I have a hydrangea bush and the flowers on it are beginning to turn a brownish color. I know you aren't supposed to cut the branches because the plant won't bloom the following year. I am wondering though, should i cut off the dead looking "flowers" or just leave them alone? I am not sure if I live in zone 7a or 7b. I live in Delaware. Thanks for any help you can provide.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
P.J. from Delaware
When to "Deadhead" hydrangeas (remove the spent blooms) depends on who you ask. Some gardeners take off the heads in the late fall, while others feel the timing is unimportant and that removing the spent blooms can be carried out at any time without harming next year's blooms as long as you remove them with short enough stems so that you don't disturb the developing buds.
Personally, I prefer to leave the dried flower heads on my hydrangeas. Here is why. First off, I think the dried flower heads add a bit of interest to my winter garden. Secondly, it's possible that the dried flower heads provide a certain degree of protection to next year's buds. Granted, this protection is limited at best, but it sure can't hurt. I remove my spend blooms in the spring, as soon as new buds appear, by cutting the spent blooms on their stalks back to the uppermost pair of new buds, being careful to avoid damaging any of the new shoots.
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