Pruning Nikko Blue Hydrangeas

I live in Virginia Beach, VA and last spring I planted two Nikko Blue hydrangeas which bloomed. I have done nothing to them since except water occasionally when dry. Will they still bloom even though I did not prune the stalk that bloomed? And should I do that now? Also they developed black spots all over the leaves last spring, what can I do about that if it happens this year?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Your Nikko Blue should bloom just fine without pruning. If you must prune to control size, cut out the longest shoots to the base immediately after bloomtime. Leave the others untouched. It sounds as if the plants were hosts to aphids. These secrete sweet honeydew, which then attracts spores of sooty mold, which causes black spots on the leaves. In spring keep an eye out for aphids. If you see any give them a sharp shot of water from the hose to dislodge them. Be diligent about spraying the undersides of the leaves too. They will not kill the hydrangeas but are unsightly as are the black spots.

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