Hydrangea Winter Care
Hydrangeas are extremely popular thanks to their large, beautiful blooms with the flowers lasting from late spring into the autumn. Most Hydrangeas are winter hardy, but it is important to follow the correct steps for winter care to create the best conditions for the beautiful flowers. In this guide, Will Williams, Soto Co-founder, creative director and five times RHS medal winner give five tips on how to look after hydrangeas in the cooler months.
Protecting your hydrangeas in winter
At Soto we are often asked, ‘Does a hydrangea die in winter?’ or ‘Can a hydrangea survive winter?’. Hydrangeas are hardy and offer wonderful winter interest. Some simple steps in early winter can protect any potential winter damage and guard hydrangea plants against any winter temperatures.
In harsh conditions, some plants people advocate bringing potted hydrangeas into the house or shelter. Others suggest using chicken wire to protect hydrangeas planted in borders and adding pine needles to the soil for added insulation. In the UK, the Soto team recommend concentrating on five simple steps to prepare hydrangeas for winter.
Five Tips for Hydrangea winter care
- Avoid pruning Hydrangeas in the Autumn or winter! The flower buds protect the hydrangea in winter from freezing temperatures and add winter interest in your garden. One reason the Soto team love Hydrangeas so much is for their beautiful skeletal form in the winter.
- Prune hydrangeas before the first frost. If you prefer the aesthetic of a cut back hydrangea, it is important to do this before the ground freezes. Not all hydrangeas should be pruned in the same way, and it is important to understand when to cut yours back. Hydrangea Limelight, Hydrangea Little Lime and Hydrangea Annabelle, cut the hydrangea stems down to about 20cm or by one third. You can take away so much because they flower on new growth. The Hydrangea Libelle, which is also known as Hydrangea macrophylla Hydrangea, flowers on growth from the previous year, so only take away the tired blooms and prune down to a flowering bud (node) to avoid taking away next year’s flowers. A Climbing Hydrangea should be pruned and shaped after the summer. Watch the Pruning your Hydrangea video for a demonstration on how and where to cut a hydrangea.
- To help prepare growing hydrangeas for winter, add a fine bark mulch to the base of the hydrangea plant. Remove the top inch of compost and replace with the mulch to add a layer of protection for the winter season. This not only helps to insulate around plant, this also will protect the soil, and its nutrients, from the inevitable heavy rain.
- Every hydrangea type loves water! Make sure they are well hydrated throughout the year, including the autumn and winter. Big long drinks are best when watering hydrangeas. Follow our Masterclass on when, how, what to avoid when watering.
- Move potted hydrangeas to a sheltered spot if your garden is exposed to icy winter winds.