Hydrangea Tree Care

The Hydrangea Tree

Of all the small, flowering trees, hydrangea trees are the most dramatic when in full bloom. In addition, they are easy to grow in almost all parts of the U.S. (except frost free areas), and they will bloom dependably year after year.

Hydrangea trees do not naturally grow into the shape of a tree. Left to their own devices, all hydrangeas will grow into shrubs with multiple stems. The only type hydrangea that can be made into a tree is Hydrangea paniculata. Nurseries prune them into single trunk trees when they are very young. Paniculatas dependably bloom on new growth every year in mid-summer, and the show is spectacular.

Planting

Planting the hydrangea tree properly is the key to its success. It should be planted in a location that receives at least four hours of sun a day for most of the spring and summer. It can thrive in full sun, but the blooms may last longer if they are in some shade during the hottest part of the day. Like most plants, it does best in moist but well-drained soil. It should not be planted too deeply. It should be planted at the same level as it was in the pot. The first year it is planted, the little tree should be watched carefully, and the soil should not be allowed to dry out.

If you purchase a hydrangea from the nursery already in tree form, you should provide extra bracing & support for the tree the first year or two. This will help the tree remain upright in strong windstorms, and ensure the tree grows straight up instead of sideways. This can easily be done with 2 or 3 posts in the ground that are attached to the tree with string. So the tree can’t flex sideways as far.

Pruning

Pruning may be the concern of many who grow this plant. Fortunately, pruning a paniculata will not cause any problems with blooming. It can be pruned at any time of the year except when blooms are forming on the tips of the branches in early to mid-summer. Bloom formation is easy to see if one looks carefully, even in the early stages. These trees can be left to grow naturally, or they may be pruned to control their shape.

After they have finished blooming in July or August, any branches growing across other branches may be removed. (I try to prune so that all branches are radiating toward the outside of the tree, rather than growing across the middle of the tree and across other branches.) The finished blooms may be removed at any time if the tree is small enough for one to reach the blooms. However, some people like to leave the blooms on the tree for winter interest, especially in areas where they can look lovely with snow on them.

Winter Care

Some people do cut the dead blooms off in the winter, so snow doesn’t weigh the branches down and break them off. Also, add a couple of inches of mulch around the base to help hold moisture in and insulate the roots. You can also wrap the ‘trunk’ with newspaper, felt, burlap, or a tree guard loosely to shield it from the wind. It also provides some protection from deer during the winter, when the deer are the hungriest. This probably isn’t necessary unless you live in an area with a very harsh winters or the first year or two after planting.

Beautiful Varieties

While any variety of Hydrangea paniculata may be grown as a tree, the most common variety planted at this time is ‘Limelight.’ The blooms on ‘Limelight’ are huge and can be seen from a great distance. Our favorite is the Vanilla Strawberry tree.

-A big thank you to our friend and renowned hydrangea expert Judith King for helping us write this article.

Hydrangea Phantom, growing and caring for plants

Hydrangea Phantom is one of the most beautiful among the paniculata hydrangeas. This kind of Hydrangea has a gorgeous lush blooms and unique honey aroma, which flowers send forth. So the floriculture fans love it very much. But not every gardener knows, how to care plants to make the bloom lasted longer.

  • Features of a Hydrangea Phantom
  • Planting Hydrangeas Phantom
  • Caring
  • Hydrangeas Phantom propagation

Features of a Hydrangea Phantom

Paniculata hydrangeas originally grew in Japan, Korea and China. Also, you can find it on Sakhalin island. The place of origin determines the magnificent resistance of the plants to the frost, even in the snowy winters. Propagation of the cultivated kinds of hydrangea started only in the mid-18th century. People have tried to keep the features, that allow to grow hydrangeas in one place for a long time.

Hydrangea Phantom has all the features of the original plant Hydrangea paniculata. And it has a number of advantages that make it indispensable in the gardens located in areas with adverse climate or with the poor quality soil.

