How can I protect my hydrangea?
QI transplanted a hydrangea from my nan’s garden. How should I care for it through winter? I have also taken some cuttings from it. Grant Rivers, via email
AHydrangea buds are sensitive to cold, and one way to protect them is to leave the old flower heads until late winter or early spring to keep the buds below protected.
You only really need to protect the buds as they start to open and show green, as it is the new soft leaf growth that is most vulnerable. However, if we have a hard winter then I think it will be worth using fleece over the plant any time that frost is forecast.
In March or April, cut back the dead flower heads to the nearest buds. You can also do a bit more pruning to encourage new growth from the base and if you need to restrict the size.
Remove any stems that are badly placed low down into the plant where you can see signs of new buds, and perhaps one or two of the oldest stems to encourage new growth low down.
If you discover that some of the stems are dead don’t do anything until spring, when you should prune them back to healthy growth.
Protect hydrangea tips from winter’s cold
Petty spurge is easy to weed out