December 8


Complete Guide to Winterizing Hydrangeas: Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Plants Healthy During the Cold Months

How to winterize hydrangeas

As winter approaches, it’s important to prepare your hydrangeas for the colder temperatures. Chris Smith, a horticulturist at the University of Illinois Extension, advises that winterizing hydrangeas depends on the climate in which they are growing, as well as whether they are planted in the ground or in pots.

For those in colder climates, where temperatures regularly dip below freezing, Chris suggests taking extra steps to protect your hydrangeas. One option is to fill the pots with mulch or other insulating materials to prevent the roots from freezing. Another idea is to use cones to cover the plant and provide additional protection from frost.

In milder climates, where temperatures may not dip as low, you may only need to prune the dead flowers and leave the plant exposed. However, Chris advises that even in these climates, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take some preventive measures.

Whether you have your hydrangeas planted in pots or in the ground, there are several things you can do to winterize them. One option is to cut the plant back to about a foot above the ground. This includes removing any dead or diseased branches. Then, you can cover the base of the plant with a thick layer of mulch to insulate it from freezing temperatures.

Another idea is to create a border around your hydrangeas using burlap or another insulating material. This will help protect the plant from harsh winds and drying out during the winter months.

In summary, winterizing hydrangeas depends on the climate and the specific growing conditions. Whether you choose to fill pots with mulch, cover the plant with cones, prune dead flowers, or create a border, the goal is to provide insulation and protection for the plant during the colder months. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your hydrangeas will survive the winter and come back strong and beautiful in the spring.

How to winterize hydrangeas – do they all need protection

When winter arrives, many gardeners start to wonder how to winterize their hydrangeas. The answer to whether or not all hydrangeas need protection during the winter depends on the specific type of hydrangea and the climate in which they are growing.

Types of hydrangeas that need winter protection

Some types of hydrangeas are more sensitive to cold temperatures than others. Hydrangeas that are grown in pots, for example, require extra protection because their roots are more exposed and susceptible to freezing.

Hydrangeas that are less hardy, such as the Endless Summer and Oakleaf varieties, also need winter protection. These types of hydrangeas may not survive freezing temperatures if left unprotected.

How to protect your hydrangeas during the winter

If you have hydrangeas that need winter protection, there are a few things you can do to ensure their survival. Start by cutting back any dead flowers or foliage. This will help minimize the risk of disease and pests over the winter months.

Next, make sure to fill the base of the hydrangea with a layer of mulch. This will help insulate the roots and protect them from freezing temperatures. You can also use frost cones or burlap to cover the entire plant, providing an extra layer of protection.

If you live in a climate that typically experiences milder winters, you may not need to provide as much protection for your hydrangeas. However, it’s always a good idea to monitor the weather and make adjustments as necessary.

Other ideas for winterizing hydrangeas

Other ideas for winterizing hydrangeas

In addition to the above steps, there are a few other ideas for winterizing hydrangeas. One option is to move potted hydrangeas indoors during the winter months. This will provide them with additional protection from the cold.

You can also consider planting hydrangeas in sheltered areas, such as near walls or fences, to provide some natural protection from the elements. Additionally, some gardeners advise wrapping the base of the hydrangea with burlap or insulating material to help protect the roots.


In conclusion, not all hydrangeas need winter protection, but some types and climates require it. It’s important to know the specific needs of your hydrangeas and to prepare accordingly. By following these tips and monitoring the weather, you can help ensure that your hydrangeas make it through the winter and bloom again the following year.

Should hydrangeas be cut back for winter

When it comes to winterizing hydrangeas, there is often a debate about whether or not to cut them back. Some gardeners believe that cutting back hydrangeas in the winter helps to protect the plants from the freezing temperatures. Others argue that leaving the plants intact is the best way to ensure their survival.

Chris, a horticulture expert, advises that whether or not you should cut back your hydrangeas for winter depends on the growing zone and climate in which you live. In colder climates where temperatures regularly dip below freezing, it is typically recommended to cut back hydrangeas. However, in milder climates where temperatures rarely reach freezing, leaving the plants as they are might be a better option.

If you decide to cut back your hydrangeas for winter, here are some ideas to help you prepare:

  1. Start by removing any dead or diseased branches. This will help to prevent the spread of disease and promote healthy growth in the spring.
  2. Next, prune the hydrangeas to a manageable size. This means cutting them back to a height that you can easily cover with a protective winter mulch or cone.
  3. If you have hydrangeas in pots, consider bringing them indoors for the winter. Potted hydrangeas are more susceptible to freezing temperatures and may not be able to withstand the cold as well as those planted in the ground.
  4. For hydrangeas planted in the garden, you can fill the base of the plant with a layer of mulch to help insulate the roots and protect them from freezing.

It’s important to note that not all hydrangeas should be cut back for winter. Some varieties, like the Annabelle hydrangea, produce new growth on old wood. If you prune these hydrangeas in the winter, you may be cutting off next year’s flowers. To determine whether or not your hydrangea blooms on old wood, consult a gardening resource or do some research on your specific variety.