The main advantages of Hydrangeas Phantom are:

Resistant to root diseases that occur in waterlogged soils

Frost resistance

The ability to recover rapidly growing parts after cutting or damaged by freezing

The ability to grow in one place for a long time without replanting

The possibility to form the plant like a tree or like a bush

Flowering throughout the season

Despite the simplicity, it is strictly recommended to choose the well-lighted place, but with no direct sunlight during the day. The place near the building or massive plantings will be the best for Phantom – this way you can protect your plant from the wind.

Planting Hydrangeas Phantom

As a planting material for propagation hydrangea Phantom use cuttings or layering. It is recommended to plant the seedlings in the soil when the sustained warming begins. Roughly from April to mid-May.

It’s better to prepare the planting area for about two or three weeks before the planting starts. Planting pit should be at least 50 cm in length and 60 cm in width. But first of all there is the peat, you must pour into the hollow. If the soil has high acidity, then it is recommended to deoxidate it with the dolomite flour or lime.

You can start planting when the soil placed in the planting hollow becomes compact. You must place the cuttings the way, that gives the opportunity to the root solar to being on one level with the soil surface. It’s recommended to pour the soil slowly and watch for it to cover the roots of seedlings evenly. The first watering should be plentiful. But it is important to ensure, that the stream of water doesn’t wash away the soil over the root system.

Properly planted hydrangea Phantom strikes root within two to three weeks. The new leaves on the seedlings are the signal of new root formation.

Caring

After the hydrangea Phantom seedlings began to grow, it is important to pay special attention to the plant care, which is watering, fertilizing and pruning.

You must water the hydrangea once in a 10-14 days. The drying of the upper soil signals, that the plant needs some water. In the first years of life every bush needs about 7-10 liters and then in subsequent years, not less than from 16 to 20 liters per one irrigation. During the watering process you can feed it with the additional fertilizing for hydrangea paniculata.

And when the spring begins hydrangea needs the nitrogen fertilizing. To stimulate the growth of shoots it is good to use a mulch or green manure. Twice a month immediately after watering (or during the process) you can feed the bushes with fermented mullein weed or herbs with the addition of potassium humate.

During the budding you can fertilize the plant with the high content of potassium and phosphorus mineral fertilizer.

Is there is no annual pruning the Hydrangea Phantom blooms worse and the reason is the excessive thickening of the bush. So before the permanent freezing begins you must cut off inflorescences. Remove three buds from the top of the faded propagule as a minimum. Spring pruning is reduced to cleaning the bush from the frozen parts. It is important to cut the branches before you will see the healthy parts of the wood. It is also recommended to cut the old hydrangea Phantom bushes to the stump for total rejuvenation.

With properly organized care hydrangea Phantom blooms bright for a long time. The plant has excellent resistance to adverse environmental factors.

Propagation of Hydrangeas Phantom

As a planting stock for the propagation of the Hydrangeas Phantom in common use it is the cutting, which was prepared from the last season. And it is better to cut it off in the first month of summer before the lignification process begins. Cutted stems need to be placed into the water and then you can cut it on two sides to leave only 3-4 buds. The lower section is good to be treated with a roots grow stimulator, then you must place the cuttings in pots with the soil, consisting of peat-sand mixture.



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Pots with the planted cuttings should be placed in a special greenhouse – as a variant you can cover it with film or with the cups. It’s important to protect the plant from the sunlight – so that’s why the pots are putting to the basement.

It is important to monitor constantly the humidity of the soil in the pots with the cuttings and water it regularly. It is rooting for about a few weeks. However, it is better to postpone the planting to the ground until the August of next year, when the cuttings are formed sufficiently strong roots that can withstand transplant.

Hydrangeas Phantom is the perfect decoration for any garden. A small investment (the providing of good conditions for the plants) will pay you back with the joy of the contemplation of the beautiful large blossoms, pleasing gardeners at any summer.

