Little Quick Fire hydrangea in containers


When should I prune these and when and what should I fertilize these with? They are south east facing Lake Ontario on the 8th floor terrace. They are in containers and are starting to show new growth.
They also get a lot of wind and sun.


Thank you for your question about pruning and fertilizing Little Quick Fire® Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata).

Little Quick Fire was developed as an easy care, dwarf hydrangea that grows to about 3 to 5 feet in both height and spread. It does require some maintenance, however; specifically pruning, fertilizing, and watering.

Like all hydrangeas, Little Quick Fire should be pruned under certain conditions: to remove dead or damaged branches; to remove old woody stems in order to rejuvenate older plants; and to remove any dried flowers remaining on the stems from the prior season. Because Little Quick Fire is a dwarf shrub, it should need very little pruning to maintain its compact size.

That said, if it has outgrown its space your it may be lightly trimmed. Follow the 1/3 rule for pruning: never prune back more than a third of the shrub at any one time, and never prune back more than 1/3 of a branch. The ideal time for pruning Little Quick Fire is in early spring. Because it is a panicle hydrangea, it blooms on new growth (some other types of hydrangeas bloom on old growth). Blooming on new growth meaning the stems will still form blooms after spring pruning.
All hydrangeas benefit from the addition of compost or general purpose fertilizer in the spring.

Because your hydrangea is growing in a container on an 8th floor windy terrace, it will have some additional requirements. Little Quick Fire hydrangeas like moist soil and require regular watering. As containers can dry out quickly (particularly in windy locations) check the soil moisture frequently. Frequent watering tends to leach nutrients from the soil, which means that your containers will also require regular fertilizing. Slow-release fertilizers, liquid fertilizers and compost teas are options to consider.

For more information on growing hydrangeas of all types, please have a look at our Toronto Master Gardener Gardening Guide on Growing Hydrangeas.