Hydrangeas forum: Young hydrangea

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BobbieinPA
Aug 31, 2016 11:23 AM CST
I started a hydrangea last fall from a cutting and nursed it thru the winter, planted it the end of May in Northeast PA, zone 5. It is doing well but wonder what should I do to protect it this winter? It is only about 6" tall. I thought of packing straw around it held loosely together. Is that a good idea?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 31, 2016 11:36 AM CST
Hi Bobbie and welcome. Well done on starting a hydrangea from a cutting! I do hope you planted it in the ground? If it's in a pot, you need to take extra measures so let us know.

You want your little plant's roots to be insulated from freezing and thawing, and also to have the soil not dry out around it. Mulching the soil around the plant thickly with things like wood chips, straw and leaves can do this job very well. "Packing" straw around it, not so great because if the straw is packed too tightly, it won't let moisture get through to the roots, but might also hold moisture around the stem which could rot it.

So, once the plant loses its leaves in the fall, rake a good 6in. layer of organic materials over the plant, (but mark it with a stake or flag, so you don't lose it's location) but don't "pack" the mulch. Air spaces help insulate and also allow rain and melted snow to get down to the soil. It's ok to leave some stems sticking out above the mulch. Big, established hydrangeas with deep root systems survive some pretty severe winters with just some mulch over the soil. Mulch is always good.
Elaine

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
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Shadegardener
Aug 31, 2016 1:37 PM CST
I read an article years ago about a guy in Chicago who had lots of different hydrangeas in a wooded garden. One of the tricks he used was to set up fencing around his hydrangeas and added fall leaves inside of the fencing. Not packed but just dropped in. Or you could wind burlap around some stakes set in the ground to offer a wind break. Don't let the burlap touch the plant or fold over on top. The wind break could be done in addition to the mulching that Elaine suggests.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 31, 2016 1:39 PM CST
Welcome! Bobbie, do you know what kind of hydrangea it is? That would make a difference to how it fares in winter, some are very hardy and others not so much. I assume last winter it was indoors?

BobbieinPA
Sep 1, 2016 10:55 AM CST
Thanks for all your replies. Yes it was in a pot over last winter but has been in the ground since the middle of May. I do not know the name of this particular hydrangea. I am a volunteer for the meals on wheels program and one of my clients rents an apt that has a huge beautiful hydrangea at his front door. I took a cutting from this plant. After asking of course! It has big purple blossoms on it. I will take the suggestion of stakes around it with burlap and loosely putting leaves inside the burlap. Thank you! BobbieinPA

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