The Q&A Archives: Hydrangeas And Peonys

Question: Is there such thing as an evergreen hydrangea or peony? If not, do I cut them down when they go deciduous? Can you recommend something to plant in front of it that will bloom or stay green when it turns to sticks? (My planter is only 3' deep)

Answer: In mild winter climates some plants normally considered deciduous can retain their leaves over the winter months. This is true of some roses, hydrangeas, and woody (tree) peonies. It's a good practice to pull the old foliage off these plants if your garden does not receive a killing frost by the end of December. Removing the old leaves will reduce the insect and disease problems in your garden and make room for new leaf development on your plants. You can prune your woody plants after they've finished blooming or in very early spring, before new growth begins.

To disguise bare winter branches, you can plant cool season annuals such as snapdragons, pansies, Campanula, Dianthus and Larkspur, or winter blooming bulbs such as Narcissus, Freesia, Anemone or Allium.

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