Hi: everyone I live in Acton MA (I think it is zone 5 ) and hope you can help me with overwintering my hydrangea cuttings (they are mophead, not sure about the specific type). I stuck them in mid-August and all 25 look like they have taken. I ended up keeping them in my garage under a flourescent light all this time as I was gone for a couple of days in Sep and wrapped them in plastic for humidity while gone.
Anyway, I am trying to figure out how to get them (at least a couple!) through the winter. After all this I am very anxious about losing them. My plan is to get them outside and cover them with mulch, but need help with the specifics. Would you please help me with the following questions? I would also appreciate any advice you can offer beyond what I have asked.
1) when should I put them outside and cover them with mulch - before the first frost? After the first frost?
2) does the type of mulch make a difference? would leaves from my yard (we have lots of oak and some maple trees) be fine or should I purchase some special mulch (bark mulch)?
3) should I plant them now in the locations I ultimately plan on putting them or should I keep them in their peat pots, maybe in a long low box near the house (we have a deck I could put them under). Or should I transplant them into bigger nonpeat pots?
4) should I water them well before covering? do I need to water them after covering with mulch?
5) when should I uncover them next spring?
6) how will I tell if they survived the winter? in other words, what will they look like if they did well or if they did not?
I really look forward to chatting with you all and hope one day can offer advice!
Thanks in advance for your help!