Hydrangeas forum: hydrangea help

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earlenegoo
Oct 23, 2014 7:34 AM CST
I have two small hydrangea plants in a combo pot (with geraniums) from my local garden center. Cool weather is upon us here in Central Virginia. I'm going back and forth between setting the hydrangeas in the ground or in giant pots, one on either side of the garage door.

Do they lose their leaves in the winter? I really want winter color like pansies in those pots. Will the roots freeze? We could get into the twenty area of temps, sometimes lower. Our soil is terrible red clay. We live in a gated community where the gardeners pile the mulch too high, so we could mix it into the holes for the hydrangeas in the ground.

Yet, I can picture beautifully large blooms beside the garage doors if the plants do well in the pots. I came to this idea because I just set burgandy wedding train coleus in their own small pots on top of the soil in the giant pot. It was supposed to be a temporary thing. Soon the coleus tripled in size. The roots grew out of the little pots and down into the giant pots. They will die very soon when we get into the forties. That's when I began to wonder if the hydrangea would do the same if I make the giant pots their home.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 23, 2014 8:24 AM CST
Hi, and welcome to ATP. Hope we can help with this.

Your bad clay soil is not a good situation for hydrangeas, as they like an acid, loamy soil. They should be hardy in your climate zone in the ground for sure. But in pots they will be much more susceptible to freezing. How big are the giant pots? Are they in the sun during the day in winter? (south or west facing?) This would warm them up daily, and possibly keep them from cooling off enough to freeze at night. Also being close to the wall of the garage could help. Any way you could drag them into the garage on particularly cold nights?

Yes, they will lose their leaves over the winter, but you could plant the pansies in the giant pots so there will be color even though the hydrangeas don't have their leaves. If the hydrangeas survive this winter, there might not be room for pansies next year though.

Take some cuttings of your coleus before it gets bit by the cold, bring them in and root them in a glass of water for new plants in the spring. (just in case the hydrangeas die in the giant pots, it really depends upon how cold the winter is) Coleus make pretty little house plants on a windowsill through the winter.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

earlenegoo
Oct 23, 2014 9:17 AM CST
Thank you. We will put the hydrangeas in the ground. Your answer was spot on. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Oct 23, 2014 9:35 AM CST
Glad to help. Just remember to amend, amend! amend! that heavy clay with as much leafy compost-y stuff as you can before you plant, then also mulch those babies deeply for the winter.

Being planted this late, they won't have much chance to put roots down and that makes them a little more vulnerable to cold. The mulch will help stabilize the soil temperature (prevents freezing and thawing which causes the ground to "heave" ) as well as keep the moisture level up.

Another method to over-winter would be to dig a hole and bury the pots (the ones that they are in now, not the giant ones Big Grin ) and mulch deeply over the whole thing. Then in spring if you still want them in the giant pots, they'd be easy to transplant and not rooted into that blasted clay.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Oct 23, 2014 9:51 AM CST
I agree with this method from @dyzzypyxxy Thumbs up
"Another method to over-winter would be to dig a hole and bury the pots (the ones that they are in now, not the giant ones Big Grin ) and mulch deeply over the whole thing. Then in spring if you still want them in the giant pots, they'd be easy to transplant and not rooted into that blasted clay."

The plant will suffer less doing it this temporary way; when the spring comes the plant will be in 'grow mode' and should thrive once you finally get in planted in-ground.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

earlenegoo
Oct 23, 2014 1:22 PM CST
Hmmmm. Another choice. Thanks again.

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