Hydrangea care in the fall and preparation for wintering

The heat-loving and whimsical garden hydrangea can be found more and more often in backyards and summer cottages. To achieve a colorful and luxurious flowering of this shrub, you will have to work hard, especially in autumn, when the flower buds of the next season are laid. Consider the main nuances of pre-winter crop care and preparation for wintering.

Features of wintering hydrangeas

Hydrangeas grown in our gardens endure wintering in different ways. The most winter-hardy are considered to be paniculate varieties that can survive cold down to -35 ...- 30 ° C. With more severe frosts, the branches may freeze completely, but with the arrival of heat, the bush releases new root shoots and quickly recovers. Although flowering in this case can be expected only for the next season.

Treelike species are slightly less cold-resistant; in severe cold, the tips of the shoots can freeze. But since flower buds in them, like in paniculate ones, are formed on the shoots of the current year, this practically does not affect flowering. Large-leaved hydrangea does not tolerate even light frosts, the plant can be seriously damaged even when the temperature drops to -5 ° C. Since the buds are formed only on last year's growth, then due to freezing of the flower buds, you can not wait at all.

Large-leaved hydrangea is considered the least hardy

Freshly planted and young plants also do not differ in particular winter hardiness and require obligatory shelter for the winter.

The optimal timing of work on the preparation of hydrangeas for the winter in the Moscow region, in the Urals and in other regions

Preparatory work begins about 5-7 weeks before the onset of a stable cold snap with negative temperatures... Particular importance is attached to the final stage - directly a shelter for the winter, since the survival of plants in winter depends on the timeliness of this event. This should be done when the thermometer no longer rises above the -3 ... 0 ° C mark.

Since the climate varies significantly on the territory of our vast homeland, the optimal timing of the pre-winter warming preparation of hydrangea bushes is different:

  • in the northern latitudes (Siberia, the Urals), where autumn comes before everyone else, you need to deal with hydrangea from the end of September to the beginning of October;
  • in the middle lane (including the Moscow region) with a milder climate, the bushes are covered a couple of weeks later - until mid-October;
  • in the south, where autumn is long and warm, the work must be completed before the first days of November.

Treatment of the root zone of the bush

Preparation of hydrangea bushes begins with cleaning the area... In the root zone, you need to put things in order by collecting all plant debris (fallen petals and foliage, sticks, twigs, etc.). During the entire time remaining until winter, planting must be regularly weeded out, removing weeds. The soil under the bushes is periodically dug shallowly (3-5 cm) or loosened (after watering it is necessary), breaking the earthen crust and improving the aeration of the root system. Then a layer of mulch of 5-6 cm is laid from the mowed grass, humus, pine needles, cones, sawdust, etc.

All collected plant residues must be burned, since spores of fungal diseases remain on them, and insect pests are often equipped for the winter.

Watering rules

Hydrangeas are very moisture-loving, therefore, even in autumn, the ground under them must be kept moist. If natural precipitation does not fall and the weather is warm, dry, then the bushes are watered about once every 5-7 days, spending about 15-20 liters of water for each. If there is an excessive amount of liquid falling from the sky, the planting should be covered with plastic wrap (to avoid waterlogging). When the air cools down to +6 ... + 8 ° C at night, the plants are moistened less and less often. Watering is completely stopped when the temperature drops to 0 ° C.

Even in autumn, hydrangea needs to be watered if the weather is dry.

For hydrangeas, it is not customary to carry out pre-winter water-charging irrigation, because the shoots will absorb excess liquid, which, when frozen, will increase in volume and tear the stem from the inside.

Autumn top dressing: timing and rules for fertilizing

The shrub weakened by flowering must be fed, since in the autumn the growth of the root system continues, accumulating a supply of nutrients for the winter... Fertilizers are applied at the very end of the growing season:

  • in the south - until the end of October;
  • in the middle lane - from late September to early October;
  • in the northern regions - in the second September decade.

