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Please can you tell me the correct way to prune hydrangeas. The lady we brought our house from pruned them to 12in above ground each year and they where beautiful. I do it and they wont flower. Please dont tell me to only prune stems that have just flowered. That leaves big long stragley stems.

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Hydrangeas can tolerate frost, but once spring growth has started, a heavy frost could knock them back a bit, so put off pruning until you feel the risk has gone. Then cut out any thin, weak shoots at their base and then cut back the shoots that flowered last year (the remnants of old flowers should still be visible) to a pair of nice fat buds close to the top of the shoot which should produce flowers later this year. Make sure to choose the fattest buds, as small ones are less likely to flower. Don’t touch any of the shoots that didn’t flower last season, unless they are weak or broken, as they should produce this season’s first flowers from their tips. Hydrangeas do enjoy being pruned, but only prune off old flowers. Otherwise you wont get any blooms next year. If hydrangea shoots get long and lanky, cut back hard all over. This may mean you wont get flowers for a couple of years but it will benefit the plants in the long run.

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