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When to Prune a Lacecap Hydrangea

Pruning lacecap hydrangeas is a great way to keep them looking their best and ensure they are healthy. While pruning can seem daunting, follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to having beautiful blooms in no time. Pruning at the correct time of the year and in the right manner will ensure that your plants remain strong and full of life for years to come. With just a few simple techniques, anyone can prune their lacecap hydrangeas with confidence.

Several years ago, while shopping at a local nursery, I fell in love with a hydrangea – Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Mariesii Variegata’ or a blue lacecap hydrangea with variegated leaves!  I brought it home with me and planted it right away.

Blue Lacecap Hydrangea - When to Prune a Lacecap Hydrangea

What are lacecap hydrangeas?

Lacecap hydrangeas are flowering shrubs that produce large and showy blooms. They have a unique flower structure composed of tightly clustered, sterile flowers in the center, surrounded by a ring of larger, fertile flowers. 

The lacecap varieties have flat clusters while the mophead varieties have round clusters which resemble pom-poms or clouds. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them popular garden plants for both home and commercial landscapes.

 Lacecaps need pruning to keep them looking their best and ensure they remain healthy.

Where should you plant lacecap hydrangeas? 

The best place to plant lacecap hydrangeas is in an area with partial sun and shade. 

This type of hydrangea does best in morning sun and afternoon shade. 

They should be placed away from strong winds, as they are susceptible to breakage. It’s a good idea to plant them out of heavy winded areas. 

When planting, make sure the soil is well-draining, as lacecaps do not like sitting in waterlogged soil. It’s also important to mulch around the base of the plant, which will help keep moisture in and weeds out. 

What kind of fertilizer should I use for lacecap hydrangeas? 

The best fertilizer for lacecap hydrangeas is a slow-release, organic manure-based fertilizer. This will provide all the necessary nutrients to the plant without causing any damage. 

Manure-based fertilizers are also rich in humus, which is beneficial as it helps retain moisture and provides an even flow of nutrients to the plant. It’s important to keep an eye on soil quality and pH levels, as these two factors can play a major role in how successful your fertilizing efforts will be and will help you distinguish if you’re going to have good, new growth with your plant or not. 

I admit I didn’t know much about hydrangeas then. That first year the hydrangea looked really pitiful in late fall with no leaves and dead looking branches. I tried running them at the wrong time and there is a good chance I over pruned them. 

How often should I water my lacecap hydrangeas?

It is best to water them about once per week, making sure to give them 1-2 inches of water each time. If it’s hot and dry out then you may need to water more often.

Hydrangeas prefer moist soil, so if the soil dries out quickly, it’s a good idea to add a layer of organic mulch to the soil around your hydrangeas. This helps keep moisture in the soil, and will help you determine if your fertilizing efforts are successful or not. 

How do I know when my lacecap hydrangea needs fertilizer? 

When it’s time to fertilize, a good indicator that your lacecap hydrangea is in need of fertilizer is if the leaves appear to be yellow or dull and the plant isn’t blooming as much as it usually does. If this is the case, then it’s a good idea to fertilize your lacecap hydrangea with an all-purpose fertilizer. 

You should fertilize your lacecap hydrangeas at least once a year, either in the early spring or late fall. The best time to fertilize is when the plant is actively growing, so you may need to adjust this schedule depending on the climate where you live.

For example, if you live in an area that has cold winters and hot summers, then you will want to fertilize your lacecap hydrangeas twice a year; once at the beginning of spring and again before winter sets in. 

It’s also important to monitor your plants for signs of nutrient deficiency throughout the year. If you notice that your leaves are yellowing or dull and there doesn’t seem to be any blooms on the plant, it may be time to give them some extra food with an all-purpose fertilizer. 

When should you prune hydrangeas?

To ensure your hydrangea blooms at its best, pruning is key. If your plant blossoms on new wood, cut it back in late winter before new growth. If the hydrangea comes to life on older growth, cutting it back right after blooming in summer is recommended so it’s ready for beautiful growth next summer.
Any dead, damaged or diseased stems that you may notice that have any kind of fungal diseases can be removed at any point in the year from your hydrangea bush. Any frost damage should be removed as soon as possible. Regular pruning is recommended when appropriate to help facilitate growth of new bloom buds. 

