How do I remove the dead flowers on my Hydrangea? Do I just cut them off at the bottom of the dead flower bloom? Please advise what and how I should handle the hydrangea flowers after they turn brown.

3 Answers 3


Cut them at the leaf joint below the lowest point that the flower branches from. These leaves have viable growth buds at their bases. It's good not to take off more leaves than you have to, especially when the plant recently put so much energy into flowering.

  • 1
    This link ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/268-86.pdf points out that some bloom on old wood and some on new. You need to know the type to get the best results
    – kevinskio
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:58
  • @kevinsky The method is the same for cultivars that bloom on old wood.
    – J. Musser
    Jul 3, 2014 at 10:10

The answer to this depends on two things - where you are in the world, and what variety of Hydrangea it is. If you're in the Northern hemisphere, or have cold winters, and you're growing an H. macrophylla variety, then you don't deadhead at all - you leave the flowers on the bush over winter for added frost protection to the buds below the flowers which will grow next year. Deadheading in this case is done in late spring, when growth begins, when you remove all dead material, including flowers.

If, though, you're growing something like Hydrangea paniculata, deadhead as soon as the flowers fade and cut back as necessary, even in autumn/fall, it'll still flower next year.


I am currently experimenting with three mopheads in our backyard. I dead-headed and cut one back last fall. Right now it is hardly blooming, but the other 2 are about half bloomed. Unless you don;t like looking at the "dead heads" you can just leave them alone. Cutting back the plant doesn't do much because it will grow back to its normal size again within a couple years. Ours are about 5ft. half spheres.

We also have one lace cap in our front yard. I mistakenly cut it back with a hedge trimmer 2 years ago, and it didn't bloom at all last year. I fed it and left it alone last year and it is looking great right now.

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