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How To Overwinter Hydrangeas

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Getting your garden ready for colder winter weather can be daunting. Do you have hydrangeas that you need to overwinter but don't know where to begin? Well, we've done some digging and have the answer waiting for you. Let's check this out.

To overwinter hydrangeas, you want to make a frame around your plant using stakes. Next, wrap chicken wire around the stakes to create a cage for your hydrangeas. You then want to fill your enclosure with pine needles or mulch, and you're ready for the cold!

As we begin, we will cover all things hydrangeas and discuss the best ways to overwinter them. Whether you live somewhere cold or want to learn more about this plant species, we're here to help. Without further ado, let's dive right into this topic!

Pink and blue Hydrangeas nicely blooming in the garden, How To Overwinter Hydrangeas

Do I Need To Overwinter Hydrangeas?

It is generally a good idea to get your hydrangeas ready for the winter if you live somewhere cold. Especially for anyone in USDA zones seven or lower, preparing your flowers for frigid temperatures is essential and will prevent them from dying if the weather drops below zero.

It's also important that you overwinter hydrangeas you have recently started growing because younger plants tend to react the most to cooler, drier winter weather.

Bright colors of Hydrangea flowers blooming in the garden

How Do You Prepare Hydrangeas For The Winter?

As mentioned, you want to make a protective cage for your hydrangeas. We recommend using chicken wire and wooden stakes to do this and then filling your enclosure with pine needles or mulch.

Doing this will help your hydrangeas keep some of their warmth through the winter season and ensure your plant will come back in the spring. You can also cover your hydrangeas with thermal plastic/fabric as the weather gets colder, so you have a few options.

USA Premium Pine Needle Mulch

This premium pine needle mulch protects plants during winter, is all-natural, and covers 65-80 square feet.

View this pine needle mulch on Amazon.

Vensovo Freeze Protection Plant Blanket

This freeze-protecting plant blanket works on flowers, keeps the frost off your plants, and comes in a few size options.

Follow this link to see it on Amazon.

Should Hydrangeas Be Cut Back For Winter?

Yes, it is a good idea to prune your hydrangeas before winter hits. Generally, you want to do this just before the temperatures drop in early fall, although older hydrangeas require pruning right after their last bloom in the late summer.

You want to prune your hydrangeas while they aren't currently blooming/active, so try to hold off on cutting them back until their flowers have all fallen.

What Happens If You Don't Cut Back Hydrangeas?

If your hydrangeas are older, not pruning them won't have any major consequences. For younger plants, it is important to cut them back each year to prevent them from becoming leggy/less floral during the spring and summer.

The same goes for older woody plants, although a more mature hydrangea is less likely to have problems flowering, even if you don't prune it. Again, it is a good overwintering practice to cut back your hydrangeas before the cooler weather sets in, regardless of age.

How Do You Overwinter Potted Hydrangea?

A big clay pot of beautiful hydrangeas placed on the staircase

Overwintering potted hydrangeas shouldn't be too hard. Our first suggestion would be bringing your pot inside or placing it in your garage during the winter, which won't require any additional preparation.

If your hydrangea's pot is too big to move, you can also try covering it with plastic wrap or using foam insulation to protect it from the colder winter temperatures.

Should I Leave My Potted Hydrangea Outside During Winter?

Although you can leave a potted hydrangea outside during the winter, this isn't always the best idea. Especially if you are in a colder growing zone, potted hydrangea can react differently to freezing weather than in-ground plants.

Even covering your flowers with a thermal wrap or foam insulation won't always protect them from frigid winter temperatures, so it's best to bring your potted hydrangea indoors. As mentioned, you can keep your hydrangeas in the garage without needing extra preparation, so this won't be difficult.

Can Hydrangeas Survive A Freeze?

A gardener picking out withered hydrangeas

Most times, hydrangeas will be able to survive the occasional freeze. That said, you don't want to expose a hydrangea to below-freezing weather regularly, as it might die.

Hydrangeas, regardless of variety, will be somewhat cold-tolerant, so the occasional freeze shouldn't be something to worry about.

