The Q&A Archives: Caring for Lacecap Hydrangea in Zone 5

Question: A neighbor received a lace hydrangea as a gift and is wondering if she can plant it outside or keep it as a houseplant. Which do you recommend? Barb Stevens Omro, WI

Answer: Many lacecap hydrangeas are rated to zone 6; some are rated down to zone 5; you are located in zone 5. That means you are on the very edge of the hardiness zone. What may happen is that your friend will get good foliage growth during the summer, butthe plant will die back to the ground in the winter. It will grow again from the crown the following summer, again producing good foliage but, since hydrangeas flower on year-old wood, it's likely that your friend may not get flowers. I would suggest your friend choose a protected spot--out of the harshest winter winds; perhaps on a south-facing side of the house. Mulch well. Encourage her to provide winter protection -- wrapping the bush in burlap in late fall -- she may be able, in some years,to get some flowers. Since hydrangeas require a period of dormancy, the plant will likely not flourish as an indoor house plant.

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