My new hydrangea planted last Spring bloomed well in the summer. Now buds are coming out at the base of the plant only. Can I expect buds to come out much higher in the plant? Do I remove the buds in the base?
Timing of Hydrangea pruning can be confusing, as there are many varieties and pruning recommendations. Your Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ standard should receive the same pruning consideration as the shrub form.
These varieties of Hydrangea can be pruned in the fall or spring, as they will flower on new growth produced by the emerging buds. If you wish to keep the shape more compact and “tame”, it is suggested you prune about 1/3 of the branching back to where you see a bud forming.
You also have a concern about the lack of bud formation further up the branches. This may be due to our colder than average Spring, as many plants have been “delayed” due to the lack of warmth & sunshine. Hydrangeas are also typically later to leaf out and flower, so patience is recommended. If there is absolutely no growth at all on the branch extremities, prune them back to the closest living bud.
Best of luck!