What Temperature Is Too Cold For A Hydrangea?

If the temperature drops below negative ten degrees, your hydrangea will start to have problems. Although this flowering plant species can handle cooler climates, negative temperatures can be detrimental to your plant's health.

Even in temperatures under 30 degrees, you might start to have issues with your hydrangea, so every plant will have its own cold tolerance. That said, it's always a good idea to overwinter your plant to get it ready for cooler temperatures, regardless of the forecast.

What Month Do You Prune Hydrangeas?

You want to prune your hydrangeas in the late summer, just after their final blooming period. Although every plant is different, you can expect a hydrangea to be ready for pruning around late July or early August.

It's also a good idea to lightly prune your hydrangeas in the spring, just before they start to bloom. Doing this will promote more flowers and a thicker, healthier plant, so we recommend it.

Should I Fertilize Hydrangea Before Winter?

You can certainly fertilize hydrangea before its winter dormancy. Although you should do this closer to the fall, adding a bit of acidic plant food to your flower's soil is a great idea.

You also want to fertilize a hydrangea throughout the year, especially during the spring and summer when it's growing the most. Regardless of age, hydrangea does best with regular pruning and fertilizing, so keep that in mind.

ENVY Plant Foods Acid-Loving Plant Food

This fertilizer works on hydrangeas, is water-soluble, has an acidic formula, instantly feeds plants, and comes in a few bag sizes.

Check out this fertilizer on Amazon.

How Long Do Hydrangea Live?

Gorgeous and brightly blooming blue hydrangeas photographed in the garden

Typically, a hydrangea will live around 30-40 years, although yours might exceed 50. These long-lasting flowers will live for decades if you care for them properly and keep them protected through the winter.

With that said, hydrangea does need frequent watering and regular pruning and fertilizing, so your plant will require some attention. If you are up to that challenge, you can expect to see your hydrangea live a long, healthy life.

Do Hydrangeas Come Back Every Year?

Yes! You should see your hydrangea come back each spring after its winter dormancy. Like many plants, hydrangea will lose their foliage during the fall, becoming bare in the winter.

Once springtime hits and the weather warms up, your hydrangea will start to green out, which is when you can add fertilizer and do some light pruning. Of course, if the winter was especially cold and you didn't correctly cover your plant, it might not return to life in the spring, so keep an eye on it.

Is Hydrangea Easy To Grow?

In general, hydrangea will be pretty easy to grow. As mentioned, this plant species does require frequent watering and regular maintenance, but not any more than most flowers.

We recommend trying an oakleaf hydrangea variety if you're a beginner, as it won't be super needy and can handle cold weather. Location can also play a significant role in how well your plant grows, so try to follow its climate and USDA suggestion.

Oakleaf Hydrangea Seeds

These hydrangea seeds come in a pack of 50, have an expected summer bloom time, and grow in zones 5-9.

Click this link to see them on Amazon.

Can You Plant A Hydrangea Anywhere?

You can typically plant a hydrangea anywhere in USDA zones 3-9. As long as your winters don't regularly get below freezing, a hydrangea will do well outdoors, so keep that in mind.

Hydrangeas also thrive in warmer growing zones, meaning people who don't have winter weather can enjoy them year-round.

To Wrap Things Up

Pink and blue Hydrangeas nicely blooming in the garden

Whether you have a few hydrangeas in your yard or want to plant some, knowing how to overwinter them is essential. You want to create an enclosure for outdoor hydrangeas using wood stakes, chicken wire, and mulch or pine needles to protect them from the cold.

It's also a good idea to cut back your hydrangea in the late summer or fall to get it ready for its dormancy. If your hydrangea is potted, you want to cover it with a thermal wrap or foam insulation and move it inside if the weather calls for freezing temperatures.

Regardless, make sure to prepare your hydrangea for the cold, and don't forget to fertilize and prune it regularly.

Before you go, be sure to check out these helpful related plant posts below!

What Is Eating My Hydrangea? [And How To Stop Them]

How To Overwinter Gardenia - In Pots And In Ground

What To Do With Freesia Bulbs After Flowering?