Nearly everywhere you look on Cape Cod, you see hydrangeas. In a normal year, summer brings showy bushes that are thick with leaves and full buds that may be open.
But a harsh winter, such as the one of 2013/2014, causes plants to emerge wounded from the cold—or not to emerge at all. If your hydrangeas have died back to the ground, remove all canes that show no sign of growth. The plants will still grow just as tall as they were the previous year.
Endless Summer and other hydrangeas that flower on both new and old wood should produce some flowers on the new growth later in the summer, but you won’t have the normal display. Hydrangeas that always bloom on new growth, including Annabelle and Limelight, will bloom normally. A cold winter won’t alter their flowering.
For mop-head hydrangeas that have died back, apply composted cow manure around the base of the plant and give it a light feeding with a fertilizer such as Holly-tone.