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Growing and Caring for Beautiful Hydrangea Flowers

If you’re looking for a garden flower with show appeal, hydrangea flowers are truly stunning. Large globes of flowers cover this shrub in summer and spring. Although their appearance may seem high maintenance, with the right conditions and care, hydrangeas are actually fairly easy to grow. So grab your garden gloves, because our growing hydrangeas guide will have you ready to plant in no time.

  • What Are Hydrangeas?
  • Planting Hydrangeas
  • Hydrangea Care Tips
  • Types of Hydrangeas
  • Common Questions About Growing Hydrangeas

What Are Hydrangeas?

Blooming in spring and summer, the hydrangea is considered a shrub. But despite their ability to be rather large showstoppers in your yard, how to grow hydrangeas isn’t a question even the novice gardener will need to ask – these beauties all but grow themselves. Reaching up to 15 feet in height, the hydrangea grows quickly and often fills in a space in just one summer. You’ll find hydrangeas growing in hardiness Zones 3 to 7 as perennials. With flowers starting in spring and often last throughout summer into early fall, hydrangea flowers can be the foundation plant of your landscape.

Planting Hydrangeas

As with most things in your garden, learning the basics of how to plant hydrangeas can save you time and money. By choosing the proper location, getting the soil just right and planting correctly, you’ll increase your chances of enjoying large, colorful hydrangea blooms for years to come.

  1. Best time to plant hydrangeas

    Fall is the best season to plant hydrangeas, followed by early spring. The idea is to give the shrub plenty of time to establish a healthy root system before blooming. The best time of day to plant is early morning or late afternoon. The cooler parts of the day offer protection against heat stress. Keep new plants well-watered until established.

  2. Where to plant hydrangeas

    Knowing where to plant hydrangea shrubs is an important first step. Many people plant hydrangeas in beds next to their homes or fences. This is because hydrangeas love the warm morning sun, but they dislike the heat of the afternoon. The best place to plant hydrangeas is in a sheltered location with sunny mornings and shady afternoons. You often find this on the north or south side of your home. Avoid planting directly underneath trees, which can lead to competition for water and nutrients. High winds can rip and damage leaves and destroy the flowers.

  3. Best soil for hydrangeas

    Hydrangeas grow well in soil containing an abundance of organic material. Good drainage is vital. While hydrangeas like moist soil, they cannot tolerate being waterlogged. Soggy, poor draining soils can cause root rot. In just a few weeks, your hydrangeas can quickly die. If you have heavy soil, consider mixing in plenty of compost prior to planting to improve soil quality.

  4. How to plant hydrangeas

    To plant hydrangeas, simply dig the planting holes 2 feet wider than the root ball. Keep the depth of the hole consistent with the size of the root ball so your plant sits level with or just higher than the surrounding soil. By creating a slight mound, you help increase water drainage away from the base of the plant.

  5. How to propagate hydrangeas

    One hydrangea can turn into many through simple propagation techniques. Bigleaf and panicle hydrangeas are best propagated through layering in early to mid-summer. All you have to do is:

    • Dig a small trench near your hydrangea plant.
    • Bend a branch down to the trench so it touches the soil in the middle of the branch (six to 12 inches of branch should extend past the trench).
    • Make scratches in the bark where the branch touches the trench soil.
    • Fill in the trench and place a paver, brick or stone on top.
    • With time, the branch will form its own root system and may be transplanted to a new location.

Smooth and oakleaf hydrangeas put out new shoots through underground stems. Just dig up the young plant and separate it away from the main plant. It can then be transplanted to a new location.

Hydrangea Care Tips

Although the hydrangea’s leaves and flowers appear delicate, they actually don’t require a lot of tender care. These tips provide all you need to know about how to care for hydrangeas.

