When to prune a particular shrub can be a confusing practice for even the most experienced gardener. Luckily there are many plant guides to help remind us of pruning times or even a quick call to your local Extension office.

Now that we finally remember the best time to prune azaleas or French hydrangeas, the nursery throws us a loop with everblooming plants.  Although not new, the Encore® series of azaleas and Endless Summer® collection of hydrangeas have the wonderful characteristic of blooming repeatedly throughout the growing season.  When is the best time for pruning these repeat blooming shrubs?

In general, if you select your Encore® azalea carefully, it should need very little pruning. There are many sizes available to fit every space. Reduce your need for pruning by choosing a selection that will not outgrow your space. For example, Autumn Sangria® is a larger selection to at least 4-5 feet tall while Autumn Embers® is about 3 feet tall.   If your plant needs a little selective pruning, the best time to prune is still after the first initial big bloom in April.

Encore Sangria has vivid pink flowers. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County.

Pruning time for Endless Summer is the same for other mophead hydrangeas even though it blooms on both old and new wood. You may selectively prune after the first bloom.  It is always fine to deadhead faded blooms back to the first healthy buds.


Beth Bolles
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