Q.Can I Grow Hydrangeas in Zone 6 for Cutflowers?
I have a well drained 7 acre field that I’d like to grow Hydrangeas for cut-flowers. I realize I’ll only have blooms for apx 3 months of the year however I believe I can sell the stems in that short window. Am I wasting my time?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Hydrangeas do well in zone 6, so I don't see why you could not. I would talk to a reputable local nursery about the best variety for your area, though. While most hydrangeas do well in zone 6, some hydrangeas do better in some kind of conditions than others. Plus, you will need to take into account that your will be growing them in full sun conditions, which some hydrangea handle better than others. A local nursery will know what is best for your area.
Hydrangea paniculatas would be my suggestion if you are going to grow them in full sun conditions as they will be z6 winter hardy and bloom reliable with some varieties producing large panicle-shaped blooms. If you can provide morning sun only quarters using greenhouses, you could add wild hydrangea (hydrangea arborescens) mopheads and lacecaps to the list as it will be winter hardy as well and bloom reliable.
Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood and new wood (macrophyllas and serratas) and oakleaf hydrangeas would be third. Remontant hydrangeas are not as reliable bloomers but they tend to be root hardy. They just lose stems in winter and you would need to supply some heat to counteract Z6 winter conditions (temperatures, winds, late frosts) that zap the stems or the flower buds.
Oakleaf hydrangeas can be slightly more winter hardy than macrophyllas and slightly more bloom reliable than macrophyllas but not as much as the paniculatas and arborescens hydrangeas.
Experiment which one does best and by when do their blooms should be picked up for cut flowers. Most people with homes cut the flowers when the blooms feel papery-like but en masse commercial production may require that you prune differently. And some earlier blooming hydrangeas may be ready to pick before other varieties so you may need to have the ability to easily recognize specific cultivars somehow.