply removing faded blooms as they begin to brown. Many flowering shrubs benefit from deadheading, including hydrangeas. Removing the old blooms not only improves the appearance of the hydrangea shrub, but also signals the plant to return its energy into creating more blooms instead of going to seed. In the long run, this makes your plant healthier and stronger.

Is Deadheading Hydrangeas Beneficial?

In a single word – yes. Like peonies, hydrangeas have such large blooms that when they begin to die, they not only become an eyesore, they also weigh down the branches of the shrub. Deadheading hydrangeas not only improves their appearance, but also puts less stress on the branches.

When to Cut Off Hydrangea Blooms

You can deadhead your hydrangeas all through the growing season. It not only improves the appearance of your shrubs, it also gives you an opportunity to check the health of your plant. Check for spots or holes on the leaves and always remove unwanted insects. Being on top of such issues allows you to quickly take care of small problems before they become big issues.

How to Deadhead Hydrangeas

The only tool you will need to deadhead your hydrangeas is a small pruner. If your hands are sensitive, you might also want to wear gardening gloves. It is also convenient to have a small bucket to drop the blooms into as you remove them.

The Mill Creek Garden website suggests wiping your pruner blades clean with a cloth soaked in denatured alcohol. Cleaning it with the same cloth between snips will prevent spreading any kind of possible disease through the shrub.

To deadhead your hydrangea, hold the bloom with one hand and then just cut the stem below the dead bloom and above the next set of healthy leaves. It is as simple as that. It takes very little time and can make a huge difference in the health and appearance of your hydrangeas.

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Deadheading Hydrangeas - Do you Cut Off Dead Hydrangeas
Deadheading Hydrangeas: Do You Cut Off Dead Hydrangeas?