  • Water at a rate of 1 inch per week throughout the growing season. Deeply water 3 times a week to encourage root growth. Bigleaf and smooth hydrangeas require more water, but all varieties benefit from consistent moisture. Use a soaker hose to water deeply and keep moisture off the flowers and leaves. Watering in the morning will help prevent hydrangeas from wilting during hot days.
  • Add mulch underneath your hydrangeas to help keep the soil moist and cool. An organic mulch breaks down over time, adding nutrients and improving soil texture.
  • Apply fertilizer based on your specific hydrangeas. Each variety has different needs and will benefit from different application timing. The best way to determine your fertility needs is by using a soil test.
    • Bigleaf hydrangeas need several light fertilizer applications in March, May and June.
    • Oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas do best with two applications in April and June.
    • Smooth hydrangea plants only need fertilization once, in late winter.
  • Protect against pests and disease by choosing cultivars with resistant traits. Leaf spots, bight, wilt and powdery mildew can all appear on hydrangeas. Pests are not common on hydrangeas, but can appear when plants become stressed. Possible pests include aphids, leaf tiers and red spider mites. Properly caring for hydrangeas is your best defense.

Types of Hydrangeas

There are four different types of hydrangeas grown in the United States:

  • Oakleaf hydrangeas thrive in warmer zones. If you live in Zone 5 or warmer, oakleaf hydrangeas are a great choice, as they’re able to withstand the heat of summer.
  • Bigleaf hydrangeas are the most common of all. They’re often found growing in Zones 5 through 9.
  • Panicle hydrangeas are hardy to Zone 3. They’re easy growers, reaching up to 15 feet tall.
  • Smooth hydrangeas are also known as snowballs because of their large white clusters of blooms. They’re an excellent choice in cold climates.

Consider planting these popular hydrangeas in your garden landscape:

  • French Hydrangea – This traditional bigleaf hydrangea is also known as the florist’s hydrangea for its large, vibrant blooms.
  • Mophead hydrangea – This variety of bigleaf hydrangea features large, round blooms.
  • Lacecap hydrangea – Large flowers surround smaller buds with the appearance of being only half bloomed for a lacy, delicate look.
  • Endless summer hydrangea – Discovered in the 1980’s, this unique bigleaf hydrangea variety has the ability to withstand the cold winters of zone 4.
  • Peegee hydrangea – While often trained to look like a tree, the Peegee (P.G.) is technically the Grandiflora cultivar from the panicle hydrangea family.
  • Blue hydrangea – Blue hydrangeas from the bigleaf family are only blue because of the soil they are grown in. You can purchase a blue hydrangea and find it blooms a different color next year.
  • Pink hydrangea – Pink hydrangeas range from hot pinks to barely blushing and can be found in several different types.

Common Questions About Growing Hydrangeas

When do hydrangeas bloom?

The hydrangea blooming season depends upon the type and cultivar as well as your planting zone. Most new growth hydrangeas put on buds in early summer to bloom in the following spring, summer and early fall seasons. In hot climates, hydrangeas may stop blooming in the heat of summer, but will rebloom in the fall.

How do you cut back hydrangeas?

When hydrangea plants are given plenty of growing space in the garden, they don’t need pruning. All that is required is the occasional removal of dead wood.

Do you need to deadhead hydrangeas?

Deadheading hydrangeas will keep your plants blooming into fall. You don’t have to wait until the flower wilts – hydrangeas make excellent cut flowers. Leave those early fall blooms in place to fade on their own. You don’t want to encourage new growth close to your freeze date.

How do you control hydrangea color?

Hydrangeas are unique in that you can control their color. But keep in mind, not all hydrangea types are capable of color adjustments. Bigleaf hydrangeas, H. macrophylla, react to changes in soil pH. A low soil pH allows hydrangeas to absorb aluminum, which turns the flowers a beautiful blue color. To increase blue hydrangea flowers, lower your soil pH by adding sulfur or peat moss to the soil. You can also add additional aluminum sulfate to your soil throughout the growing season. Pink and red flowers shine when you add ground limestone to increase the pH.

