Q.What Steps Do I Take to Get a Big Leaf Forever Pink Hydrangea to Bloom?
Plant is over ten years old and for several years has had few, small, dusty colored blooms. It is a mass of dry brittle sticks, and when I try to get in between the branches in spring to cut old ones down, I just cut myself on the wood. At one time it bloomed lovely large pink flowers. What should I do to have them again this year?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Those dry sticks have to come out. They are likely making it difficult for other stems to grow in properly.
Since it is not blooming well to begin with, I would recommend rejuvenation pruning. It should be done ASAP (it is suppose to be done in late winter or early spring). Rejuvenation is basically cutting the plant off a few inches above the ground. It likely will not bloom this year, but as you can use something heavier to remove those woody stems, it will get rid of the dead growth that is hurting the plant. The following years, it should return to its former glory.