Hydrangea Winter Care: Tips and Tricks for Colder Months

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pexels - Magda Ehlers

Some hydrangea varieties need to be overwintered. We will explain when they need to be moved to a warmer location and what you should pay attention to when it comes to hydrangea winter care.

Hydrangeas are a type of flowering shrub that grows in the greatest variety in Asia. You can either plant them directly in the garden or grow them as potted plants. They are generally known to be quite hardy, meaning that as a general rule, you don’t need to worry too much about a special hydrangea winter care. However, there are some exceptions.

Hydrangea Winter Care: When is it Necessary?

Although these blooming plants are considered hardy, there are situations when hydrangeas need winter care to protect them from ice, frost, and cold. Depending on your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone, you may need to protect all your plants over the winter months. You must winterize:

  • hydrangeas planted in pots and containers
  • certain hydrangea varieties (like big-leaf) – even if they are planted in a bed
  • newly planted hydrangeas in their first winter
  • all types of hydrangeas in regions with severe winters

Overwintering Potted Hydrangeas 

hydrangea winter care
Potted hydrangeas, like most potted perennials, need extra attention come wintertime. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - congerdesign )

If you have planted hydrangeas in containers, there are two ways to get them through the winter: you can either overwinter them in a frost-proof space or shield the plants from the cold.

Proper hydrangea winter care is easiest if you have a protected location where you can store your plants during the cold months. This can be an unheated greenhouse, a cellar, or any other dark room where the temperature does not exceed 40˚F. Avoid the temptation to overwinter the plants in warmer rooms: this isn’t good for your hydrangeas.

If you don’t have a suitable space, you can overwinter hydrangeas in the garden with frost protection. For this method of hydrangea winter care, you’ll need:

  • Bubble wrap (to avoid plastic waste, try to use the same pieces every year)
  • coconut fiber or jute fabric
  • dry autumn leaves
  • string

Wrap the bubble wrap in several layers around the pot. Then wrap a layer of coconut fiber (available on Amazon**) or jute fabric around the pot. Make sure that it is at least four inches above the edge. Secure the wrapping with string and cover the surface of the pot with a thick layer of foliage.

Frost Protection for Outdoor Hydrangeas

potted hydrangea
Make sure you don’t accidentally break the branches of your hydrangea plant in the fall. The new blooms for next year are already stored in the branches. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Simone Dalmeri)

To provide hydrangea winter care to plants that are in your garden, you will need:

  • foliage
  • fir branches

Heap plenty of foliage around the hydrangea bush and cover it with the fir branches. This protects the shrub and keeps the foliage from blowing away. On particularly cold days and nights, you can also cover the plants with garden fleece to provide further protection.

This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Hortensien überwintern: Tipps für Pflanzen in Kübeln und kälteempfindliche Arten

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