Dying or dried up Hydrangea

(Question)

Our Hydrangea is dying – at least we think so, last year it was beautiful very colourful and has been over the years.
But this year the new leaf buds came out then the hot heat in May, probably finished it off (That’s what we think)
but lately some new green leaves are appearing at the bottom.

Can this be saved ? (see picture)

Thanks
Jawahar Rajan and Linzy Abraham

 

(Answer)

It is a little difficult to tell from the photo, but your hydrangea probably belongs to the “Big-Leaf” group, Hydrangea macrophylla. These are the hydrangeas that bloom in colours of blue and pink. Although these shrubs will live through most Toronto winters, their branches die back if the winter is cold (as was the case last year (2017/18). Once spring arrives, the plants will sprout branches from the root. In milder winters, such as the previous year (2016/17), the branches on many of these hydrangeas will survive. In these cases, you will see new growth along the branches as well as from the base, in spring. In both cases, the shrub will survive, but the problem is that these hydrangeas flower on old wood, so the plant that has come through a cold winter with die back will not flower well, if at all. Sometimes, these hydrangeas will produce a few flowers on the current seasons growth, very late in the summer. Some new cultivars bloom on both new and old wood. For more information on hydrangeas and their pruning requirements, please follow this link to a previous answer on the Ask a Master Gardener website:  http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/hydrangea-blooming-growing-pruning/

The dead branches should be pruned from your hydrangea now, taking care to leave the new growth.  Then, leave the plant to send up new shoots from the base. You may not get much (or any) bloom this summer, but your plant will likely survive.