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Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

Posted by ontheteam 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 16, 09 at 22:00

I have a beautiful blue hydrangea. I do not know the name
Common old fashion blue that blooms on old wood.

How do I protect it so I get blooms next year? I have a huge beautiful bush and I can see next years growth tips. What can I do this winter to keep them from being ruined(again..)


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

If this plant is hardy on zone 6 then all you need to do is to keep it well mulched (about 3-4" thru the drip line).

If the plant is not hardy to zone 6 then check the information on the link below.

The two approaches discussed in the link are: 1) cover the shrub with chicken wire and fill it up with leaves (really pack them in as they serve as insulators); 2) place a cardboard on top of the shrubs and press downwards slowly (the stems will bend) so the stems lie almost flat (hold the cardboard with rocks and add leaves on top).

Blooms develop near the tips so it is important to protect the stem tips with lots of leaves. When doing the chicken wire thing, allow for several inches between the end of the stems and the sides/top of the chicken wire cage. The more separation, the more protection but pack those leaves good in there. Also, keep a reserve of unused leaves in a plastic trash bag as leaves sometimes settle and you may need to add more in mid winter (use mulch if you run out).


Here is a link that might be useful: Overwintering hydrangeas

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

Thanks. I am going to protect it like you describe. It't can't hurt. I am tired of getting a beautiful SHRUB w/ no flowers.

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

When do you cover with protection in zone 5b? Should I wait until late October? Early November? The "official" frost date here is November 2nd.
thanks all

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

  • Posted by ditas z4b-5 Iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 17, 09 at 20:43

Hi Kentstar - You are a zone higher ... any respectable nursery will be glad to inform you with the *rule of thumb* in your area.

Also the nodular buds are protected by a few overlapping layers of scales to protect buds (leaf or flower) from sudden exposure to extreme temp changes ... some warmth from the ground will travel to top still, in the early days of winter. Over in my zone the rule is *Thanksgiving* ... give or take a few. Usually weather reports are pretty good at alerting us.

I think you still have plenty of time to gather your needs! BTW if you are thinking of using burlap, to wrap with, I found that the fabric shop carry thicker, sturdier & wider kind than what the nurseries carry ... watch for markdowns, as well!

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

Thankyou ditas! I already have my chicken fencing and an ample supply of oak leaves in the fall. I can get that finer 'pine mulch' which is a little finer than mini nuggets at my local nursery too. I love that stuff! Easy to mix in, breaks down faster, good for my soil. But, I have only found that ONE nursery that sells it. Big box stores only sell the nuggets or regular pine mulch.
I wonder if I can use old panty hose for tying the stems. I don't see why not :)
I will ask my local nursery for more info on timing, but I think they'll probably say the same, around Thanksgiving.

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

  • Posted by ditas z4b-5 Iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 17, 09 at 23:59

This Winter, I don't have to do my most meticulous, over-wintering chore, since old Nikko is a great deal smaller after the move ... she now is a mere 2.5'x2'wd so much easier to wrap & cage!!!

I think I'm going to use pine needles this year, I got a huge bale last winter ... not enough for all I had to protect ... a lot easier to clean up in the Spring & didn't mat down either.

I have officially, 9 to seriously protect, but I like to give a light, cover-up to 3 Oakleaf Hydrangeas, as they are in the line of fire, of our wicked winds! Last Winter was one harsh killer, they survived, but none of the 3 produced blooms despite their cages

We still have a bit of time to enjoy the Fall colors!!! ;)

preparing hydrangeas for winter

I live in zone 4 and have both Annabelle and Endless Summer hydrangeas. This past spring I moved the ES so it didn't do much this year. Do I have to cover it? I didn't last year...Also, this past spring I pruned Annabelle to the ground and it grew beautifully. I plan on doing this every year to control the size. Can I prune to the ground now (almost November) and, if I do, should I mulch it at the base?

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

Hello dirtythumb, the Annabelle is not a bad idea to mulch, but not necessary. I would cut in vey low every year. The harder you prune the bigger the blooms you will get. But some people would argue that the blooms droop more after a good rain because of their size. I always prune in early spring, but you can prune anytime between late fall and early spring. I just enjoy a little winter interest. The ES blooms on old and new wood. If you want to protect the old wood so you have blooms earlier next year you can protect it. My ES died to the ground last year in a zone 5b. So I would imagine yours will every year in zone 4. But I did get some great blooms on my new wood.

RE: Zone 6 Hydrangea winter protecting?

I finally got around to caging my three hydrangeas but am a bit worried about my Nikko as it is looking a bit sad after last nights frost. I'm in zone six and the nursery where I bought it said that it was the hardiest for Utah but you never know with nurseries.


Did I get too it too late? Will it still bloom for me?

I caged it along with my two ES (just in case!) and piled on the leaves pretty heavy. Can I also cover it with burlap or is that over doing it? I'm in love with these beauties and want to make sure that they flower come summer.

This is how they look once they are caged:


I bought 15 wood stakes at Lowes for $6, Chicken Wire enough for all three for $20 and it came with wire. I thought that caging them would be difficult but it was simple and easy to do.

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