Asked by: Eleanora Fiet
home and garden landscaping

How do you winterize hydrangeas in Zone 5?

Last Updated: 5th January, 2020

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To winterize hydrangeas, cut back one-third of the plant, and leave them in the ground, as hydrangeas can handle freezing weather during their dormant period. Maintain hydrangeas during the winter season with advice from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.

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Similarly, you may ask, how do you winterize hydrangeas?

A good way to start winterizing hydrangeas is to lay down a thick layer of mulch over their root area. Straw works well for this. For even greater protection, cover the shrub with a wire cage, or build a cage around it with strong stakes and chicken wire. Wrap burlap or insulation cloth around the cage.

Additionally, what do hydrangeas look like in the winter? Many hydrangea species display interesting bark that is most visible in the winter months. Oakleaf hydrangeas are one example. The peeling, shredding bark of older stems reveals rusty, cinnamon-colored twigs underneath. Smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) also have shredding bark.

Similarly, do you need to cut down hydrangeas for winter?

In late winter or early spring, these shrubs can be cut all the way back to the ground. Smooth hydrangeas will produce much larger blooms if pruned hard like this each year, but many gardeners opt for smaller blooms on sturdier stems.

Should hydrangeas be cut back in the fall?

It is easy to grow these hydrangeas because they bloom every year regardless of how they are cared for or treated. They can be pruned to the ground in the fall and they will emerge in the spring with bountiful blooms. However over a period of time this drastic pruning may cause the plant to slowly weaken.

Related Question Answers

Candido Bodalo

Professional

Will hydrangeas grow back if cut down?

Even if you cut canes back to ground level during dormancy, the shrubs will grow back and produce blooms in spring. However, pruning to the ground weakens the stems over time and you may have to stake the plants to keep them upright.

Licinia Fintiktikov

Professional

Can hydrangeas survive a freeze?

Late-season frost can kill tender, new growth on hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.), resulting in little or no blooms in the coming spring and summer months. If new buds have formed during warm spring weather, you should protect the hydrangeas during an unseasonably late frost to ensure full blooming.

Magalie Patois

Explainer

How do you prepare Endless Summer hydrangeas for winter?

Overwintering Endless Summer Hydrangeas
  1. Stop all applications of fertilizer after August 15th to acclimate the plant for winter.
  2. Keep the soil moist through the fall months until the ground is frozen.
  3. Cover the plant with a four-inch layer of organic mulch (wood mulch, leaves, etc.).

Lashunda Luezas

Explainer

How do you prepare lilacs for winter?

  1. Clip off any remaining spent flowers as the plant prepares to go dormant for winter.
  2. Feed lilac bushes with lime fertilizer during the winter to provide it with the nutrients it needs to thrive; lilac bushes prefer a slightly alkaline soil.
  3. Prune back one-third of the oldest branches as far as you can in winter.

Philomena Abbad

Explainer

Should I deadhead hydrangeas?

Since hydrangea blossoms are so big, deadheading a hydrangea makes a real difference in diverting energy to more important parts of the plant's growth. You should carry out this practice all through the blooming season to encourage new blossoms and keep your plant looking fresh.

Margaux Scherpner

Pundit

Should I cut dead blooms off hydrangea?

If it blooms on old wood (stems from the summer before the current one), its buds are being formed, and if you wait too late you may cut them off, meaning no flowers next spring. So these shrubs should be pruned immediately after their flowers fade. They bloom in early summer on old wood, so prune them after flowering.

Loida Indrani

Pundit

How do you winterize peonies?

Cut the foliage to the ground in the fall to avoid any overwintering diseases. Don't smother peonies with mulch. Where cold temperatures are severe, for the first winter after planting you can mulch VERY loosely with pine needles or shredded bark. Remove mulch in the spring.

Ambar Bauerschmitz

Pundit

Can you prune hydrangeas in November?

Fall Blooming
Prune in late winter and early spring. Prune as far back as you want right above the first leaf joints. It will grow from that point onward, getting larger each year. Read more about pruning hydrangeas, and learn whether your shrub blooms on old or new growth in “Pruning Hydrangeas” by Janet Carson.

Othmane Tamhane

Pundit

How do you prune Endless Summer hydrangeas in the fall?

Since Endless Summer® Hydrangeas bloom on last year's growth (“old wood”) as well as the current season's growth (“new wood”), you will get the most flowers by protecting the flower buds on the old wood. To do this, do NOT prune or cut back your shrubs after August 1st.

Arsen Bajona

Pundit

Do you cut back hibiscus in the fall?

For the most part, hibiscus plants can be lightly pruned in late summer or early fall, but no hibiscus pruning should be done during late fall or winter. Therefore, it is oftentimes better to prune dead or weak growth entirely after the plants beginning sprouting in spring.

Pamila Echegarai

Teacher

Do peonies need to be cut back for winter?

These peonies do not die back in the winter, although they could lose their leaves, depending on your climate. Tree peonies need no cutting back. But in spring, you can prune away any dead branches or suckers growing from the base of the plant. You can also prune the tree to control its shape.

Suleimane Tibelius

Teacher

What should you not cut back in the winter?

We avoid winter pruning of spring-flowering plants because they already have their buds (that will be become blooms) and to trim them away means missing out on a flowering season. But, most trees and shrubs are suitable for late winter pruning including apple trees, butterfly bush, tulip trees, and viburnum .

Mamoune Burasch

Teacher

What do you do with hostas in the fall?

Cut back the rest of the greenery on hostas after it has died back in fall – October or early November in coastal areas and up to a month earlier inland. Although it would not hurt the plant to leave withered foliage on the plant, the foliage gives slugs, weevils and assorted rodents a handy shelter until spring.

Shirly Enebral

Teacher

Do you cut back butterfly bushes in the fall?

Regarding your butterfly bush (Buddlia), you are safe to prune it at either time as long as it is late winter moving into early spring. But since butterfly bushes only bloom on new growth many gardeners prune them severely each spring to encourage lots of new growth and lots of flowers.

Arbia Wild

Reviewer

Do you cut back peonies in the fall?

Once the plants start to yellow or brown in the fall they should be cut to the ground. Early fall or after the first frost is the ideal time to cut back the plants. Cutting peonies in the fall helps remove foliar diseases and reduce infection next year. Simply cut all the growth off at the soil level and discard.

Sandra Alexandru

Reviewer

How do you prune roses in the fall?

  1. Prune off dead and fading flowers from your rose bushes in late autumn. Deadheading just before winter makes the bush look tidy.
  2. Remove dead or broken stems and branches. A rough winter wind may rip them off the bush, wounding still-healthy stems.
  3. Cut out suckers as close to the point of origin as possible.

Althea Blaustein

Reviewer

How do you winterize azaleas?

Winter Protection for Azaleas
Azalea winter care begins in fall, when you should slow down and eventually stop irrigating your plants. Cut back on water by about one-third during the autumn months to toughen the plant for winter, then water thoroughly after the first two or three hard freezes.

Abderraman Barrasa

Reviewer

How do you winterize rose bushes?

How to Winterize Your Roses
  1. Prune the bush to three feet tall, cutting above outward-facing buds.
  2. If there are any leaves, pull them off.
  3. Tie the canes together using synthetic twine that will not decay over winter.
  4. Spray the canes with dormant oil spray, which protects them from diseases in the soil.

Renay Cirjan

Supporter

How do you prepare rhododendrons for winter?

  1. Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the rhododendron to protect the roots.
  2. Cover the rhododendron plant with an anti-desiccant spray before the first frost arrives.
  3. Water the plants well until the first frost.
  4. Protect the rhododendron from strong winter winds with burlap.