An Easy Guide to Hydrangeas

by | Apr 2024

Endless Summer® Hydrangeas

Endless Summer® Hydrangeas. Photo: Tracy Walsh

When spring rolls around, my inbox fills up with people asking what care they should give their plants. And no other plant gets more questions than hydrangeas. To jumpstart those questions, here’s a quick guide on caring for hydrangeas in the spring:

  • Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) have smaller, ball-shaped blooms that grow on a woody stem. If you’re familiar with Endless Summer® Hydrangeas, those are all bigleaf hydrangeas. In the spring, only prune dead or damaged stems above the last green bud, and fertilize with a bloom-boosting fertilizer.
  • Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) have distinctive cone-shaped flowers that bloom white and eventually age to pink, red or even lime in the fall, depending on your variety. My favorite is First Editions® Berry White® Panicle Hydrangea with its striking dark pink fall color. In early spring, prune them back by around a third or a half to help strengthen the stems.
  • Smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) are known for their huge white or sometimes pink blooms. You most likely know them as Annabelle hydrangeas. They only bloom on new growth, and the blooms can sometimes be as large as a basketball. If you didn’t already in the fall, all you need to do is cut them back to the ground in the spring.

Gretchen McNaughton is the communications and content specialist at Bailey Nurseries. Learn more at


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