General gardening topics

When and how to prune Lacecap Hydrangeas for their best effect?

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

Lacecap hydrangeas, along with the mophead varieties, will conveniently flower without any pruning. However, if you want your hydrangea bushes to stay neat and trim, prune them every year in the summer after flowering; this also does encourage more flowering. You may want to deadhead your hydrangea bush at the same time.

The important point to note is that these produce flowers on old wood – that’s last year’s growth of wood. So it’s important not to cut back the stems in the autumn (from August onwards) as you’ll cut off all the new buds for next spring’s flowers.

You can also learn more about other reasons your hydrangea may not be flowering in this guide

What are some reasons for pruning my Lacecap hydrangea?

Although your Lacecap will flower without any pruning, it does better with some attention in order to:

Keep the size and shape under control

Keeping your hydrangea bush looking neat pleases you and keeping it to an appropriate size for its growing space pleases the plant. Also, hydrangeas grow taller and thinner over time, with flowers at the top of the stems and just open wood below. This is not the best look for them.

Remove old stems

As they age, stems produce fewer blooms. Make room for new and more vigorous branches by removing the older ones. This reduces the size of the bush and refreshes it, continually gives new stems space to grow.

Thin out the plant

Over time, branches grow across each other and rub together. And a dense plant doesn’t let air flow through it. Flowers that grow in these busy areas may become crushed or even fall off.

When should I prune my Lacecap hydrangea?

Pruning hydrangea lacecap in summer after flower

As we said above, the flowers grow on old wood so you do not want to prune your plant in the spring or early summer. Unless you’re really careful, it’s easy to cut off the new buds and you won’t have any blooms that year. On the other hand, don’t prune the bush in the autumn when the buds for new year’s flowers are starting to grow.

The best time to prune Lacecap hydrangeas is in June or July or just after they flower if they flower a little later.

If you leave the old flowers on the plant over winter to protect the new buds (which we highly recommend), then you need to deadhead the bush in the spring but only remove the flower heads.

How to prune my Lacecap hydrangea bush?

White lacecap hydrangea

Goal: to have an open and airy hydrangea plant, with enough space and air circulation for new shoots to grow and thrive.

  • Find your sharpest garden clippers or secateurs. See our recommendations as to the best ones.
  • Sanitise your tools in a dilute mixture of bleach and water, and remember to do so in-between clipping off branches. This stops you spreading any disease or fungus between different parts of the plant.
  • Before pruning your hydrangea, remove any old or fading blooms. We have instructions for this deadheading process specifically for hydrangeas.
  • Remove dead or diseased stems first. Cut stems with either of these problems back to the ground as you only want healthy (and live) branches in your plant.
  • Use a clean sharp cut and avoid bruising the wood. If there is a bud near where you’re cutting, make the cut at an angle away from the bud to avoid slicing into it.
  • Remove some old stems if the plant is overgrown. Choose one or two main stems that produce the least flowers and cut them down to the just above the base. Don’t worry if these stems already have a few buds on them – you’re making way for totally new stems to grow.
  • (If your plant is really overgrown, I recommend that you can remove up to one-quarter or one-third of the stems each year. But plan how you do this as you don’t want your hydrangea bush to end up lop-sided.)
  • Push back the branches at the outside of the bush and look at the centre. If it’s busy in there with stems criss-crossing all over, look for the weakest of the branches that cross and remove that. You can cut it back to the ground or just partway and then redirect it in a different direction.
  • Continue until the Lacecap hydrangea bush is healthy and shaped to your liking.

And don’t worry

It’s really difficult to over-prune a Lacecap hydrangea. The worst that can happen is that you cut off all of next year’s buds. In that case, you just won’t get any flowers in the next growing season while the plant recovers and produces new shoots for the year after next. But your plant may look a bit wonky for some years to come!

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

Write A Comment