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