In autumn, mineral compositions with a high content of potassium and phosphorus are used, spending on one adult plant (for young bushes, the amount is reduced in half):

  • complex fertilizers marked "Autumn" (according to the instructions);
  • superphosphate / double superphosphate - 35–40 g / 15–20 g and potassium sulfate - 15–20 g;
  • potassium monophosphate - 50–55 g.

Autumn fertilizer for hydrangea should be nitrogen-free

Dry granules are scattered in a near-trunk circle into a pre-moistened soil and shallowly dripped with a rake, embedded in the soil. Fertilizers can be dissolved in a bucket of water and fertilized with this nutrient composition by combining top dressing with watering.

Nitrogen-containing fertilizers cannot be used in late summer and autumn, as this will inevitably cause the appearance of young shoots. Before the cold weather, they will not have time to mature and become lignified, in winter they will still freeze, and the vital juices will be taken away from the plant.

Technology for pruning tree, paniculate and large-leaved varieties in autumn

Pruning hydrangea bushes is included in the set of mandatory autumn procedures... In principle, it is possible to cut the shrub in the spring, but it is difficult to guess the exact time of the events, because not everyone has access to the site immediately after winter. Untimely intervention in the life of a plant leads to abundant sap outflow, which greatly depletes it and can even lead to the death of young or weakened specimens. Therefore, most gardeners prefer to cut out the hydrangea bushes in late autumn, when the first frost hits and the foliage completely falls off.

The technology of work is different for different types of hydrangeas. In paniculate varieties, in autumn, they try to remove only faded brushes, and also carry out sanitary cleaning, removing weak, broken, twisted, damaged and other suspicious branches. The main pruning is postponed until spring.

Some summer residents do not cut off the faded caps of hydrangeas, believing that they decorate the winter garden. But the branches may not withstand the weight of the snow that has fallen (if the winters are snowy) and break, so it is still better to remove the old inflorescences.

It is better to cut off faded brushes.

Treelike varieties prone to more shoots cut harder:

  • remove all zero thin shoots coming from the rhizome;
  • shorten all the shoots of the past season, leaving only 3-4 pairs of strong, strong buds;
  • thin out, freeing the bush from thickening, growing inward, crossing and rubbing against each other increments;
  • diseased, broken, weak and old (more than 4 years old) branches are cut out.

Treelike hydrangeas in the fall can be trimmed "to zero", carrying out a cardinal rejuvenating procedure. In this case, the bush is cut out completely, only stumps with a height of 12-15 cm remain.

Large-leaved varieties require a careful approach and careful autumn pruning, since you can accidentally remove the excess and then flowering for next year will be weak or not at all. Young shoots of this season, which have not yet bloomed, are not touched in any way, since it is on them that flower buds are formed. Sanitary pruning is carried out with the removal of diseased, damaged, thin and weak stems. Also subject to cutting:

  • Biennial (before last year) faded branches.
  • Wilted inflorescences. Moreover, they are cut off, before reaching the first pair of kidneys, about 1.5–2 cm.

The main crown-forming and anti-aging measures are left for the spring, when it will be clear how the plant survived the winter. Young bushes (of all types) that have not reached three years old, it is also better not to touch until warm.

Different types of hydrangeas are pruned in different ways.

In order for the shoots to ripen better and quickly become covered with a thick protective bark, it is recommended to cut off all the lower leaves on the branches at the very beginning of autumn. The remaining foliage, if it does not fall off by itself, is removed after the onset of cold weather. But the uppermost leaf blades are not touched, as they protect the flower buds.

Treatment against diseases and pests

In late autumn, while the air temperature has not yet dropped below +5 ... + 7 ° C, but the foliage has already flown around, it is necessary to carry out preventive treatment of hydrangea bushes from diseases and insect pests. The shrub and soil in the trunk circle is sprayed with copper sulfate (1%) or Bordeaux liquid (3%).

Shelter hydrangeas for the winter

Treelike and paniculate hydrangeas, characterized by good winter hardiness, there is no need to cover for the winter, it is enough to insulate only the root system. To do this, you need to huddle the bush, throwing a hill about 20-25 cm high and at least 30-40 cm in diameter made of peat, humus or just garden soil.

