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Should Hydrangeas Be Deadheaded?

Updated February 21, 2017

Hydrangea shrubs come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, with flowers that may be cream, green-tinted, lavender, blue or pink. Hydrangea flowers remain on the plant after they die, leaving you with the choice of whether or not to deadhead the dead flowers. Deadheading offers the shrub many benefits, but isn't absolutely necessary.

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Deadheading improves the look of your hydrangea plants by removing faded, dead blossoms. It also stops the plant from putting energy into developing seeds so your plant can put more energy into producing new blooms. Removing the spent blossoms also reduces the weight on hydrangea stems, which can flop over or even break from too many flowers. You should deadhead hydrangea plants regularly, removing the spent blossoms as they fade.


While deadheading has many benefits to the hydrangea plant, you don't have to do it. Some people enjoy the look of dried-out hydrangea flowers on their shrub. If you don't mind fewer flowers or the possibility or broken or bent plant stems, you can skip deadheading.


Some hydrangea plants develop their blooms for the next year in autumn. If you are removing blossoms from your plant after August, do so carefully to avoid accidentally removing next year's flowers. Use clippers or garden shears to snip off the dead blossoms, leaving behind as much tissue as possible. If you are deadheading hydrangeas before August, you can be less careful and cut back stems. You can also cut bouquets of hydrangea to enjoy inside whenever you like.


Deadheading is safe for all types of hydrangeas. Bigleaf or common hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) should be deadheaded promptly since it can rebloom in autumn. Deadheading promotes new growth for more fall blossoms. While the common hydrangea in particular flowers better with deadheading, it's up to you to decide if you want to deadhead other hydrangeas. Deadheading any type of hydrangea will not harm the plant, but you may decide you prefer not to or simply don't have time.

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A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.

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