Protecting Hydrangea From Winter Damage
Hydrangeas are a staple in any garden and loved by millions of gardeners. While they're hardy here in CT, it's the root of the shrub that's hardiest. Hydrangea branches often benefit from a little winter protection. Wrapping them in burlap or an old white sheet can help protect the branches from winters worst weather. Be sure NOT to wrap them in plastic. That could lead to damage.
You want to be sure to wrap them all the way to the top if you can. Be sure to leave the top open. If you close off the top, heavy wet snow could collapse the branches underneath.
Annabelle hydrangeas and Panicle hydrangeas don't need wrapping, only the traditional mophead (hydrangea macrophylla) benefit from protection.
I like to use burlap to wrap hydrangeas for our clients. Once they're wrapped, I use floral wire weaved in the burlap (kind of like a stitch) at the top, middle and bottom to secure the burlap.
Now, here's the most important part. Don't unwrap them until the first week in May! I know it's hard to wait! The grass is getting green, your spring bulbs have been up for a month now and you're eager to get out there and garden! Trust me...I GET IT! Just when you think you can't take it and you're ready to unwrap your hydrangea...Remember last year.... We all thought we were safe. We had a reasonably mild winter, and then BAM!!! Old Man Winter crept up and whacked us with a late frost. Oh yeah.... You remember now. Let me tell you, we didn't forget! One of our vendors lost a ton of tender perennials and EVERYBODY commented all season long about how their hydrangeas didn't bloom. So WAIT!
Just remember... Patience is a virtue. I know it's hard, but you can do it and it will be worth it!