A soil pH test can help you accurately adjust your hydrangea color. Avoid pH levels above 7.5 to prevent damage to the plant. No matter what adjustments you’ve made, all hydrangeas will naturally fade in the fall. Don’t worry – the plant will showcase fresh, colorful blooms again in the spring.

Can hydrangeas grow in shade?

Hydrangeas like dappled or occasional shade, but they will not bloom in heavy shade. It isn’t so much a question of do they prefer sun or shade, but rather more of a question of how much sun do hydrangeas need? The further north your garden is located, the more sunlight your hydrangeas need. An average rule of thumb is six hours of sunlight per day. However, hydrangeas growing in the south can perform on only three hours of sunlight.

Can hydrangeas grow in full sun?

Hydrangeas like morning sun, but do not do well if they’re in direct, hot afternoon sun. Partial shade in the later parts of the day is ideal for these beauties.

Can you grow hydrangeas in pots?

Even if you lack the space in your garden to grow hydrangeas, knowing how to grow hydrangea in a pot means you can still enjoy these beautiful blooms. The process is relatively simple, as long as you follow the basics of hydrangea care. Choose a large enough pot for the mature size of your specific hydrangea – at least 18 inches in diameter. Look for non-porous containers to help hold the consistent moisture level require by hydrangeas. Drainage holes will allow excess water to drain properly. Consider planting dwarf hydrangeas, such as Little Lime, Mini Penny and Buttons ‘n Bows.

How do you keep hydrangeas from wilting?

Regular watering in the mornings can help prevent wilting. Some varieties of hydrangeas simply can’t handle the heat. It won’t matter how much water you give them – they’ll wilt a bit in the heat of afternoon. A thick layer of mulch can help retain moisture and keep soil cool. If your hydrangeas perk back up once the day begins to cool, you don’t need to worry. It’s better to have a little mid-day wilting than to overwater and drown your hydrangeas.

September’s showy set: Hydrangea paniculata Phantom

Peter Dowdall is an hydrangea fan and recommends a number of these stunning blooms for autumn glory.

They’re all well back to school by now and the freedom that summer offers is beginning to be forgotten as we head towards the last quarter of the year.

Too early yet though to look at, or talk about the beauty of autumn colour in our gardens.

I’m still hankering after the long summer evenings and light fresh evening air and to that end, I’m still concentrating on my flowers as there are still so many bringing great early autumn interest.

Bedding displays are still flowering, if well beyond their best by now, but don’t overlook the Hydrangeas and late summer perennials which are still giving of their best now, and will do for the rest of this month.

Hydrangeas tend to evoke strong feelings amongst gardeners , as people either love them or hate them.

They are one of those plants without a middle ground.

I’m on the ‘Love them’ side. How could you not fall for their flouncy charms, their vibrant and luxurious blooms brightening up the greyest of days?

Over the last number of years as Hydrangeas have enjoyed somewhat of an upsurge in popularity, commercial growers have been developing more and more varieties in the hope of luring we gardeners to fall in love all over again.

I like strong colours, in fact I like all colours in the garden and one of my favourites of these new cultivars is called ‘Deep Purple Dance’. Decadent is the only way to describe this colour and it’s velvety looking in texture.

Luxuriant mophead flowers are produced on plants that will need an acid soil to maintain the rich, deep colour.

If your sol is limey or alkaline the flowers will surely fade to a more pink/purple.

Counteract this if you want, by adding Aluminium Sulphate regularly or alternatively grow it in a container or pot where you can control the growing medium and keep the pH right by using an ericaceous compost.

But it’s not actually ‘Deep Purple Dance’ that I want to describe to you, no, it’s the panicuulata type of Hydrangeas that I sat down today to write about, because if you are one of those who claims to hate the traditional mophead type you will simply ignore ‘Deep Purple Dance’ as just another colour of something you don’t like.

For the record I don’t think anyone can hate them, I think you just haven’t learned to love them yet, I’m sure in time you will, perhaps you just haven’t met the right one.

