How to Prepare Your Hydrangeas for the Fall and Winter

​As the vibrant hues of summer gradually give way to the crisp chill of fall, it’s time to shift our attention to our beloved hydrangeas. 

These beautiful blooming shrubs have graced our gardens with their stunning flowers all summer long, but now it’s crucial to ensure they weather the impending fall and winter gracefully. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to prepare your hydrangeas for the changing seasons, ensuring they stay healthy and return next spring with renewed vigor. 

From protective measures against frost to a little extra TLC for the roots, we’ve got your hydrangeas covered. Let’s dive in and make sure your garden’s showstoppers are ready for the colder months ahead!

1. Pruning Dead Stems

​Fall is the perfect time of year to give your hydrangeas a good pruning. This will help them to look their best in the spring. Here are some tips on how to prune your hydrangeas in the fall:

1. Prune Dead Stems: Cut off any dead or dying stems at the base of the plant. This will help to encourage new growth in the spring.

2. Cut Back Foliage: Cut back the foliage on your plants by about one-third. This will help to prevent your plants from getting too leggy in the winter.

3. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around your plants to help protect them from the cold weather.

following these simple tips, you can help keep your hydrangeas looking beautiful all year long!

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2. Adding Fertilizer

If your hydrangeas are looking a little lackluster, they may need a little boost in the form of fertilizer. You can add fertilizer to your hydrangeas in the fall to help them recover from the summer heat and prepare for the winter months ahead.

When choosing a fertilizer for your hydrangeas, look for one that is formulated for acid-loving plants. You can apply the fertilizer around the base of the plant, taking care not to get any on the leaves. You should also water the plant well after applying the fertilizer.

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If you’re not sure how much fertilizer to use, always err on the side of using less rather than more. Over-fertilizing can damage your plants, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

With a little extra care in the form of fertilizer, your hydrangeas will be looking their best come springtime.

3. Ensuring Adequate Water Levels

​If your region is prone to drought, you will need to water your hydrangeas more frequently. The best time to water is in the morning, so the plants have time to absorb the moisture before the heat of the day. If possible, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to water your plants. This will help to reduce evaporation and keep the leaves from getting wet, which can lead to foliar diseases.

Signs that your plant is not receiving enough water are:

  • wilting leaves
  • brittle stems
  • dry or brown leaves
  • lack of blooms

If you see any of these signs, give your plant a deep watering. To do this, water at the base of the plant slowly and for a longer period of time than you would for a normal watering. You want the water to penetrate the roots, so it is important not to water too quickly.

How to Prepare Your Hydrangeas for the Fall and Winter

4. Giving the Hydrangea an Extra Layer of Mulch

As the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color, you may be wondering what to do with your hydrangeas in the fall. While they don’t require much care, there are a few things you can do to give them a little extra TLC.

One of the most important things you can do for your hydrangeas in the fall is to give them an extra layer of mulch. This will help insulate the roots and protect them from the cold weather. You can use any type of mulch, but shredded leaves or pine needles work well. Just be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the stems to prevent rotting.

In addition to mulching, you should also prune your hydrangeas in the fall. This will encourage new growth in the spring. Simply cut back the stems to about 6 inches above the ground.

5. Pruning for Shape and Size

When it comes to pruning your hydrangeas, there are a few things you need to take into account. The first is the type of hydrangea you have. There are three main types of hydrangeas – paniculata, arborescens and macrophylla. Paniculata and arborescens types are pruned in the late winter or early spring, while macrophylla types are best pruned in the summer after they have bloomed.

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The second thing to consider is the purpose of your pruning. Are you looking to simply remove dead or dying branches? Or are you looking to thin out the plant to promote new growth? Or perhaps you want to shape the plant to give it a certain look. Knowing the purpose of your pruning will help you to determine how much to prune.

If you are simply removing dead or dying branches, you can do a light pruning. Just remove any branches that are clearly dead or dying. If you are looking to thin out the plant, you will want to do a more aggressive pruning. This means removing a significant amount of growth. This can be done by removing branches at the base of the plant, or by cutting back the stems by a few feet.

Finally, if you want to shape the plant, you will need to do some careful pruning. This means removing branches in a way that will create the shape you desire. For example, if you want a more rounded shape, you will want to remove branches evenly around the plant. If you want a more upright shape, you will want to remove branches from the bottom of the plant more than from the top.

No matter what type of pruning you are doing, be sure to use sharp, clean pruning shears. And when in doubt, it is always better to err on the side of caution – it is better to prune too little than too much.

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6. Deadheading Your Hydrangeas

​As soon as your hydrangeas finish blooming, you should deadhead them. Deadheading is the process of removing the spent flowers from the plant. This will encourage the plant to produce new flowers and keep the plant looking its best.

To deadhead your hydrangeas, simply cut off the spent flowers at the stem. You can cut them back to just above a leaf bud or all the way down to the ground. Be sure to use sharp shears or a knife to make a clean cut.

Once you have removed the spent flowers, you can throw them away or compost them. Then, sit back and enjoy the new growth and flowers on your plant!


Preparing your hydrangeas for the fall and winter seasons is important to ensure they remain healthy and vibrant. We have explained few tips in this article on how you can prepare your hydrangeas for the colder months.

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The most important thing to do is to water your plants deeply and regularly, especially during dry spells. Hydrangeas need at least 1” of water per week. You can check the moisture level in the soil by sticking your finger in the ground. If the soil feels dry several inches below the surface, it’s time to water.

It’s also important to fertilize your hydrangeas. We recommend using a fertilizer specifically designed for hydrangeas. You can apply the fertilizer in spring and again in early summer.

In the fall, you can start to cut back your hydrangeas. Start by trimming back any dead or dying branches. You can also cut the stems of your hydrangeas down to about 6”. This will help the plant to focus its energy on creating new growth in the spring.

Finally, be sure to protect your hydrangeas from extreme cold and wind in the winter. You can do this by covering the plants with a layer of mulch or burlap. This will help to insulate the roots and prevent them from freezing.


When is the best time to start preparing my hydrangeas for fall and winter?

Ideally, you should begin preparing your hydrangeas in late summer or early fall, before the first frost hits. This allows the plants to gradually acclimate to the changing conditions.

How do I protect my hydrangeas from frost damage?

To shield your hydrangeas from frost, consider covering them with burlap or a frost cloth overnight. Additionally, a layer of mulch around the base can provide insulation and protect the roots.

Should I prune my hydrangeas in the fall?

It’s generally recommended to avoid heavy pruning in the fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may not have sufficient time to harden before winter. Light deadheading or removing spent blooms is acceptable.

What’s the significance of mulching around hydrangeas in the fall?

Mulching helps regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and insulate the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark, around the base of the plant.

Can I leave the dried blooms on my hydrangeas during winter?

Yes, leaving the dried blooms on your hydrangeas can provide some protection to the buds beneath during winter. These can be pruned in the spring once the threat of frost has passed.

Hello, I'm Kenneth C. Sather, the Head Content Writer at Aker Kits, a thriving urban gardening blog. With a passion for cultivating green spaces within the urban jungle, I strive to connect with our readers through insightful and engaging content.

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