Pruning Hydrangea paniculata ’Renhy’

(Question)

Northern NY. Harsh winter on the St. Lawrence River. Tree has survived and thrived one winter. It is full of blossoms and we are leaving for the winter next week. Do we cut off the blossoms before we go?

(Answer)

Hydrangea paniculata ’Renhy’ commonly known as Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea is a unique plant because it displays three colours of blooms in the summer: white, pink and strawberry pink. Flowers on panicle hydrangeas are panicle-shaped (cone-shaped), in contrast to the ball-shaped mopheads or flattened lacecaps. These are hardy hydrangeas that can withstand harsh winters.  The flowers develop on new wood each year which means that they can be pruned any time of the year except summer.  The blossoms that are on the plant now will dry out and provide winter interest.  Most people prefer to prune them in late winter or early spring because it is easier to see the branch structure. Wait until after the worst winter frosts, but before they start to grow vigorously. You don’t have to prune them each year, however removing about 1/3 of the oldest branches each year creates a fuller and healthier shrub.

For more information, please see the following links:

http://hydrangeaguide.com/vanilla-strawberry-hydrangea-2/

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=293649&://