Climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) grow slowly their first few years, but eventually bloom and spread -- climbing up walls and trees with clinging rootlets. The huge white blooms, as large as 10 inches across, appear in early summer and last two to three weeks before fading. Climbing hydrangeas need little pruning while they're still establishing themselves, but if you have a well-established plant,10 years old or more, you can shape the plant and encourage more blooms and denser growth with careful pruning.
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Things you need
- Pruning shears
Cut off dangling stems that haven't attached themselves to the wall or trellis, using hand pruners or large scissors, in winter or early spring while the vine is dormant.
Prune branches that are spreading too far in late summer after blooms have faded. Cut off the ends of branches just beyond where they fork to encourage more branching at that point, creating denser growth that will produce more blooms the following year.
Cut back a climbing hydrangea severely only if absolutely necessary and try to do the pruning over several years, since it recovers slowly from heavy pruning. For example, if you want it to be two-thirds of its current size, cut it back by about one-tenth this winter, one-tenth the following winter and one-tenth the winter after that.
Tips and warnings
- Climbing hydrangea blooms on the current year's growth, so prune it while it's still dormant or wait until later in summer after it's done blooming.
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