Keep your hydrangeas healthy and vibrant through the changing seasons with this comprehensive autumn care guide. From watering rituals to shielding your plant from frost, learn how to care for your hydrangeas during the fall months.
Watering Hydrangeas Post-Summer
Even as the weather begins to cool, your hydrangeas still require regular watering. Aiming to provide approximately one inch of water each week will keep your plants healthy. Continue this regimen until the ground starts to harden or freeze.
Navigating the Pruning Process
Your approach to pruning will differ depending on the type of hydrangea you have. If you own a Hydrangea macrophylla, it's best to steer clear of pruning in the late autumn, as their buds grow on old wood. For other varieties, pruning can take place either in the spring or autumn. Pruning isn't always necessary, but if heavy snow accumulation is expected, it can prevent damage. When pruning isn't required, simply remove the faded flowers to protect the plant from frost.
Should You Use Fertilizer?
Avoid fertilizing your hydrangeas during autumn. This can inadvertently encourage new growth that's susceptible to frost damage. Additionally, fertilizers can delay the plant's hibernation process, putting it at unnecessary risk.
Opt for Compost Instead
Compost is an excellent alternative to fertilizer during the fall months. Adding about two inches of compost can significantly enhance plant health and improve soil structure.
Root Protection with Mulch
Mulch acts as an effective protective barrier against winter cold. Materials such as straw or dead leaves are ideal for insulating your plants. Apply the mulch before the first frost, but don't do it too early to avoid luring pests. A mulch layer of about 15 centimeters around the plant should suffice.
Shielding Above-Ground Parts
It's not just the roots that need protection. Above-ground parts of the plant also need safeguarding. Horticultural fleece or homemade protection, such as chicken wire and hessian, work well. Fill up the space between the plant and the protection with straw or dead leaves for added warmth.
Moving Potted Hydrangeas
If you have potted hydrangeas, it's best to move them indoors during the colder months. Options include a greenhouse or a garage. If these aren't available, bury the pot in a sheltered corner of the garden and surround it with straw for protection.