How can I save my Hydrangea?

mhollandApril 8, 2009

This is the second year I've had a flower bed, first year I planted a hydrangea. When I bought it last week, the flowers were still green, some a beautiful pink. Last night the temp dropped from the average 40-50 down to 33. I was nervous, so I covered them. However, today the flowers have turned to a brownish color. Are they dying? What can I do to bring pink back onto the bush?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Hydrangeas are so many weeks from blooming here, I have to wonder if you bought your plant at the grocery store or florists, forced for early bloom to coincide with Easter.

If that's the right assumption, it is a plant that has been green house grown and unused to such cold temperatures. There isn't anything you can do to save the flowers that have been nipped by cold - covering it may have saved the foliage. This type normally needs hardening off (gradual exposure to outside conditions to toughen them up) before you install them in your garden.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 5:51PM
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I agree with morz8 - unless you are in a frost free location, like SoCal or Florida (not a zone 7), hydrangeas simply do not bloom at this time of year. Any blooming plants you find have been forced into bloom under highly controlled greenhouse conditions. They are intended as indoor plants, at least short term, and are often presented in this manner around holidays and as gifts.

Because of the way it was grown initially and its treatment subsequently, I doubt you will see any more flowering this season - the cold that zapped the flowers will have affected any buds as well. That's not to say that careful tending of the plant through the rest of this season can't result in a great flower display next year :-)
For hydrangeas you want to add immediately to the outdoor landscape, you should purchase those available through reputable nurseries, not those already in premature forced bloom at groceries, box stores or florists.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 10:52AM
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