Large-leaved varieties, as well as newly planted young bushes, need the most careful and thorough shelter. Work begins when daytime temperatures do not drop below +6 ... + 8 ° C, and at night it is not colder than +2 ... + 4 ° C. This can be done in several ways:

  • Spruce branches, boards, film or other insulating material that excludes contact with the ground are laid out under the bushes. The shoots are gently tilted, evenly distributed to the sides (fanned out) and fixed in this position with brackets or hooks (you can simply press down with bricks or boards). Cover the top with a layer of any agromaterial that allows air to pass through, and cover the structure with leaf litter, sawdust, shavings, etc. On top of everything, lay polyethylene with ventilation holes made in it. For better snow retention, more branches or spruce branches are thrown.

    Branches need to be spread apart and bent to the ground

  • The branches are pulled together in a tight bundle, fixed with ropes, and wrapped in several layers of burlap or agrotextile. Then a rigid frame is built from a netting, boards, roofing material or cardboard, which is filled with a loose insulating filler (dry leaves, needles, etc.). Cover with a waterproof lid made of a piece of roofing material, plastic or film.

    The bush wrapped in agro-cloth is covered with dry foliage

  • A metal frame made of arcs is mounted above the bush, and breathable agrofibre is pulled over it in several layers. A plastic wrap is laid on top. The resulting structure is filled with dry leaves.

    The air-frame shelter is the easiest to install

In Siberia, few are at risk of growing hydrangeas. Our neighbor has a beautiful white bush that insulates very thoroughly before wintering. She uses two different-sized frames. On the smaller one it stretches 2-3 layers of spunbond, and on the upper, larger one - a thick film. An air gap of 10–15 cm remains between the layers of materials. Around the perimeter, the entire structure is sprinkled with earth so that there are no cracks, and then in November, after snowfalls, a snowdrift is thrown over the top.

Video: garden hydrangeas - care, pruning and wintering

Preparing hydrangea, especially its large-leaved varieties, is quite troublesome for wintering. But this cannot be done without it, because the future flowering of this magnificent shrub depends on the correct autumn care and high-quality pre-winter preparation.

Whether or not to cut the hydrangea is not a difficult question, for this you need to find out which frost resistance zone the planted variety in the garden belongs to. It is known from history that the plant was previously grown as an indoor plant and it came from warm Eastern countries.

But, thanks to breeding work, new varieties are fully surviving the winters of the Middle Belt, and some even in Siberia and the Urals. In the southern regions, pruning should be done only for rejuvenation and crown formation.

Terms of autumn feeding

They begin to prepare hydrangea for wintering from the end of August or the beginning of September. By this time, the shrub had already bloomed and stopped growing new shoots. The main task of the gardener is to replenish the balance of nutrients in the soil depleted during active vegetation and flowering. Before the onset of frost, the stems of the hydrangea should be covered with a dense layer of bark. The root system must accumulate a supply of water and necessary elements.

The first autumn feeding is carried out in September, when the roots of the plant actively absorb nutrients from the soil. The next time to feed the shrub should be after the formative and sanitary pruning of the shoots. The duration depends on the climatic conditions. As a rule, it coincides with the beginning of leaf fall. The last time a hydrangea is fertilized with organic matter at the same time as a shelter for the winter.

How to prune hydrangeas in the fall and is it worth doing

For many, the question remains as to whether it is necessary to prune the hydrangea in the fall, since many gardeners prefer to postpone this process until early spring. Definitely needed. This is an important step in preparing the plant for winter.

There are such types of pruning:

  • solid (radical)
  • cosmetic.

The first option implies the release of plants from old branches. There is no benefit from this part of the bush. The vacated areas will become suitable for the emergence and active growth of new branches, which will bloom and decorate the garden in the future.

Cosmetic pruning is needed in order to clear the bushes of deformed shoots. Such a measure will avoid thickening, as well as the appearance and further growth of diseased and damaged parts of the plant.

During pruning, excess branches are removed as low as possible, 5-7 cm from the ground. All work must be carried out using an exceptionally well-sharpened tool. Those bushes, which are not more than 3 years old, can only be subjected to cosmetic pruning. And already more mature plants should be rid of old branches.

