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How to Save Frozen Hydrangeas

hydrangea image by L. Shat from

Beautiful, lush hydrangeas make a statement in any garden with their large, colorful blooms and their ability fill in any space. While they can thrive in sun and shade, one thing that can stop you from being able to see healthy growth and blooms is freeze damage. This is often caused by early leafing followed by a late spring frost. While your hydrangea may not look its best, there is a way to save frozen hydrangeas.

Wait until you see new growth along the base of your hydrangea. Although you’ll want to “fix” your plant right away, waiting until new growth begins will ensure your plant still has the ability to grow.

Cut off any of the brown or black leaves which have been damaged by freeze by using pruning shears. Cut as close to the stem the leaf originates from as possible without clipping the stem.

Place clipped leaves into a plastic bag and clear away any dropped leaves from the base of the plant as well. Discard the bag rather than adding to the composter.

Allow the plant to grow undisturbed for the first year after the damage. Depending on your variety of hydrangea you may or may not see blooms the first summer, but you should expect blooms the following year.

Prune and fertilize in the spring of the following year, improving the shape of your plant and removing dead blooms which may remain. Provided you don’t encounter another freeze, your plant should fill in areas where leaves were missing the prior year.


Remember the phrase “the best things come to those who wait” as you look for new growth on your damaged plant. You don’t want to remove the leaves too soon or you may strain your plant.

If you wait for new growth and see barely any, then you’ll know your hydrangea is a severely damaged plant which may be beyond repair. Cut the damaged limbs back and allow the plant to grow as it can through the following year. If your plant can recover it will regain its size over time.

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