What Do I Do With Hydrangeas In The Fall

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What do i do with hydrangeas in the fall – As the days grow shorter and the nights turn cooler, it’s time to start thinking about how to care for your hydrangeas in the fall. These beautiful shrubs can add a touch of color to your garden all season long, but they need a little extra attention as the weather changes.

Here’s a guide to help you keep your hydrangeas healthy and blooming throughout the fall.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about fall hydrangea care, including cutting back, mulching, watering, fertilizing, and pruning. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about hydrangeas in the fall.

Cutting Back Hydrangeas

Cutting back hydrangeas in the fall is an important part of their care. It helps to promote healthy growth and flowering the following spring. Here’s how to do it properly:

Benefits of Cutting Back Hydrangeas in the Fall

  • Promotes healthy growth and flowering the following spring
  • Removes old, dead, or diseased stems
  • Prevents overcrowding and improves air circulation
  • Reduces the risk of disease and pests

How to Cut Back Hydrangeas

  1. Wait until after the first hard frost in the fall.
  2. Remove all dead, diseased, or damaged stems.
  3. Cut back the remaining stems to about 6-12 inches above the ground.
  4. Dispose of all cuttings in the compost pile or trash.

Different Types of Hydrangeas and How They Should Be Cut Back

There are several different types of hydrangeas, and each type should be cut back slightly differently.

  • Bigleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla):Cut back to 6-12 inches above the ground.
  • Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata):Cut back to 12-18 inches above the ground.
  • Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens):Cut back to 6-12 inches above the ground.
  • Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia):Do not cut back in the fall. Wait until spring to remove any dead or diseased stems.

Mulching Hydrangeas

What do i do with hydrangeas in the fall

Mulching hydrangeas in the fall is essential for protecting them from the cold winter months. Mulch helps to insulate the roots, preventing them from freezing and thawing, which can damage the plant. Mulch also helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is important for hydrangeas, which are known to be thirsty plants.There

are many different types of mulch that can be used for hydrangeas, including:* Bark mulch: Bark mulch is a good choice for hydrangeas because it is slow to decompose and will not compact over time.


Compost is a nutrient-rich mulch that will help to improve the soil quality around your hydrangeas.

Pine needles

Pine needles are a good choice for hydrangeas because they are acidic, which helps to lower the pH of the soil.To mulch hydrangeas correctly, follow these steps:

  • Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant, but keep it away from the trunk.
  • Water the mulch well to help it settle.
  • Replenish the mulch as needed throughout the winter months.

Watering Hydrangeas: What Do I Do With Hydrangeas In The Fall

Hydrangeas are relatively low-maintenance plants, but they do require regular watering, especially during the fall months. When the weather starts to cool down, hydrangeas will begin to go dormant, but they will still need to be watered occasionally to prevent the soil from drying out completely.

paragraphThe best way to determine if your hydrangeas need to be watered is to check the soil. If the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water. You should also water your hydrangeas if the leaves are starting to wilt or turn brown.

Tips on Watering Hydrangeas

  • Water your hydrangeas deeply and infrequently. This will encourage the roots to grow deep into the soil, which will make them more drought-tolerant.
  • Water your hydrangeas at the base of the plant, avoiding the leaves. This will help to prevent the leaves from getting burned by the sun.
  • Mulch around your hydrangeas to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • If you are unsure how much water to give your hydrangeas, err on the side of caution and give them less water rather than more.

Fertilizing Hydrangeas

What do i do with hydrangeas in the fall

Fertilizing your hydrangeas in the fall is a great way to give them a boost of nutrients before they go dormant for the winter. This will help them come back strong in the spring and produce beautiful blooms. There are a few different types of fertilizer that you can use for hydrangeas, so be sure to choose one that is specifically designed for this type of plant.

When fertilizing your hydrangeas, it is important to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully. Over-fertilizing can damage your plants, so it is always better to err on the side of caution. You should also water your hydrangeas deeply after fertilizing them to help the nutrients reach the roots.

Types of Fertilizer

There are two main types of fertilizer that can be used for hydrangeas: organic and inorganic.

  • Organic fertilizersare made from natural materials, such as compost, manure, and bone meal. They release nutrients slowly over time, which is ideal for hydrangeas.
  • Inorganic fertilizersare made from synthetic materials, such as ammonium nitrate and potassium sulfate. They release nutrients quickly, which can be beneficial for hydrangeas that are showing signs of nutrient deficiency.

Pruning Hydrangeas

Oakleaf hydrangeas hydrangea blooming spruce legault adrienne thespruce

Pruning hydrangeas in the fall is an essential task for maintaining healthy and vibrant plants. It promotes new growth, enhances flowering, and helps control the size and shape of the plant. There are several types of pruning techniques that can be applied to hydrangeas, each with its own benefits and considerations.


Deadheading involves removing spent blooms from the plant. This encourages the plant to produce more flowers and prevents it from putting energy into seed production. Deadheading can be done throughout the growing season, but it is especially important in the fall to remove any remaining blooms before winter.

Selective Pruning

Selective pruning involves removing individual branches or stems that are diseased, damaged, or crossing. This helps improve the overall health of the plant by removing weak or unproductive growth. Selective pruning can also be used to shape the plant and encourage new growth in specific areas.


Thinning involves removing entire branches from the base of the plant. This helps improve air circulation and sunlight penetration, which promotes healthy growth and flowering. Thinning should be done sparingly, as removing too many branches can weaken the plant.

Renewal Pruning

Renewal pruning is a more drastic form of pruning that involves removing all or most of the old stems from the plant. This is typically done on older hydrangeas that have become overgrown or unproductive. Renewal pruning encourages the growth of new, vigorous stems and helps rejuvenate the plant.

Pruning Tips, What do i do with hydrangeas in the fall

  • Always use sharp, clean pruning shears to make clean cuts.
  • Prune just above a leaf node or bud to encourage new growth.
  • Avoid pruning too heavily, as this can weaken the plant.
  • li>If you are unsure about how to prune your hydrangeas, consult with a local nursery or arborist.