Hydrangea Vanilla Strawberry – Droopy
Q: I have some Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas that look beautiful in June/July but when they have lots of blooms and we get a heavy rain they droop over and can’t hold the weight. My local nursery expert told me to cut then knee high in February. What should I do?
A: Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea is a pannicle hydrangea, not a common hydrangea. It blooms on new wood every year so some folks prune them hard each spring to get more shoots and flowers.
But removing most of a stem results in fast, weak growth and the flowers are prone to floppiness.
I’d prune down to a foot high in February. When new sprouts are a foot long and have a couple of stem buds on them, clip the tip of each one. The resulting new growth will be held higher and the blooms can droop a bit without touching the ground.
In subsequent years, don’t remove the thick lower stems. They will form a sturdy scaffold for new growth to keep the bush upright.