Back to Hydrangea paniculata and what I want to tell you about it. Well, this is the right one for the non-lovers to meet.

Neither a lacecap nor mophead, these are different.

Referred to as Panicled Hydrangeas, this species is native to South East China and Russia.

What makes them so spectacular is their pure white blooms.

Many cultivars are available with many new types bred each year, but do keep an eye out for ‘Candle Light’ and ‘Vanilla Fraise’ both which turn pink from the bottom up as the flower goes into old age during September and October.

‘Phantom’ though, is the one that for me, steals the show.

Flowers the same size as a big stick of pure white candy floss are produced throughout late summer and early autumn.

It’s hard to describe this plant and its flowers without looking for more and more superlatives.

Showy, flouncy, stunning, breathtaking, any or all of these could be used to describe this true beauty of the outdoors at this time of the year.

It will get big and like most show offs, it will need space and won’t want to be fenced in and contained amongst other plants.

Allow it at least 2.5metres in width for the stems to fall over with their huge blooms.

No need to stake it though as, unlike ‘Annabelle’ which can all fall over in high winds or after a heavy downpour, its stems are strong and quite rigid.

Some will lean over but more will stay upright, creating the effect of a nice large rounded shrub.

If you are already converted to Hydrangeas then do try and find space for at least one of the paniculatas, but preferably more, and believe me, you will wonder how you survived Septembers without them before.

If you are not yet one of the believers, then do yourself a favour and acquaint yourself with one of the many cultivars of Panicled Hydrangeas.

If not one of the ones mentioned then try, ‘Limelight’, ‘Kyushu’, or ‘Early Sensation’ and enjoy late summer like never before.

Phantom Hydrangea

Phantom Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata Phantom’) is a beautiful tall variety that grows massive, 15-inch flower panicles that are well supported by sturdy, strong stems. You’ll be amazed, but your gigantic flowers won’t droop down to the ground.

Phantom features gigantic blooms that are wide at the base and narrow a bit as they extend upward. It only takes a few to create magnificent cut flower arrangements, so you’ll have plenty to enjoy in your garden landscape.

This is an impressive multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub with an upright form. The woody stems are strong, and the branching is uniform on this pretty shrub. With those impressive blooms held aloft, Phantom is sure to become one of your favorite flowering shrubs.

In early summer, the delicate blossoms appear with a light-green hue. The blooms slowly transition to pristine white for summertime display. They age to a lovely light-pink shade for autumn. Leave them standing for winter interest.

The huge blooms appear at regular intervals from top to bottom and side to side. You’ll love the flowering symmetry! No wonder the Royal Horticultural Society awarded Phantom their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

You can count on the performance, even up into the near Arctic Zone 3. Phantom is the most cold-hardy of all the white Hydrangea and will easily bounce back after tough winters.

Phantom blooms year after year with little maintenance. Simply trim back about 1/3 of the overall size of the shrub each year in early spring before the plant starts to grow. You can easily maintain your plants between 5-10 feet tall in a rounded form.

Hydrangeas come in many colors and forms, but few can rival the majestic size and color of the Phantom Hydrangea. Order from us today!

How to Use Phantom Hydrangea in the Landscape

Phantom Hydrangea is a wonderful large-scale shrub that makes a fabulous backdrop and screening plant. Celebrate a special occasion by planting these wonderfully decorative shrubs. It grows large enough to make a big impact in the garden design, after all. You’ll forever remember the day you planted them.

Include at least one in your cutting garden where you will cut and use those flowers fresh or dried. Have a marriage coming up? Plant several now and harvest the blooms for fabulous Do-It-Yourself decorations.

Love the Holidays? Allow the blooms to finish drying on the shrub, then cut and spray with gold or silver spray paint to add a bright pop in your trimmings of Holly and other evergreens.