Pruning different varieties

For each variety, this procedure is carried out individually. For instance, large-leaved the hydrangea must be shortened to remove deformed shoots. This procedure allows you to make the bush more beautiful. Flower buds of such plants are laid even in summer, which means that their flowering is carried out on last year's shoots.

Tree-like needs to remove old dried flowers. In spring, pruning is also carried out, but it is carried out as a sanitary one. Young processes are shortened, leaving no more than 5 buds on them. Thanks to this procedure, the flowering of the bush will be more abundant in the future.

Paniculata the hydrangea is pruned like trees, the old shoots on the bushes are removed so that they do not interfere with the young. In order to rejuvenate the bush, you can carry out a cardinal pruning, up to 10 cm high from the ground. If the leaf of the plant is large, then experts advise not to cut it off completely at once, but to stretch this process for several years.

Flower buds of panicle hydrangea are formed on the shoots of the current year. It is important to remove the buds from the bush, as thin branches that are still soft and not fully formed wood can suffer from the large accumulation of snow in the winter.

Groundcover the hydrangea is cut only to form the crown. These plants usually have very lush shrubs. Flowering is carried out on the shoots of the current year.

Climbing hydrangea has a very weak growth rate in the first 4 years. Therefore, experienced gardeners do not recommend pruning the branches of such plants. Mature shrubs can be pruned to form strong buds. Sanitary pruning is also appropriate.

Serrated hydrangea belongs to large-leaved. In care, it looks like a tree or paniculate. Young plants are allowed to fully form up to 3 years. Only then is pruning of the bushes possible.

How to prune a hydrangea for the winter:

Features of preparing for the winter of different types of hydrangea

The preparation of a winter shelter depends on which variety and type of plant is grown on the site. The age and size of the bush are also taken into account. It is better to cover the aerial part of young plants for the first few winters, while for adult specimens it is enough to huddle and warm with snow.


The peculiarity of the panicle hydrangea is that the developed buds are located in the areas of the branches from the base to the middle, therefore, the frosting of the tops of the shoots will not cause much harm to this plant. When constructing a shelter, it is necessary to take into account not only the temperature, but also the air humidity, the presence of winds. In a strong humid wind, hydrangea can die even in a slight frost.

The easiest way to cover the panicle hydrangea is hilling. For this, a mixture of dry garden soil and peat is used, which is poured on top of the bush. It is undesirable to use fallen leaves or sawdust for shelter; when wet, they easily rot, and in addition, they may contain pest larvae.

In cold regions, branches are additionally covered, having previously bent them to the ground. As a shelter, you can use roofing paper, spruce branches, burlap. Branches that are too long for convenience are best tied together. Spunbond, lutrasil and other similar materials can be thrown on top of large specimens.


Since the large-leaved hydrangea is the most thermophilic, it must be covered in advance, without waiting for frost. Before sheltering the shoots, the leaves must be cut off, leaving them only at the very top, protecting the apical buds. Then, for convenience, the bush is divided in half, and each part of the shoots is bent to the ground, after which it is pinned with thin arcs.

The middle of the bush should be covered with peat or coniferous forest floor. Lutrasil is thrown on top of the arcs in two layers and fixed near the ground with bricks or wooden beams. It is not recommended to use plastic wrap due to its airtightness. In spring, the shelter can be removed when the threat of frost has completely passed.

The best way to hide a large-leaved hydrangea for the winter: video


Treelike hydrangea is an unpretentious plant and perfectly recovers after winter. Its winter hardiness, like that of other species, increases with age, but it is better not to be lazy and make a preventive shelter for it. At the initial stage, the bush is spud up - this helps to insulate the roots.

Since the plants grow very large, they are not bent to the ground, but tied to a peg, forming a kind of cone. After that, the bush is covered with spruce branches on all sides. In cold regions, you can additionally use an insulating material, it is fixed on the plant from above.

