Attempting to bonsai a hydrangea usually means it'll never bloom, though
likely a real expert could pull it off. There are dwarf cultivars,
however, like "Pia" "Little Lamb," the "Cityline" series each named for
European cities ("Berlin" "Venice" "Paris"), "Pink Elf," and an oakleaf
dwarf called "Sikes."
As to pruning, most hydrangeas would rather have only their dead branches
removed. Most hydrangeas bloom on old wood so would have the young
branches thinned out late spring or summer, which'll make the blooms even
bigger. The buds are formed the previous year so if you take the old wood,
you're taking the flowers. New buds form August or September so pruning
right now would keep the shrubs from wasting energy making buds on limbs
you remove. There are lots of kinds of hydrangeas and this advice may not
apply to all; the oakleaf in particular would have a completely different
As a generality even if you decided to forgo a year of blooms and
hard-prune a hydrangea, it'll grow back as big as before, depending on the
age and size of the root system, not on how abusively pruned it gets.
-paghat the ratgirl
visit my temperate gardening website:
Hydrangeas extremely easy to clone. Little clones I planted last
fall are flowering and half the size of their parents.
In small bunch of this years clones, one is blooming. If you wanted
to treat them like annuals, you could do this.
Otherwise I agree with Paghat.
You can prune them like a hedge to keep them smaller. They are incredibly
vigorous growers, at least around here (Oregon Willamette Valley). I do this
in the very late winter. There's one on the north side of my house that I
cut back a foot or more at the end of every winter. It is still full of
blooms in the summer (and has grown back to the size it was before I pruned
Utopia in Decay
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