Hydrangea too big #598259 - Ask Extension


Hydrangea too big #598259

Asked September 21, 2019, 12:53 PM EDT

Hello, I bought a house last year and there is a very nice hydrangea bush in the front yard. In the spring, I cut it back to 3-5 inch stems and it grew very nicely and was really big. My question is how to make it smaller. It has taken over the part its part of the yard and I would like to put in a few other things nearby, but am not sure how to minimize it's size. I feel like pruning will just make it grow bigger. Should I dig half of it up? Thanks for your help!

Ramsey County Minnesota

Expert Response

Thanks for the question.

Hydrangeas will keep getting bigger unless they are pruned. What you experienced with your hydrangeas after your pruning is quite normal. Every spring I prune about a third of my hydrangea stems down to about a foot above the ground and right now they are approaching seven feet. Digging parts of it up would not be wise. You may end up damaging the remaining roots leading to possible loss of the entire plant.

As you consider your pruning procedures, it is important to know if your hydrangea blooms on “old” or “new” wood. Hydrangeas blooming on old wood develop flowers early in the season (June). Hydrangeas blooming on new wood develop flowers during August and September. I would guess that your hydrangea is in this second category.

Perhaps you may want to consider something called rejuvenation pruning for your hydrangea. Take a look at the third paragraph on the second page in the following publication:


Here are some other publications dealing with extensive pruning:



Hydrangeas are vigorous growers and will require annual pruning to keep them to the size you want.

Good Luck!!




Steve Hedman Replied September 21, 2019, 6:52 PM EDT

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