Winter hardy varieties of rhododendron

Rhododendron deciduous Klondike

The Klondike reaches a height of 1 meter, but the growth is slow. The shape of the flowers is a bowl or a bell. The buds bloom early: in late spring or early summer. Klondike sheds leaves for the winter, so it does not suffer from sunburn.

Differs in winter hardiness, unpretentious care. Suitable for beginner gardeners.

Rodedendron Purpureum Grandiflorum

Sprawling evergreen shrub. Crohn's - hemispherical. Purpureum Grandiflorum grows up to 1.6 meters in favorable conditions. The variety has oval, dark green leaves and purple-purple flowers. The petals have wavy edges. Flowers have no smell.

Purpureum Grandiflorum blooms in late May or early June. After flowering, it bears fruit in light brown cylindrical capsules.

Main garden species

Hydrangea suffers from intense heat, many species that love partial shade slow down their growth in the sun, their inflorescences become very shallow.

Blooming hydrangea

But there are those that tolerate heat well.

Large-leaved hydrangea

Large-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) - blooms in July-August. Flowers of white, pink, blue in common forms are collected in corymbose inflorescences with a diameter of up to 20 cm; flowers of sterile forms are collected in lush spherical inflorescences with a diameter of up to 30 cm.

Large-leaved hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

The bush is up to 2 m tall, with large wide ovoid leaves. Heat-loving: requires shelter in frosty winters, tolerates frosts down to -10 ° C. The most common garden form in the world. The original form for potted hydrangeas. When potassium salts and aluminum sulfate are added to the ground, it allows you to get blue and blue inflorescences.

Hydrangea paniculata

Hydrangea paniculata (Hydrangea paniculata) is a shrub from 2 to 5 m in height or a small (up to 10 m) tree. Blooms from mid-summer to late autumn. Flowers are collected in dense panicles of pyramidal inflorescences up to 30 cm in length, color from light green to white, at the end of summer changes to dull purple.

Hydrangea paniculata (Hydrangea paniculata)

Differs in durability, unpretentiousness (grows in swampy, gas-polluted places), frost resistance.

Hydrangea Bretschneider

Bretschneider's hydrangea (Hydrangea bretschneideri) is a compact bush with a wide rounded decorative crown up to 3 m tall. Bloom from mid-July to August. The flowers are small, fruiting, collected in wide inflorescences in the form of umbrellas about 15 cm in diameter. The middle flowers in the inflorescence fall early, the marginal flowers bloom for a long time. The color at the beginning of flowering is bright white, towards the end - purple or reddish. Leaves are dark green, ovoid, 12 cm long. Shoots are hairy, reddish, with bark exfoliation in the form of thin plates, completely lignified by winter.

Hydrangea bretschneideri. Photo from the site en.wikipedia.org

The most winter-hardy variety, drought-resistant. It can be propagated by seeds.

Stalked hydrangea

Stalked hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) - a shrub vine attached to the support with air suction cups, reaches up to 25 m in height, in the absence of support it spreads along the ground. Perfectly braids arches, gazebos. The flowers are white-pink, collected in corymbose inflorescences up to 25 cm in diameter, quickly fall off.

Stalked hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)

Abundant flowering is observed in open areas, but also grows well in the shade.

Ash hydrangea

Ash hydrangea, or gray (Hydrangea cinerea) - shrub, reaches a height of 2 m. It is used as a hedge. Blooms until late autumn.

Ash hydrangea, or gray (Hydrangea cinerea). Photo from the site dachni-rady.com

The flowers are sterile, small, in the form of numerous scutes. Leaves are oval, membranous, dull green.


Treelike hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) is a very beautiful shrub with many varieties. Bushes up to 3 m tall, with large oval leaves up to 20 cm in length. The flowers are collected in fluffy inflorescences. Often freezes in winter, but in spring it quickly recovers and blooms profusely. This form requires strong pruning (almost root) in April to keep the shrubs in good shape.

Hydrangea tree 'Annabelle'

It has been growing for me for 10 years, blooms until late autumn, and in the flower garden it is more noticeable than many more elegant and bright flowers.

What kind of hydrangeas grow in your garden? Tell us!

Watch the video: Hydrangea pruning: Dont sweat it!

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