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Uncover gydrangeas- when?

Posted by nude_gardener (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 24, 08 at 9:28

My hydrangeas are covered with leafs, boxes, to overwinter them in zone 5a/b. I hope they are still alive?
When should I uncover them? Temps are fluctuating and quite low for this time from about -2* +4*Celsius, nights are even much lower.

What and when should I do?

Thank you all.

***** don't tell me I have to cover myself first:-)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

  • Posted by garyt z3-5 N.E. Mi (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 24, 08 at 13:37

Dont uncover them until there is no danger of frost. In N.E. Michigan we don't uncover until June.


RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

Gary, thank you.
if you uncover them so late do you manage to get any blooms. they have no chance to grow bcs winter comes before they grow, unless they are special types of hydrangeas.

I have Endless Summer, Nikko Blue and some other unknown type,
oh yes and Pink forever?

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

If there are city gardens or house gardens near you, places where hydrangeas grow, you could stop by and ask them. Or you could just drive and observe once a week. If you overshoot the target, you may discover that the new stems and leaves are already growing but that they may be a little white colored or look sun bleached; they will recover.

If the winter protection technique worked, the flower buds should have been protected and will bloom. That is more of a concern with NB than Endless Summer though.


RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

Wow! Is all that necessary? I've never seen of or heard of anyone around here covering hydrangeas. Granted it is warmer here but one post above said not to uncover until all frost danger is gone and June at that. We get frosts here and freezing temperatures down to the middle teens for short periods of time and I've never had seen problems with hydrangeas here.

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

There is a HUGE difference between growing hydrangeas in "perfect" zone 8 and growing them in "out of range" zone 5. All hydrangeas can handle a reasonable freeze or frost when dormant. It becomes an issue when the hydrangea breaks dormancy and THEN gets hit by a late spring frost/freeze. As you might imagine, spring comes a bit later to zone 5 than it does in zone 8. Many people in zones 6 and lower who winterize their hydrangeas, don't remove all protection until they are reasonably sure that the chance of a late frost/freeze is over. Why invest all that time and energy on winter protection, only to let impatience ruin the potential reward?.....yg

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

I'm not willing to call zone 8 a perfect zone. Similar reason as zone 5 deals with. More this year than others but hydrangeas here get the freeze/thaw raw deal. I see new growth in January at times, just to be knocked back in Feburary by a week or two of freezing weather. Rarely does it go down below 15 but because of this the hydrandeas here never go completely dormant. I rarely see problems with blooms here. As a matter of fact, I have buds already on my ES. The other thing I don't understand is why the catalogs will list hydrangeas to be hardy zones 5-9 if they need winter protection. The USDA hardiness map is suppose to list the coldest temps. that a plant can survive. I'm just trying to learn more about hydrangeas. I wonder if ES work better for zones 5-6 since they bloom on new and old wood.

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

Most of them are indeed ROOT hardy in z5. However flowering BUDS are not.
Therefore plant itself is hardy to z5, but buds need to be protected in z5 and in most parts of z6.
Yes, ES is a good solution for z5-6 and complete waste of money for z7-9, IMO.

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

Can you all tell me what to expect when uncovering my NB?? Last year I tried the bubble wrap/burlap method, took off the covering because husband was guessed it...BAM, late freeze, had only 2 blooms. This year we used our own technique similar to a rose cone protection only custom made boxes from insulation material. We peeked under one yesterday...the plants look black??? I recall last year seeing the same thing...Is that normal? Thanks for any input.

RE: Uncover gydrangeas- when?

You should see pretty healthy looking wood and be able to scrape a bit of the bark with your fingernail and see a green layer just underneath the outer bark. That doesn't necessarily mean it's alive,(I think it can be freeze dried) but if you don't see it, then it's definitely dead. And you should see buds that are plump and feel alive when you squeeze them. At some point you'd look and see that the bud has broken its dormancy period and is starting to grow.

Just this past weekend I took a peek and saw plump healthy looking buds just about bursting to open.

The reason the catalogs say that they're hardy to zone five is to trick me into buying them. They got me on Nikko, All Summer Beauty, and so far Endless Summer. I've had a WHOLE LOT better luck with Endless Summer, but it has not been a stellar performer for me yet.


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