Hydrangea (large pink/green heads)
We have a hydrangea that has survived the builders tramping on it and dumping rubbish all around it and though I was never fond of hydrangeas, I admire this one, as it has become a lovely plant despite the odds. Unfortunately, I didn't prune it this year and it is now suffering the recent frost and snow, and the leaves are blackening - not a pretty sight, especially as it's in the front garden next to folks walking by.
My pruning book mentions late winter pruning and demonstrates how to do this but I would like to know whether I should do it whilst it's still very cold or just do a light prune to remove the flower heads? Also, do I need to cover it with fleece or bubble wrap after I've pruned it? I usually dry the flower heads but still have loads from last year so didn't get round to it this year which of course I now regret! Thank you.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
I would just remove the flower heads and dead leaves at this time, just to tidy the plant up. Leave the stems. In late winter/early spring, you can examine the stems and better see what has survived and how best to prune back.
Do not wrap it in plastic, as this can harm it. You can wrap it in burlap or fleece, or simply mulch the roots very well.
You can go ahead and cut off the spent blooms anytime. Be careful not to cut too far down the branch - see more information in this article: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/hydrangea/prune-hydrangea-bushes-hydrangea-pruning-instructions.htm
Then you can protect the plant as in these instructions: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/hydrangea/hydrangea-winter-care-how-to-protect-hydrangeas-from-winter-cold-and-wind.htm