We have 3 summersweet, hummingbird, plants that were planted in the fall of 2016, along with many other perenials. I am not sure if they have survived the winter. There seems to be some sprouting at the base of the plants, but the branches seem dull colored and brittle. So, how do I tell if they survived?
This shrub is zoned 3-9.
Check the branches, do the bend or snap off?
Dead branches will snap and break.
After danger of frost has passed, prune the dead parts of the shrub.
If your seeing new growth, the roots most likely survived and your shrub should recover.
Next winter you can add some mulch protection to the plant.
Remember, most reputable garden centers will guarantee a new shrub or tree for one year, so check your receipt if your shrub does not recover.