Regular deadheading of bad flower heads, dead flowers, and dead hydrangea blooms will also help to encourage more blooms in early summer, late summer and fall. If a deep prune is necessary, it’s best to do this in spring as well, as this will allow for some new buds and new growth after winter dormancy.

What is old wood and new wood when talking about plant growth? 

Old wood refers to the stems and branches of a shrub or flower that are one year old or older. These stems hold the buds and flowers from the previous growing season, so they should not be pruned away as this can remove many potential blooms.

New wood is younger growth on the same shrub or flower, usually one year or less. This new wood is often the most vigorous and should be kept in order to provide the best chance of abundant blooms season after season. 

By pruning old wood, you can encourage more thriving growth from new shoots and stems, ultimately resulting in more beautiful flowers for your garden!

With that said, it’s important to remember that each type of shrub or flower will have different needs and may require a different pruning technique. It’s always best to do your own research and consult with experienced gardeners before starting any major pruning project! 

A step by step guide on how to physically prune a lacecap hydrangea

1. Start by looking for the oldest branches and oldest stems on your lacecap hydrangea, as they’re likely to be thicker and have a few more leaves than the newer growth. 

2. With sharp garden scissors or pruners, carefully snip off the oldest branches down to about a third of their length, cutting just above an outward facing bud at a 45-degree angle. 

3. Check each stem you prune and make sure that no more than one-third of the plant is removed in total during your pruning session. 

4. After you’re done with the old wood, turn your attention to any overly vigorous shoots which are crossing over one another, as this can impact how much light and space each new shoot has for growth. 

5. Carefully trim these away so that each shoot can take up its own area of space without being crowded out by new shoots. 

6. Finally, check all stems after you’re finished pruning to ensure that they look even and neat before standing back and admiring your work! You may have fewer blooms at the moment, but proper pruning will lead to healthier plants for the next year with more blooms than the previous year.


Prune a Lacecap Hydrangea

What zones do hydrangeas grow best in? 

Lacecap hydrangeas are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9, and can be grown in a variety of climates. They prefer full sun or partial shade, and generally grow best in moist, well-drained soil with a pH between 4.5-6.5. With proper care and pruning, they can reach heights of up to 10 feet!

What are some other types of hydrangeas? 

There are several other types of hydrangeas available, including Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia), and Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata).

Bigleaf hydrangeas are known for their large, rounded blooms while Oakleaf hydrangeas have conical flowers and lobed leaves. Finally, panicle hydrangeas produce showy cone-shaped flowers in shades of pink and white. These plants are all easy to care for and make excellent additions to any garden!


Blue Lacecap Hydrangea Arrangement - Prune Lacecap Hydrangea

I love watching these beautiful white flowers grow, especially when I have taken the time to appropriately care for them. If you take a few minutes and prune them when necessary, you’ll have endless summer hydrangeas with beautiful new stems and blooms each year. 

When to Prune a Lacecap Hydrangea
Here are a few more gardening posts you might like:

Jann Olson

Monday 8th of July 2013

Beautiful! I love the lacy blossoms and the variegated leaves. Glad it is doing so well. Thanks for sharing it with SYC.hugs,Jann

Julie Corbisiero

Thursday 4th of July 2013

Hi I love hydrangea plants and your arrangement is so beautiful! I saw it on share your cup thursday.Julie from

Liz Hockamier

Thursday 4th of July 2013

What a gorgeous arrangement! It would be wonderful to have you join in for Fresh-Cut Friday. :)

Happy Independence Day! ~Liz

Bev Carter

Thursday 4th of July 2013

Your hydrangea arrangement is just so beautiful. Love the variegated leaves.Have a wonderful 4th of July,Bev@ Eclectic Red Barn

Yvonne @ StoneGable

Thursday 4th of July 2013

Doreen, So beautiful!!! YOu have such a great eye for photography and all things lovely! Thanks for sharing your talent!