I just planted a Forever and ever series "Blue Heaven" hydrangea from Lowes. How will I need to protect in winter? Also, do I really NEED to add lime or surphates to change the color? Or is that just optional? I am in NE Ohio zone 5b.
You don't necessarily need to protect it--it'll bloom on old & new wood, so even if you don't protect it you should still get some blooms on new wood. But if you want the old wood blooms too, then I'd build a cage around it and fill it up with leaves for the winter (there are probably other methods too, but that's one I've seen a lot of people do). As far as lime or sulfur, you would only use those if you want to change the color, otherwise they're not needed. If you have acidic soil the blooms will be blue and if you want it to be pink you'll have to add lime. If you have alkaline soil, then your blooms will be pink and you'd have to add sulfur or something else to lower the pH if you want them to be blue. But if you like them the color they naturally are in your soil then you don't need to try and change things.
Thanks ecrane3! The leaves must be chopped up right? I would think they would smother the plant? I do want them blue so I'll have to see what happens. My soil is already neutral to slightly acidic now about 6.5 to 7.
I have forever and ever blue heaven and red sensation. This will be their first winter but have other hydrangea I winter protect. Last year I used burlap tubes and filled them with straw. This year I am going to use chicken wire covered with burlap and stuffed with straw. Just a hint tie twine around the stems and bring them together (don't force them) so when you cover it you have less chance of breaking any.
With all the rain we have had this year my hydrangea are amazing and taking over the place.