Cultivar Examples: Tardiva, (Little) Quick Fire®, (Little) Limelight®, Vanilla Strawberry™, Strawberry Sundae®, Diamond Rouge™, Bobo®
Note: Flowers on new wood
When: Dormant season (no leaves); annually
How: Cut last year’s growth back to a point between buds by 1/3 to 2/3
Panicle Hydrangeas have woodier stems than Bigleaf and Smooth Hydrangeas. They typically have flowers that emerge white and turn to some shade of pink to red as the season progresses. Like their botanical name, the flowers are arranged in panicles and are generally more cone-shaped than round. Tougher than other species, they tolerate our soils well and seem to handle drought better than Smooth or Bigleaf selections. However, their stems do not resprout from the crown so you absolutely CANNOT use Rejuvenation Pruning on these plants.
Instead, you will prune them back to a point 1/3 to 2/3 of the way back on last year’s growth. Because Panicle Hydrangeas are oppositely branched, each cut will create two new branches below next year. If you want to keep your plant denser and more compact, you should prune them back to one or two buds above the start of last year’s growth. If you want the plant to be larger, then make more conservative cuts and only remove the last year’s flowers*.
*Note: if you have a hydrangea ‘tree’, then you should make more aggressive cuts and only leave one or two buds below your pruning cut. This is because the weight of new growth can snap branches and ruin the aesthetic of your hydrangea tree.