Hardiness Zone: 4b
Maureen From Nova Scotia Canada
Your hydrangea sounds like it's getting the right amount of shade/sun, so as long as you're not using a fertilizer that is too high in nitrogen, the problem is probably your Nova Scotia winters. Cold damage is the most common reason this type of hydrangea fails to bloom. You didn't mention whether or not you cover your Nikko in the winter. Although they are usually rated to zone 4 or 5, Nikkos (especially when young) should be given winter protection. You can do this by surrounding the shrub with a cage made from chicken wire and filling it up with leaves or straw. The Nikko Blue blooms on old wood so pruning it can also be tricky. Flower buds usually form on the stems sometime between August and October, so most gardeners prune them by the end of July. Later pruning puts you at risk for cutting off next year's buds. Fortunately, if Nikkos are located in a fairly protected area, pruning usually isn't necessary for this type of hydrangea unless you need to rein them in or revitalize them. Dead stems can be removed anytime. Good luck!
Does your Hydrangea die back to the ground every year (in winter)? If so, most Hydrangeas only bloom on "old wood". If it dies to the ground, there is no "old wood" for it to bloom on. Really good winter protection, mulching very, very deep, surrounding it with a barrier and filling the barrier with straw or hay may help. A good variety, which blooms on new and old wood is the new "endless Summer" variety. For the Nikko, I would try heavy protection and/or moving it to a location where it is protected from wind, etc. If you can't keep old wood, it never will bloom. (05/08/2006)
Hydrangeas prefer shade! (05/10/2006)
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