I bought a nice large Hydrangea paniculata (Unique) last fall. I notice that the two main branches are crossing (and rubbing) near the base. I know I should prune it and cut off one of the crossed stems but I hate to lose such a large part of it. Would you suggest pruning it now? I am in upstate NY (zone 4)
I have many panicle hydrangeas, and one of their drawbacks (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE these plants) is that they can get a little wonky in their structure as you are pointing out. I have many that have misshapen bases of midsections…but they look great in bloom (and even once fully leafed out).
Is the crossing going to damage one/both stems? The thing is that taking out one and creating a lopsided plant means you will probably want to cut back the other somewhat, too, to begin a whole new architecture. How bad is the crossing/rubbing — will it damage the plant?
I think they are rubbing and damaging the stems. I have worked up my courage and am going to cut one side back. I think it will look much better.
I LOVE these hydrangeas too, wonky structure and all.
Thanks. I love your site!
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.