Hydrangea - first time growing one

Asked November 9, 2019, 11:45 AM EST

I transplanted a hydrangea plant my nephew gave me from his garden in August. Not sure what kind it is. There were no flowers on it and the plant stayed green until it froze. Now it is dead, brown and ugly. Should I cut it back to the ground? Will it come back in the spring?

Goodhue County Minnesota

5 Responses

It will probably come back next spring. It was transplanted in August so it hasn’t had a full season to recover. Expect it to take about 3 years before it blooms. Next it should not do much more than leaf out, same the second year, 3 rd year it should get bigger and might bloom. It really depends on how big and mature the shrub was when it was transplanted, and how much of its root ball was moved with it.

Should the plant be cut back to the ground, since it is dead? Should I mulch it now that the ground is frozen?

No don’t cut it off to the ground. It is not dead, the wood underneath the bark is alive. Shrubs need their branches. No more than one third of a shrub should be cut off per year and no pruning should be done the first 3 years after transplanting. It should be mulched after the ground freezes. It will still take a couple of weeks for the ground to freeze down more than an inch. By the end of next week after the cold snap would be the time to mulch.

Thank you very much!

You are welcome. I hope your shrub comes through the winter in good heatth.