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Hydrangea Won't Bloom


How do I get my Hydrangea plant to bloom?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By annek4 from Northford, CT


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Archive: Hydrangea Never Blooms

Q: I'm not having any luck getting my hydrangea to bloom. It forms the flower heads, but only 1 or 2 of the flowers open. What can I do to make it bloom like it should? I've had it for at least 7 years, and it has never bloomed.

Hardiness Zone: 3b

Eleanor from Duluth, MN

A: Eleanor,

There are a few reasons your hydrangeas may not be blooming. Because you live in Duluth, MN, I'm going to assume you're growing one of the hydrangea types best prepared to survive Minnesota winters. Hydrangeas prefer rich, well-drained, consistently moist soil. The varieties hardy to Minnesota do best in light sun to partial shade. They typically need at least a little morning sun and some afternoon shade. The more cool morning sun they get the better they bloom. If you think these basic needs are being met, your lack of blooms may be due to improper fertilizing or pruning. Excessive nitrogen fertilizers will keep the hydrangeas energy focused on roots and stems, instead of flowers. With the exception of Hydrangea macrophylla, most hydrangeas grown where you live bloom on new wood, and should be pruned in the spring. Pruning in summer, winter or fall removes next year's blooms.

If you're growing the type of hydrangea that blooms on old wood, pruning too hard will also keep plants from blooming. In this case, prune back to just above the second or third node from the base of the plant in the fall after a killing frost. This type of hydrangea is also less winter hardy and may need to be protected from freezing and thawing with mulch. The most common reason this type of hydrangea doesn't flower is due to winter damage, even though foliage appears healthy the following season.


More Answers:
RE: Hydrangea Never Blooms 10/14/2005
Have you tried giving it some fertilizer. I would try givingit a dose of 15-30-15 at a rate of 1 tablespoon/2 litres of water once every 2 weeks.
If you don't like using chemical fertilizers try top dressing it with compost or manure. Also the problem my be the pruning, as you may be pruning off your following years flowers...In this case check with your garden nursery as they usually have papers on tips for you to follow...Most are really good about giving advice. Good Luck !!!!!
By Linda W. (Guest Post)

Archive: Hydrangea Won't Bloom

Q: I have a hydrangea plant that is in its 3rd year. It gets mostly afternoon sun and morning shade. Why won't it bloom? My mom has one, too. We bought them together. She has blooms, I don't. I am jealous! Any advice?

Hardiness Zone: 4b

Lisa5 from Billings, MT

A: Lisa,

There are a couple of reasons your hydrangea may be failing to bloom. First off, compare the growing conditions of yours to that of your mothers. Do you offer yours the exact same light, soil, fertilization, winter protection, etc.? Do you seem to get a lot of dead wood each spring? If so, you may be losing the flower buds over winter and need to offer it some protection. You didn't mention what type of hydrangea you have, but if yours is a type that flowers on old wood, by pruning at the wrong times, you risk removing nest year's flower buds. To figure out what type of hydrangea you have and when to prune it, browse the information and pictures at If you have been pruning or removing dead wood, leave your hydrangeas alone for a year and see what happens. Protect them over winter by surrounding the shrub with a cage made out of chicken wire and filling it will leaves. In the spring after danger of frost has passed, remove the cage and give the wood a chance to wake up (some types wake up more slowly). Apply a slow release organic fertilizer once in June or side dress with compost or well-rotted manure. Hydrangea's love water (hence the name hydro) and deep, less frequent watering is best. Finally, remember that like people, every plant is different. Your hydrangea just may take a little longer to establish itself before blooming.

Good luck!

More Answers:

RE: Hydrangea Won't Bloom

I have read that if you plant a hydrangea that you have bought in full bloom such as ones sold at Mothers Day etc., they wont bloom again. When they are propogated they are forced for a one time show only. They are grown for that one time blooming and no matter how you plant or care for them they wont do anything but grow. I am currently trying to see if I take a cutting from one such as that and root it that maybe it will trick it into thinking it is a whole new plant and maybe will bloom. They are easily rooted. (06/19/2006)

By spesialangel

RE: Hydrangea Won't Bloom

I planted my hydrangea near a tree. I think for the first few years the tree took all the water from the ground. Whatever the reason, it took it several years to become established. It still doesn't grow fast, but it blooms... (06/23/2006)

By Carol in PA

RE: Hydrangea Won't Bloom

I think I cut my hydrangeas back too far last fall, and this year all i got were green shoots, i didn't get one flower. If i leave them alone this fall and let them come back naturally next spring, will they bloom?
i need help with this, it seems like such a waste of a beautiful flower. (considering they were one of the reasons my wife wanted the house we're in.)

(b)Editor's Note: (/b) Because there are green shoots, it will probably come back next year. I think some hydrangeas only bloom on the older wood. (07/24/2006)


Archive: Hydrangea Won't Bloom

Why won't my hydrangea bloom?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Sandee from Falcon, MO


RE: Hydrangea Won't Bloom

I add 1 Tbsp. Epsom salt to a gallon of water and pour around the roots of my Hydrangeas once in the Fall and once in the Spring before they begin to leaf out. This has worked in making plants that were just all leaves and no flowers, bloom. It has also worked for my French Lilac plants which were not blooming at all. Try it. (07/14/2008)

By SueBee

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