Winter protection for Lace Cap Hydrangea

Asked November 21, 2019, 10:06 AM EST

I have a lace cap hydrangea that has only had decent flowers one year. Every other year the buds on the old stalks and buds have dried up presumably from freezing. What I need to know is if this happens during the winter or only during a spring frost episode. Also, I would like to learn how to protect it. I have a frost blanket but maybe it's too late for this year (see attached photos). Thanks, Norm

Ottawa County Michigan winter damage winter protection

1 Response

Reliable hydrangea blooming in Michigan can be challenging. Some sources suggest that hydrangeas may only bloom in 3 of 5 years in zone 5. Damage can occur on the hardened buds of lacecaps in subzero weather (depending on the variety) and can also occur with late frosts. Hardened buds going into winter can be killed by these temps and and desiccating winds. Plant protection can help here. When buds break dormancy due to unseasonable warm or warming sunlight followed by a quick return to cold temperatures buds can be damage. (spring or winter). Wrapping plants can help. Make sure plant is well watered (to minimize desiccation) prior to the ground freezing and do not fertilize past mid-summer (to avoid tender new growth that can easily be damage by cold temperatures). Plant wrapping using burlap or row cover, with a wood or wire framework works well. See attached links:

https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/fact-sheets/why-hydranagea-macrophylla-dont-flower

https://extension.unh.edu/blog/solving-hydrangea-puzzle

I hope that helps,