Deadheading is a popular practice with flowering shrubs. The process of removing fading or spent blooms diverts the plant’s energy from seed production to new growth and saves the plant from having a wilted, dying look. Hydrangeas especially benefit from deadheading, as long as a few simple rules are followed. Keep reading to learn more about deadheading hydrangea blooms.
Removing Spent Blooms on Hydrangea
Since hydrangea blossoms are so big, deadheading a hydrangea makes a real difference in diverting energy to more important parts of the plant’s growth. You should carry out this practice all through the blooming season to encourage new blossoms and keep your plant looking fresh. The method for deadheading hydrangea blooms depends upon the time of year.
If it’s before August, you should cut the spent blooms with a long stem attached. Examine the stem where it meets the larger branch – there should be small buds there. Cut the stem back as short as you like, making sure to leave those buds intact.
If it’s August or later, the plant is likely growing new buds along the stems in preparation for the following spring. Starting at the faded bloom, check around each set of leaves going down the stem. At the first or second set of leaves, you should see buds. Snip the spent bloom off well above those buds.
As you work, carry a cloth soaked in denatured alcohol. Wipe your pruners clean with the rag between snips to prevent the spread of disease through the bush.
There is one time of year when deadheading a hydrangea may not be a good idea, and that’s right before winter. Buds for next spring’s blooms grow just below the old dead blossoms, and leaving them in place can provide the buds with good protection from the elements.