Join the RHS today and support our charitable work
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Free entry to RHS members at selected times »
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Help us achieve our goals
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Shrubs like hydrangeas flower from mid to late summer on the previous year's growth. Mophead and lacecap hydrangeas will bloom satisfactorily with little attention, but regular pruning encourages new, vigorous growth that can produce a better display. Likewise, other species, including the climbing hydrangea, will benefit from a trim. Such plants fall into RHS Pruning group 4.
Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'. Credit: RHS/Advisory.
The pruning methods explained below are for individual types and species of hydrangea.
The most commonly grown hydrangeas in gardens are lacecaps and mopheads – mopheads are identified by their full, roundish heads of large petals; lacecaps have tiny flowers in the centre of the bloom and an outer border of large petals.
Most pruning is carried out in late winter or early spring. However, the climbing hydrangea is pruned after flowering in summer.
Lacecaps are hardier, and the faded flowerheads can be cut back after flowering to the second pair of leaves below the head in order to prevent seed developing, which saps energy from the plant
Hydrangea collection at Holehird Gardens
RHS Pruning groups
Shrubs and trees: light pruning
Shrubs: pruning early flowering
Shrubs: pruning summer-flowering
Shrubs: pruning evergreens
Trees and shrubs: planting
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.