The Q&A Archives: Hydrangea Care

Question: I recently purchased and planted 2 hydranga plants. They looked wonderful until last night when the temperature dipped into the 20s. I covered the flowers but this morning the pink flowers turned brown. Are the plants dead? Should I cut the flower shoots off? How in general do I care for these plants during the various seasons?

Answer: There are a number of hydrangea's, but the most commonly grown is Hydrangea macrophylla, or big leaf hydrangea. These plants like some shade from hot afternoon sun. If the flowers were affected by cold weather, prune them off. Hydrangeas produce blossoms on new shoots that grow from the previous year's wood. If you prune carefully after the blooms are spent, taking one-third to one-half of the old wood, new flowering shoots will appear the following spring. Plant in rich, porous soil (amend with compost or peat moss to retain just the right amount of moisture), and mulch the root zone to help suppress weeds. Hydrangeas are fast growing shrubs. Prune the flowering stems back to the ground each year to make room for new stems that will produce flowers.

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