Hydrangia frost damage

Asked April 14, 2017, 8:11 AM EDT

Hello, I have several Hydrangias that began to leaf out this spring, but died back after the late frosts. They appear to be re-growing from the base of the plants, but all the expanding foliage on the above-ground canes is dead. The canes themselves are still green when clipped, but i can't tell whether the buds are still alive. What is the best thing to do at this point? Is there a chance that the canes will push out new growth, or is it best to prune those off and start over? Will the Hydrangias be weakened by this event? Thank you,

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

That is a good sign that you are seeing green growth at the base. Hydrangeas are susceptible to cold damage. At this point simply monitor the plant as we may have more cold temperatures. Once this has passed you should be able to determine what you should prune.
Watch for new growth at the base of the plant. If the plant has basal shoots that are about 6 inches in length, but the upper parts are bare, then the bare stems need to be removed. Scratch the bare stems with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, the stems are still viable.
Whether this years flowers are affected, the buds of which are formed the previous growing season, remains to be seen. Some of the newer cultivars like “Endless Summer” bloom on both old and new wood, so if winter damaged, you may have summer blooms.
Just give it water, if we enter a period of drought.