How To Prepare Endless Summer Hydrangeas For Winter

The first hydrangeas to bloom on new growth and have the capacity to rebloom all summer long are called “Endless Summer” varieties. This unusual plant will need special maintenance.

Follow these suggestions if you’ve introduced one of these wonderful plants to your landscape to ensure that “Endless Summer” remains the highlight of your yard for many years to come.

The following is advised to ensure overwintering success in the first year:

  • After August 15th, cease all fertilizer applications in order to prepare the plant for winter.
  • Till the ground freezes in the fall, keep the soil moist.
  • Apply a four-inch layer of organic mulch over the plant (wood mulch, leaves, etc.). It is not necessary to trim back or cover all stems all the way to the tip.

When entirely dormant (about November 30), or at the same time as you cover perennials in your garden, covering should be done.

  • When the ground is no longer frozen in the spring, you should re-plant your perennials. The plant will expand from its root system and any old branches that made it through the winter.
  • Be tolerant. Up until the late spring heat spurs the plant to develop rapidly, growth will be gradual.
  • The old branches can be cut back to a finger’s width above the fresh, green growth once you notice it.
  • Watch your plant develop and blossom while you relax; depending on your environment, this should happen around the middle of July.

The Endless Summer Hydrangea is quite tolerant and won’t suffer from being neglected or clipped improperly. In actuality, it’s preferable to leave young, recently planted bushes alone. Your Endless Summer will bloom on both old and new wood, unlike other hydrangea varieties (branches that grew last year and new branches from this year).

The fact that this hydrangea will continue to form buds and bloom throughout the season is another distinctive quality; deadheading the spent flowers will promote this. You won’t harm the plant by cutting the blooms; in fact, you’ll stimulate the plant to produce more blossoms. Feel free to dry or utilize the blooms fresh cut in vases. The optimal time to prune is in the spring.

Plants marked with a number sign (#) and a number are generally the same size as gallon pots; for example, #2 is equivalent to a 2 gallon pot, #3 to a 3 gallon pot, and so on. These plants are offered for sale in pots.

Plants with a height (such as 5-6′) give an estimate of the plant’s present height.

Plants that are measured in inches (such as 2.5″) are identified by their caliper, or trunk width.

Plants are typically larger when measured by caliper (inches) than when assessed by height (feet).

Should Endless Summer hydrangeas be pruned in the fall?

For those of us who live in northern climes with more severe winters, The Endless Summer series represents a milestone in hydrangea breeding.

Older hydrangea kinds only produced flowers on old wood or stems that had grown the previous year. All flowers for the following season were gone once that growth was destroyed due to harsh winter circumstances, damage, or unintentional autumn trimming.

The plants in the Endless Summer series are significantly more adaptable in the environment because they bloom on both new and old wood. The plants won’t generate many, if any, buds on the growth of the current season, though, if the plants are not properly nourished in the spring.

Any Endless Summer variety will grow best in an easterly direction or in a spot in the garden that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. To make a richer soil that will store nutrients and fertilizers better and retain more moisture, use a decent compost.

Use Plant-tone and granular lime for purple to pink blossoms or Holly-tone and holly for blue flowers when fertilizing your Endless Summer Hydrangeas in the spring.

We advise fertilizing in April, May, and June with 1 cup of fertilizer for every foot of branch spread for the optimum flowering. For instance, 9 cups of fertilizer would be applied over a three-month period to a plant that is 3 feet broad. After this time, fertilizer shouldn’t be used to plants.

Continual Summer Fall is not the time to prune hydrangeas. Rather, only prune them in May. This will guarantee that the flower buds that survived the winter have opened.

How are Endless Summer hydrangeas overwintered?

