I purchased an annabelle hydrangea from a big box store in early spring. It put in a large stone container on the balcony and it grew quite fast this spring and summer. Soon it will be time to store in for winter. My question is will it survive the cold Toronto winter on the balcony with protection or I need to move it indoor. Thank you
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your question.
The Annabelle hydrangea is a hardy variety that blooms well even after very cold winters. However, it is a good idea to protect containerized plants over winter. One good option is to move the container to a sheltered location, such as an unheated garage or basement, at the end of fall. Be sure to check the soil periodically and make sure it doesn’t dry out. Alternatively, you can sink the container into the ground outside before the soil freezes, and then dig it out in the spring after the temperatures warm. Some people prefer to put the hydrangea into a non-decorative planter as they find it easier to extract the plant in the spring. Or, it can be left in its existing container.
If you opt to plant your hydrangea in the ground, either permanently or in its container over winter, you can insulate the top growth from drying winds and sun by surrounding the plant with a frame of chicken wire and filling it with leaves or other loose insulating material. Remove the frame and the leaves once the temperatures warm in the spring but before the plant puts out new leaves for the season.
I wish you many years of enjoyment with your hydrangea!
For more information on hydrangea care, please see the following link from the University of Illinois Extension Service.