winterizing my hydrangeas

t-raNovember 1, 2007

I have just bought a new home and in doing so have adopted a yard full of landscaping - mostly perennials and including hydrangeas. I have never gardened but look forward to the new hobby!! So, I have no idea what kind of hydrangeas I have but they are large, white and beautiful. Very few are browning. The big question....what do I do to prepare/protect them for winter? Do I cut them back? If so, when? Do I leave them - let the flowers brown? Do I need to mulch? If so, when? After the first frost?

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Where you are located and the specific type of hydrangea you have will dictate what type of winter protection may be required and pruning needs, if any. Many - but not all - white flowering hydrangeas are selections of arborescens or paniculata, both of which are very hardy and bloom on new growth. They require no special protection in winter and can be pruned back hard, but that is generally a task left until early spring.

If the type is unknown yet still in flower, posting a photo here for identification can help with more specific instructions. And let us know your zone.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 10:24AM
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I am also interested to know what needs to be done. We planted hydrangeas in my mother-in-laws yard over the summer in northern Michigan (bordering zones 4 and 5). Luckily there is no snow yet, but what should be done with them? I'm not sure exactly what type they are. The flowers bloom blue/pink/purple depending on the soil pH and are of a small to medium size.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 11:04AM
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It is critical to know the type and variety because that determines what, if anything, you need to do. Hydrangeas that bloom pink/blue are Hydrangea Macrophyllas, most of which are not hardy to zone 4 and 5 so they need protection during the winter. However, Endless Summer -a hydrangea macrophylla variety that blooms on old & new wood- is hardy to zone 4 and requires no protection.

If your hydrangea is planted in the right USDA Zone then about 4" of acidic mulch should be all you need to add. If unsure on what zone your hydrangea macrophylla is good for, consider applying some of the techniques described in the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Overwintering Hydrangea Macrophyllas

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 11:23AM
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Go to
There will be pictures there that might help you identify the type of hyrdangea you have. There are also instructions on winter protection.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:41PM
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rudingeve(5a Ont.)

Just purchased a "pink Sensation" from the grocery store. How hardy is it and can I possibly plant it outdoors later in the spring?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 3:06PM
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