Use a packaged potting mix instead of garden soil to prepare for these plants. Some bagged mixes contain slow-release fertilizer that benefits shrubs in their first year of growth. If you purchase one without fertilizer already in it, use a slow-release fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-30-10. So that you have enough room to water effectively, leave about 3 inches between the top of the soil and the rim of the container. To promote bloom production as the season goes on, you can sparingly apply a diluted liquid fertilizer up to two times per month. A bloom-booster formula with an NPK ratio of 10-30-20 is advised.

When watering your plants, fill the container to the brim, let the water completely drain through the drainage holes at the bottom, and then do it again. (If your container lacks drainage holes, drill holes or look for another one at your neighborhood nursery that has holes on the bottom.) This is necessary to make sure the roots are receiving enough water further down in the pot. Check the soil moisture every day during the growing season, but especially on hot, windy days. Because of their enormous flowers, hydrangeas demand more water than other species, therefore it’s crucial to water potted plants thoroughly.

For the winter, move the entire container inside your garage or basement and take the same care as you would with hydrangeas grown in the garden. Even while potted plants won’t need as much mulch because they won’t be getting moisture from snow and rain, they should still be lightly watered all winter long.

When should hydrangeas named Endless Summer be pruned?

Many plants can be rejuvenated through pruning, resulting in lush new foliage and gorgeous blossoms. An example of a plant that gains from this method is Endless Summer Hydrangeas. Pruning them in the early spring will help them get ready for the season. A little effort today will result in this year’s growth being strong. Make sure your hydrangeas are of the Endless Summer type as it’s one of the rare breeds that blooms the year after it’s been clipped. Typically, pink- or blue-flowered Endless Summer Hydrangeas are the ones that bloom for the majority of the summer. The soonest after it finishes blooming is the ideal time to prune your hydrangea for shape and size if it is not an Endless Summer or if you are unsure of its variety. By doing this, you’ll avoid unintentionally eliminating the buds it will set for the next year.

The best tools for the operation are a pair of clean bypass pruners, which operate similarly to scissors. Cleaning pruners using common household cleansers like Lysol can help stop the spread of disease. Make an angle away from the bud and trim your hydrangeas back to about one foot from the ground. A lovely shape can be achieved by gently raising the center. One of these branches should be cut off if any other branches are crossing it.

Throughout the growing season, pruning can be done to get rid of any diseased, harmed, or dead growth. Any pruning done outside of these times will expose your plant to stress and disease risks.

How should I get my hydrangeas ready for the winter?

Protecting flower buds is the aim of winter hydrangea care. The simplest approach is to pile 12 inches or so of mulch made of chopped-up leaves or bark around the base of the plant. After the ground freezes in the late fall, set the mulch pile there. Plants can then be exposed in the spring, when the temperature starts to stay above freezing.

Do I need to protect my hydrangea throughout the winter?

Here is professional guidance on how to put hydrangeas to bed for the winter season from guest bloggers Megan Nichols and Jessie Jacobson of Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka, Minnesota. (They may have more hydrangea trees and shrubs in their zip code than almost anywhere else in the United States, so they are aware!)

The temperature has dropped, and autumnal symbols can be seen everywhere. The garden needs to be put to bed soon. Hydrangeas reward us with large, stunning, and prodigious blooms all season long. You may say that they are givers. It’s time to return the favor now. It’s time to tuck the hydrangeas in with kisses and wishes for sweaty dreams.

Here in Minnesota, our moods can fluctuate as drastically as the unpredictably harsh winter weather extremes, snowfall, and freeze/thaw cycles. Despite the fact that many hydrangeas are regarded as hardy, all of this can confuse them. To survive the winter and come back bigger and better the next year, they require some care. Although hydrangeas cultivated in warmer areas don’t need as much post-season primping as those grown in our zone, there isn’t a single thing that wouldn’t appreciate a little tender loving care right now.

Utilize these suggestions to get the most out of your hydrangeas so that you can be the one to present at this time next season!

(Is pruning in order? No and yes. Here is our recommendation for which hydrangeas should be pruned right away and which should wait until spring.)

