The Q&A Archives: How do I winterize my hydrangia?

Question: I live in New York City and my hydrangia is on the roof. How do I winterize this plant to insure blooms next year? Cut it back? Mulch? Feed?
Many thanks,
Ginger Marshall

Answer: Most hydrangeas bloom on wood that grew the year before, so you need to protect the branches or stems during the winter. (Also, do not prune it back as this will remove flowering wood. And do not fertilize, this can encourage late season growth that will not harden by winter.) Start by providing as much wind protection as possible. In late fall after it has gone dormant, wrap the plant in burlap and fill in around the plant with a non packing insulating material such as dry oak leaves or dry straw. Then heap mulch around the container to insulate the roots. Water the soil as needed to keep the soil slightly moist but not sopping wet (do not water when it is frozen). With luck, it will make it through. In spring, unwrap it gradually so it can wake up with the season. In spring, be prepared to cover it should frost threaten after the buds have begun to swell. Good luck with your hydrangea!

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