Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea - Prunning?

LindaMA(MA z5)July 14, 2012

My Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, which has been planted in this spot for 2 years now, well this is the 2nd summer, last summer there weren't any flowers yet. Anyway, it's growing very leggy and I'm wondering if someone can tell me the best way to prune it? The stem in the middle is getting very tall now and has no buds on it, would it be okay to cut that down and if so, when would be the best time to do this? The other stems are getting pretty long also but they have just started to flower and I do not want to mess with them now. I would like to make this plant bushier/fuller, is that possible? It's growing right into my rhododendron, which is good ways away from it, or at least it was when I planted it.

It seems to be doing okay where it is, even though it gets afternoon sun. My other two hydrangeas, ES and Nikko Blue are looking quite wilted from the extreme heat and sun. They didn't look that way last year. Anyway, a photo of the Vanilla Strawberry is posted below. Hopefully somebody can give me some pointers on how to make it look a little less leggy.

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Springwood_Gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Cutting the blooms off those stems closest to the ground should be enough pruning for those. For the upright ones, cut back to about 24-36". New branches should grow out and up from the upright stems, and new vertical stems should grow from the ones near the ground. Everyone wants a full bodied shrub; as it fills out with more branches, you can prune less and less each year. Once there are enough branches growing upright, you can simply trim the ones that stick up "too far" compared to the rest. So next year you might decide to prune the upright stems to 40", etc. depending on how many have caught up to each other.

Everything you leave on the plant should get thicker with time, making for less flop, which contributes to pruning becoming less important over extended time.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 1:43PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I would just prop up the blooming ones--maybe trim back the tall one a bit.

I personally don't think doing a lot of fussing over a new plant accomplishes much. New plants just need to get older. With time, they will outgrow some of the traits the bug you when they are young.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 2:47PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

Thank you both, I really appreciate your advice. The one that bothers me the most is the one in the middle, so I will cut that back and maybe leave the others as they are for now, or maybe once the blooms fall off, I can trim them back just a little so they are not hitting the Rhodie next to them.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:19PM
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I haven't prune mine at all for the past 3 years. It is a very upright grower and has nothing down low. It is so upright I have a little lime and a f&e hydrangea underneath it. I would keep it as is and let it get older. Mine took off fast and are nearly 4-5 feet tall and wide in 4 years

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:09PM
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