Most plant growth in Indiana is about a month ahead of schedule. We had no Winter. It was great! Temperatures reached the mid 80's during the month of March. Farmers began planting field corn. Even a few, put out soybeans! Now our state is getting bad frosts. Several of my plants are really suffering as a result of this. Especially, my hydrangea! The leafs are all wilting. Should I cut back its' branches or just leave them alone? Do yot think the plant will bloom this year? Thanks!
What will happen to a hydrangea that has been hit by frost?
If it is a well established plant, at least 2 years old, I would expect it to bounce back just fine and probably bloom this year. The stronger the root system the faster it will bounce back. I wouldn't prune it. Just remove any leaves that are mushy. Pruning it may remove buds that are ready to open. If it is a brand new plant it will take longer to recover but you should at least get leaves this year and a bloom next year. You may want to give it an extra boost of low nitrogen fertilizer to help encourage good root growth. But otherwise, you are probably fine. Remember, nature always finds a way.
I agree, it should come back. I also wouldn't prune it. It's possible that the freeze damaged the buds and you won't get flowers this year, but if you prune then you'll be cutting off the flower buds and if it's one of the hydrangeas that blooms on old wood then you definitely wouldn't get flowers. So I'd leave it alone. Once a few months go by and you can see which parts are dead and which came back then you can prune out the dead parts but it's too early to tell now which parts got killed and which didn't.
My Hydrangea's are just making new buds now, I never cut my stems back till well after spring as the old stems and dried foliage helps shield the plants from the winter frosts. Once the buds begin to show little green on them, I will then prune the stems down to about 2 feet from the base, making the cut just above an outside facing bud and this allows air to flow through the plant as the stems are more open like a cup shape.
I give them a mulch with a handful of Blood / fish / bone meal added to give a feed and as this is a slow release feed then it will see the plant right through till autumn.
Good luck. WeeNel.