It makes a spectacular addition to foundation plantings as a specimen plant to anchor a corner of your home or porch. Try an informal grouping of Phantom Hydrangeas to create an impressive focal point in your yard. It’s a perfect backdrop on the north side of smaller shrubs and perennials.

Run Phantom along the length of your existing fence to easily add height and soften the look. We’ve even them staggered in a zig-zagged planting pattern on either side of a low picket fence and it looked terrific!

It is a big grower and makes an excellent addition to the sunny side of a windbreak or shelterbelt. These flowering plants adding density and lots of interest especially against taller evergreens.

Phantom makes a fantastic informal hedge. You’ll love the privacy. Space them 4-5 foot apart on center to make a solid screen. You’ll measure from the center of one to the center of the next.

Just remember that no one ever said a row has to be stick straight! Why not meander the sight line to follow the contours of your landscape? Boost the romance with curved lines that create little hidden moments for sweet set of cozy chairs or even a lazy hammock to while away an afternoon with a good book!

Try these gorgeous shrubs as living green walls to create a Secret Garden for yourself. Indulge your dearest garden fantasies with the ethereal blooms of the Phantom Hydrangea.

#ProPlantTips for Care

This beautiful shrub is exceptionally cold hardy and very easy to care for. While it can be grown in either sun or partial shade, please know that it will flower best in a sunny spot.

In the very coldest Zone 3 gardens, it’s a good idea to give it a protected spot from the very worst of the bitter winter winds. Try planting on the sunny side of taller evergreen trees or on the south side of your home or outbuilding.

Give it well-drained soil or improve your drainage with a technique called mounding up. Add additional soil to 18 – 24 and plant directly in that mound. You can also create lovely raised beds to bring visual structure to your planting designs.

Give your plants a moderate amount of water on a regular basis. This is especially important in spring. Don’t let the soil dry out during the flower development stage to encourage big, huge flower heads. Give your Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’ a nice, thick layer of mulch over its root system to keep it nice, moist and cool.

Prune back hard in early spring, and you’ll enjoy fresh new flowering growth later in the season. This is a simple yearly task that should be done before the plant has started to leaf out.

Don’t prune once you see new growth, or you’ll risk cutting off those breathtaking blooms for the year!

Before your shrubs start growing in early spring, trim the overall size back by about a third. Keep a rounded shape for the best results and make pruning cuts at a 45 degree angle just above a fat, swollen leaf bud. In this manner, you can easily maintain the of the overall size from 5 to 10 feet tall.

Once your Phantom is mature, conduct a regular schedule of renewal pruning cuts every few years in early spring. Remove the oldest, thickest stems all the way down to the ground. You’ll leave the younger, thinner stems and shorten them up by a third. Your shrub will love this freshening up and respond beautifully.

Enjoy the astounding blooms and high performance of the Phantom Hydrangea. Order from the expert growers of Nature Hills today!

Many gardeners are tempted to prune in the garden in the fall as a complement to the general leaf drop cleanup and preparation of the garden for winter. Tidy, tidy, tidy. But with the limited exception of certain herbaceous perennials, this is generally not a good time to prune your trees, shrubs & vines. Here’s why: pruning always encourages the plant to repair the cut, i.e., to grow, but deciduous plants are not supposed to grow now. Rather they are to harden off, store carbohydrates in their roots, drop leaves and go dormant. Quit. You prune and you make them wake up and go back to work to repair the injury just when they thought it was time for the long winter’s nap. As always, there are some exceptions. The main one is to remove dead or badly diseased stems as you identify them. Dead is dead and cutting off dead (as long as you don’t cut back into live growth) will cause no rally by the plant to repair the dead zone. It already has quarantined it, turned it brown and in time will shed that branch or limb even if you don’t cut it off.

Pruning in winter is much more acceptable for certain woody plants. By winter I mean the time when the object of your pruners, lopper or saw is fully dormant. Again dead, diseased or damaged parts can be removed. Trees that “bleed” if pruned during spring or summer — most maples and yellowwood — should be cut in late summer or autumn.

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