How to prune an Oakleaf Hydrangea to encourage denser growth

kateindc(7a)July 24, 2014

I have an oakleaf hydrangea ("Amethyst") that I planted in 2011, which has grown very fast to about 5 feet. It is quite rangy with some of the branches lying on the ground. I also have a much older Snowflake oakleaf hydrangea (which was already big when I moved here) that has a much better shape, with dense upright growth from the base. I'm wondering if there is anything in the way of pruning that would encourage such a habit in my younger shrub, i.e. more new shoots from the base. Thank you for any advice.

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"Dense upright growth" is not the typical growth habit for oakleaf hydrangeas. They do tend to be rather rangy but if well-sited and healthy, the foliage should be dense enough during the growing season that this ranginess is not obvious. Here is an image of a mature Amethyst from a Polish website - very sprawly and not at all upright:

You can prune if you like.....not sure that would produce results that are what you are looking for. And be aware that pruning now will both eliminate flowering potential for next season as well as likely producing new late season growth that could more easily be damaged by winter cold.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:21PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you are a newb.. right ..

i think the only failure here.. is your expectation of what you want it to look like.. vs what it is .. and how littel time you have given it ... presuming it wasnt a 10 foot transplant ....

ignore it for 3 years.. focusing on other things..

and in 3 years.. you will be amazed ...

dont over analyze it all.. give your garden time to develop ...

if you want any real opinions.. you will have to post a pic ...


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Sorry, I just saw these responses... thought I had signed up for email alerts.

Ken, yes, I am a newbie. I moved into an old house with virtually zero landscaping (aside from the inevitable azaleas and nandinas etc. - that older hydrangea was actually a 10' transplant I got from a neighbor) a few years ago, and have been transforming the yard into a garden during the past three years.

I'm fine giving the shrub time. I have just been stunned by how huge it has gotten in the three years since I planted it, and was wondering if I should cut it back a bit and thereby could encourage denser growth. I thought pruning through July was fine with regard to next year's flowering. But it sounds like I might better leave it alone.

Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:09PM
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