The Q&A Archives: Potted Climbing Hydrange- Winter Care

Question: I was just given a beautiful Monrovia Climbing Hydrangea- and planted it in an artificial whiskey barrel, filled with a mixture of sifted compost, decomposed manure, soil and sand.

I planted it in the corner of my Manhattan Terrace, so it can climb both the fence and the brick building, as well as the window guards.

I've read that the plant grows slowly till established. How long will that take?

My primary concern is how it will handle the winter in a whiskey barrel. Other than some additional mulching (wood chips?) in October, what else can I do to protect the plant?

Answer: These plants grow slowly for several years and depending on the cultural conditions may take as long as five years to come into bloom. For this reason it may not be the best choice for planting in a container. However, to keep it as happy as possible, make sure to keep the soil evenly moist, use a fertilizer for acid loving plants and an acidic potting mix, and take steps to insulate the roots as best you can each winter. This could be done by heaping mulch around the container or by wrapping the container in insulating materials. Protecting the plant from wind would also be helpful in keeping it hydrated in the winter time.

Good luck with your climbing hydrangea, it is a beautiful plant!

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