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:
Hydrangea Never Blooms10/14/2005
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)

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