can you divide hydrngeas?

seydouxJanuary 18, 2014

I am not sure that the photo does them justice, but the front of our house is lined with Hydrangea bushes that are 6 ft tall and ten feet deep by mid summer. I do love them, but they are a bit overwhelming. By mid summer you can't even see the front steps. So the question is can I divide them or what would be the effect on the plants of removing the plants that are too close to the house and stairs? Right now I need to hack them back 3 times a summer to be able to access the stairs.

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Hydrangeas were not "designed" to be divided. However, a lot of people have done that with old specimens. Do a forum search for keywords like "divide".

I would consider rejuvenation, i.e., pruning them in thirds for three years (the tallest 1/3 stems on year one; the next tallest stems on year two; and the rest of year three). When pruning the stems, prune the stems all the way to the ground which will force new stems to eventually grow.

You could also transplant the two closest to the steps elsewhere but then you would need to "fill" the space with something. The new plant could be another type of plant or yet another hydrangea, just choose one that does not grow as tall; investigate hydrangea serratas or some macrophyllas that won't get too big.

You could also extend the steps to the sides into the area that was "vacated" by the hydrangeas that you transplanted but, ouch, that would be more expensive.

This post was edited by luis_pr on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 2:53

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:46AM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

Plants are divided to get free new plants. It's not to keep growth in check. The divided hydrangea will just grow back to it's old size.

If they're too big, you have to dig them up and replace them with something smaller or dig them up and move them away from the house.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:26PM
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