How to Winterize Hydrangea

Hydrangea image by myrabbits/


According to the United States National Arboretum, there are "approximately 23 species of hydrangea; only five are widely cultivated in the U.S.," with the more often chosen being the big-leaf or French hydrangea. With proper care and winterizing, hydrangeas will bloom for many seasons.

Hydrangeas in Warmer Areas

Step 1

Water hydrangea bushes after the blooming season. The bush needs 1 inch of water each week. If the bush is wilting in the morning, water thoroughly.

Step 2

Mound pine needle mulch underneath the hydrangea, mounding it up beside the base. If the hydrangea is planted near pine trees, rake the fallen pine needles under the bush. The acidity in the pine needles can change the pH in the soil and, in some cases, will change pink hydrangea blossoms to blue.

Step 3

Spread a layer of mulch or decaying leaves over the pine needles. This not only helps retain soil moisture and heat, it also helps to hold the pine needles in place during rain.

Hydrangeas in Cooler Areas

Step 1

Make a cage that fits around the hydrangea. It can be made with chicken wire or cardboard. Leave sufficient room within the cage to cover the entire plant and not damage the branches.

Step 2

Fill the cage with decaying leaves or pine needle mulch. Cover the tips and avoid breaking the branches.

Step 3

Rake extra leaves and place them in bags. Store the bags in a place that does not freeze, like the garage. If the insulating materials settles in the cage, add leaves from the bags.

Things You'll Need

  • Pine needle mulch or pine needles
  • Rake
  • Mulch or decaying leaves
  • Cage made from chicken wire or cardboard (optional)


  • "The Complete Garden Flower Book"; Catie Ziller, publisher; 2001

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: Hydrangea
  • Hydrangea Hydrangeas: Winter Protection
Keywords: perennials, winterizing shrubs, hydrangeas

About this Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.

Photo by: myrabbits/