Hydrangeas That Are Evergreen: What Hydrangeas Are Evergreen

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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Hydrangeasare beautiful plants with big, bold leaves and clusters of fancy, long-lastingblooms. However, most are deciduousshrubs or vines that can look a bit bare and forlorn during the wintermonths.

What hydrangeas are evergreen year-round? Are therehydrangeas that don’t lose their leaves? There aren’t many, but evergreenhydrangea varieties are stunningly beautiful – all year. Read on and learn moreabout hydrangeas that are evergreen.

Evergreen Hydrangea Varieties

The following list includes hydrangeas that don’t lose theirleaves, and one that makes a great alternative plant:

Climbing evergreen hydrangea (Hydrangeaintegrifolia) – This climbinghydrangea is an elegant, rambling vine with glossy, lance-shaped leaves andred-tinged stems. Lacy white flowers, which are a little smaller than mosthydrangeas, show up in spring. This hydrangea, native to the Philippines, islovely scrambling over fences or ugly retaining walls, and particularlystriking when it climbs up an evergreen tree, attaching itself by aerial roots.It is suitable for growing in zones 9 through 10.

Seemann’s hydrangea (Hydrangea seemanii) – Nativeto Mexico this a climbing, twining, self-clinging vine with leathery, darkgreen leaves and clusters of sweet-smelling, creamy tan or greenish whiteflowers that make an appearance in late spring and early summer. Feel free tolet the vine twine up and around a Douglas fir or other evergreen; it’sbeautiful and won’t harm the tree. Seeman’s hydrangea, also known as Mexicanclimbing hydrangea, is suitable for USDA zones 8 through 10.

Chinese quinine (Dichroa febrifuga) – Thisisn’t a true hydrangea, but it’s an extremely close cousin and a stand-in forhydrangeas that are evergreen. In fact, you may think it’s a regular hydrangeauntil it doesn’t drop its leaves when winter comes. The flowers, which arrivein early summer, tend to be bright blue to lavender in acidic soil and lilac tomauve in alkaline conditions. Native to the Himalayas, Chinese quinine is alsoknown as blue evergreen. It is suitable for growing in USDA zones 8-10.

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Evergreen Hydrangea Varieties – Hydrangeas That Don’t Lose Their Leaves - garden

Is My Hydrangea Dead or Just Dormant?

In spring, that pile of hydrangea sticks begins to sprout new growth, either off of a cane or from the crown, or base, of the plant. If you get no new growth at all by about May, your plant may have experienced "winter kill," no doubt caused by too-cold, freezing temperatures possibly exacerbated by a drying wind.

To make sure, scratch some stems with your fingernail, recommends Lorraine Ballato, horticulturist and instructor at the New York Botanical Garden. If a stem is alive, it will display some green under the bark. If you can't find any live stems and no sprouts are visible from the base of the plant by late spring, you have a dead hydrangea. Pull the plant out and try for a more cold-hardy variety.

Be aware, however, that USDA hardiness zones rate a plant's ability to just survive, i.e., whether its roots can make it through the winter. When it comes to hydrangeas, you also need to know if the stems can survive, since many hydrangea varieties bloom only on 1-year-old wood, according to Ballato's article for the National Garden Bureau. If you can't get blooms from your hydrangea, what's the point? She recommends checking with a local nursery or extension service about hydrangea varieties that thrive in your region, just to be sure.

Hydrangeas will grow back if cut down. You can cut back hydrangeas all the back to ground level, and they will grow again. The only way to get a hydrangea to not grow back is if you pull the entire plant out of the ground and put it somewhere where the roots can’t get access to nutrients and water in the soil. If soil is poured on top of them, they will likely grow back but at a much slower rate. As long as the plant remains buried in the soil and has adequate water and the soil has enough nutrients, it will continue to grow.

When you cut them back, the stems are newer and not as strong as old hardened growth. So they will be more susceptible to wind damage. They won’t withstand being trampled underfoot.

Most people will cut back completely hydrangeas, which they want to hide from their flower landscape for a time. Or if they want to get rid of really old and stems which have been cut back many times already.

Watch the video: DIY Hydrangea Drop-In


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