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One of the most asked questions in the nursery yard in recent days is, “When will my hydrangea and butterfly bush wake up? Did they overwinter okay?” The answer to that question is not as straightforward as I would like it to be.
The biggest factor this spring has been our unusually cold temperatures, especially at night. Due to the especially cold weather, plants are still clinging to their winter dormancy. Once Mother Nature warms up, you will start to see signs of life.
So what can you do in the meantime? Let’s start with the butterfly bush. Prune back your plants to anywhere from 6-18″ high. Feed them with Plant-tone, following the directions on the back of the bag. Plant-tone is a slow-release fertilizer that will feed over time and not interfere with dormancy.
Now it’s time for hydrangeas. The most important item to remember is to resist the temptation to prune your hydrangeas all the way to the ground. Most varieties of hydrangea bloom on old wood, so if you remove the old growth it will affect the flowering for the season. Right now, you should start to see green foliage breaking from the center of the plant, with large portions of the branching of the plant still looking dormant. Now is also the time to feed your hydrangea. We recommend Holly-tone, slow-release fertilizer for acid-loving plants, now. Once your plants start blooming you may apply Color-Me Blue or Color-Me Pink to ensure they are the perfect color for your garden all summer long.