In conclusion, whether or not to cut back your hydrangeas for winter depends on several factors, including your climate and the specific variety of hydrangea. If you live in a colder zone, it is generally advised to prune and protect your hydrangeas. However, in milder climates, leaving them as they are might be the best course of action. Always consult a gardening expert or resource for specific advice on winterizing your hydrangeas.

How do you prepare hydrangeas for winter

Preparing hydrangeas for winter is essential to ensure their survival during the colder months. When to start preparing your hydrangeas for winter depends on your growing zone and the specific climate in your area.

Here are some ideas to help you make your hydrangeas withstand cold temperatures and come back strong in the spring:

1. Pruning

Start by pruning your hydrangeas in late fall or early winter, once they have finished flowering for the year. However, it’s important to note that not all hydrangeas should be pruned. Some hydrangea varieties bloom on old wood, so pruning them in fall may remove potential flower buds for the next year. It’s best to research the specific hydrangea variety you have and follow the appropriate pruning guidance.

2. Mulch

Before the ground freezes, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the hydrangea plants. This helps insulate the roots and retain moisture during the winter months. Use materials such as straw, pine needles, or shredded bark to create a thick layer of mulch.

3. Protecting container-grown hydrangeas

If you have hydrangeas growing in pots, whether they are in-ground or container-grown, you should take extra precautions to protect them from the cold. Move the pots to a sheltered area, such as a garage or basement, where the temperature remains above freezing. You can also insulate the pots with materials like burlap or wrap them in bubble wrap to provide added protection.

4. Wrapping with burlap or cones

4. Wrapping with burlap or cones

In regions with particularly cold winters, it may be necessary to wrap the entire hydrangea plant with burlap or place a protective cone around it. This helps shield the plant from strong winds and extreme temperatures. Make sure to remove the wrapping or cone in the spring once the risk of freezing has passed.

5. Watering

Hydrangeas still need water during the winter months, especially if there is a lack of rainfall. Before the ground freezes, give your hydrangeas one final thorough watering to ensure they have enough moisture to survive through the winter.

6. Keep an eye on your plants

Throughout the winter, periodically check on your hydrangeas, especially during thaw periods, to make sure they are not exposed to freezing temperatures or drying out. If necessary, provide additional protection or moisture as needed.

In conclusion, preparing hydrangeas for winter includes pruning, mulching, protecting container-grown plants, wrapping with burlap or cones, watering, and monitoring their condition. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your hydrangeas survive the winter and continue to thrive in your garden year after year.

How to winterize hydrangeas in pots

When it comes to winterizing hydrangeas, the method you choose depends on the climate you live in. Hydrangeas are generally hardy plants, but their ability to withstand freezing temperatures varies. Whether you have potted hydrangeas on your patio or in your garden, it’s important to prepare them for the colder months to ensure their survival.

1. Assess the climate

The first step in winterizing hydrangeas in pots is to determine the climate in your area. Different hydrangea varieties have different hardiness levels, and it’s essential to know which zone you are in. Check the hardiness zone map to find out if your hydrangeas can tolerate the winter conditions in your region.

2. Pruning and deadheading

Before winter comes, it’s recommended to start pruning your hydrangeas. Remove any dead or damaged branches, as well as old flowers. This will help the plants redirect their energy towards essential growth and protect them from diseases and pests that can thrive in decaying material.

3. Protect the roots

3. Protect the roots

Hydrangeas in pots are more vulnerable to freezing temperatures than those planted in the ground. To protect the root system, you can insulate the pots by wrapping them with bubble wrap or burlap. This will provide an additional layer of insulation and prevent the roots from being exposed to extreme cold.

4. Move to a sheltered location

4. Move to a sheltered location

If temperatures drop significantly in your area, it’s best to move your potted hydrangeas to a sheltered location, such as a garage or shed. This will provide them with some protection from freezing winds and temperatures. Just make sure the area is well-ventilated and receives a sufficient amount of light.

5. Water and mulch

Hydrangeas need less water during the winter, but they still require some moisture. Water your potted hydrangeas thoroughly and then mulch the base with a layer of organic material, such as straw or wood chips. This will help retain moisture and regulate the temperature around the roots.

6. Reconsider leaving hydrangeas in pots

While it is possible to successfully winterize hydrangeas in pots, it may be easier to plant them in the ground if you live in a particularly harsh climate. Hydrangeas planted in the ground are more protected from extreme temperatures and have a better chance of surviving through winter. Consider transitioning your potted hydrangeas into the ground, especially if they have been in pots for several years.

Keep in mind that these are general ideas for winterizing hydrangeas in pots. It’s always best to consult with a local gardening expert or check specific recommendations for the hydrangea variety you are growing. Chris advises hydrangea enthusiasts to make a checklist with the steps to follow, ensuring that no important task is missed.


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