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How to Prepare Hydrangeas for Winter

Hydrangeas are prized for their many flower clusters. There is a hydrangea type that grows well in most climates. There are a variety of colors and types of hydrangeas, but all flower profusely if properly cared for. Winterizing protects the canes of the plants so both new foliage and blooms return the following spring and summer. If hydrangeas are growing in fresh foliage but not blooming each summer, an afternoon in late autumn spent getting them ready for winter helps solve that problem.

Tie the canes of the hydrangea together using a length of nylon rope. Gather them all together as compactly as possible without breaking or bending them too much then tie.

Cut a length of chicken wire with tin snips long enough to encircle the tied together hydrangea. Making it slightly larger allows you to just lift it off the plant in spring without having to take it apart.

Loop the wire around the plant to form a cage. Secure the ends together with plastic zip-ties or wire.

Fill the cage with leaf or pine needle mulch. Alternately use pine boughs trimmed from trees on your property. Mound the mulch over the top of the hydrangea and make sure the tips of the canes are covered.

Remove the mulch in spring before new growth begins and discard it. Store the cage for the next winter.


In areas with winter temperatures that rarely dip below freezing, winterizing isn't necessary.

Some varieties of hydrangea require no winter mulching.


Always check what variety of hydrangea you have. Some varieties of hydrangea should be pruned in fall, while others must be pruned in late winter. Prune fall varieties before caging and late winter varieties when you remove the cage.

Avoid covering in plastic. Plastic rubs on the branch tips and damages the buds.

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