Don’t Stop Watering

Make a commitment! I shall water my hydrangeas till the earth freezes solid, you declare while raising your right hand. really good Hydrangeas are thirsty plants by nature, so it’s essential to give them regular, deep watering. We don’t need to get all linguistically nerdy right now, but their name literally means “hydration.” Winter’s cool, dry winds completely drain the moisture from the vegetation, and hydrangeas don’t use lip balm. It need not be heated in order to be dry!

If a freeze is not a concern where you live, water deeply but sparingly during the winter depending on how much rain you get.

This is how: Making a small hole in the side of a 5-gallon bucket, filling it with water, and placing it at the base of the plant while it slowly drips out of the bucket is one method. Another option is to lay your hose at the base of the plant for about an hour with the water turned on to a gentle drip.

Give Them One Last Hearty Meal

Composting your hydrangea beds in the fall will give them a boost for the upcoming growing season. Everyone feels better after a full night’s sleep and a filling breakfast. This also applies to hydrangeas. After a lengthy winter’s hibernation, they will be ravenous for some nice compost. Compost can decompose during the winter if it is used now, making nutrients easily accessible in spring. A few inches of compost is advisable even in regions without a deep cold. Only compost is being discussed here! Don’t give your hydrangeas fertilizers that are high in nitrogen because this can encourage them to produce new foliage growth.

This is how: Before laying down mulch in colder climates, top dress the area with compost, well-aged manure, or other organic material after the ground has frozen. This organic fertilizer, which is rich in nutrients, will decompose over the winter, making nutrients available to the plant in the spring. Apply compost in the late fall or early winter in zones that are warmer.

Mulch Matters

Mulching helps keep moisture in and weeds out in warmer climates while shielding the crown and roots of your hydrangeas from harsh winter temperatures in colder climates. Snow serves as a natural insulator if everything goes as it should. Plants suffer during strange winters with little snowfall and extreme temperature changes. Apply a thick layer of mulch around the plant’s base to offer hydrangeas the best chance of flourishing. While decorative mulch is useful, straw, marsh hay, or dead leaves are suggested instead.

This is how: Apply a 6–8 layer of mulch once the ground has frozen (or late fall or early winter in zones with milder winters). This shields plants from the heave-ho of springtime freeze/thaw cycles, which can yank them out of the ground. Inviting mice to make this their snug winter home, causing rotting and illness, or tricking the plant into believing it’s time to bud, are all consequences of mulching too early. Be patient; you don’t have to do things early simply because your neighbors are.

Keep Them Cozy

The amount of winter cold determines whether or not hydrangeas require protection. Winter protection is not required in zone 7 if the air temperature stays above zero degrees. Wrap or totally cover barely hardy hydrangeas in chilly areas. This is crucial for plants that bloom on old wood, such hydrangeas with mop heads and large leaves (Hydrangea macrophylla). The most recent types of mop head/big leaf hydrangeas, however, bloom on both fresh and old wood, so it’s important to keep that in mind. In their favor and ours! Hardier hydrangea varieties like the paniculata and arborescens don’t often require additional winter care, although really low temperatures might cause its limbs to die back. Consider covering if a colder than usual winter is forecast.

This is how: Wrap plants loosely in a few layers of burlap, making sure to tie it off with strong twine. Making a mulch mountain and covering the majority of the plant is an additional choice. Smaller, newly planted specimens respond well to this technique.

There’s Still Time To Plant!

The first three varieties of hydrangeas can be grown here in Zone 4; oak leaf hydrangeas can also be grown in warmer climates (zones 5 to 9). The optimal time to plant shrubs is in the fall. Just make sure to do all of the aforementioned things, including watering and mulching.

Here are some of our favorites that you can plant now for stunning blooms the following spring.

Panicle Hydrangeas

These late blooming hydrangeas, sometimes known as PeeGee hydrangeas (summer into early fall). They are covered in elongated, conical flower heads that emerge white or green and blush into pinks and peaches as the season goes on.