Why won't my Hydrangias bloom?

diannelmtMarch 13, 2010

I'm not the only one that I know of that is having this problem, but my hydrangeas haven't bloomed in the past two years!

I didn't plant them, the previous owners of my house planted them, I'm not sure what variety they are, but they are big and very healthy, but the do not bloom at all!

What's the problem with them?

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Two things to consider:

- do they get enough sun to produce blooms? That takes more energy than just making leaves.

- are they being pruned (either by you or by something like a deer that eats the tips) at the wrong time?

What kind of hydrangea are they? The blue/pink ones?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 5:14PM
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They haven't been pruned at all in the last two years. No deer eating them either, they are in a fenced area.

I don't know what type of hydrangea they are, big leaves and I think it should get the typical blue or pink flowers.

Sun could be an issue in the early spring, but as the season goes on, they get more and more sun.

They are planted next to a rose that does just fine where it is. The rose gets plenty of sun anyway, do hydrangeas need more sun than a rose?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 7:07PM
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Many old-fashioned species hydrangeas bloom on "old wood", from buds that were set during the previous year's growing season. If your hydrangeas had buds on them, but still no blooms, they could be getting nipped by a late frost. Or the buds are "blasting", which means they're dropping due to a sudden drop in humidity, also fairly common.

Timing of bloom is another factor. It is my understanding that, in zone 5 at least, H. serrata blooms early; early enough in some years, to make it NOT bloom due to temperature (humidity) fluctuations.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 9:29PM
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Below zone 7, bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) typically require winter protection to preserve the flowers buds. As prairiegirlz states, with only a few exceptions, these all bloom on growth that was produced the previous season and that growth and the associated flower buds can easily be damaged by winter cold or late season freezes.

This tends to be the primary reason bigleaf hydrangeas fail to bloom.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 9:22AM
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BUT (yes it's a big one, watch out, ha), you CAN grow them and get them to bloom further north with some winter protection for the buds, since they're proving to be root-hardy ie they're still alive and growing from the roots. What you need to do is protect the buds, which grow at the tips of the stems. Make a little circle around the plant using stakes or sticks, add chicken wire or burlap to form a cage, stuff the cage with leaves. Oak leaves supposedly don't pack down as much as others. Keep an extra bag of leaves in the garage (so they don't freeze), as you'll need to add more leaves if they do pack down and expose the buds. Remove the entire thing when the last frost date is past. You should see new growth, and swollen buds on the tips of the branches.

Sounds like work, esp. as the shrubs get bigger. Which is why they came up all the newer paniculatas that bloom on both "new" and old wood. In other words, they develop new buds after growth resumes in spring, as well as sometimes keeping their buds from the past year. HTH!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 11:52AM
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I have been told by a florist if the first green is coming from the bottom, the root, that I shall never see a flower but will be a nice bush. I don't want a green bush I want those suberb flowers. Is there anyway to get them to bloom? It is on its third year.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 7:19PM
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I'd amend that to say if the only green you see is coming from the root crown, you are not likely to see any flowers. And this applies only to macrophyllas (or most of them) or other species that bloom on old growth. The vast majority of bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla and the closely related serratas) bloom on growth that was produced the previous season. Unless that growth is protected from winter cold damage, the plant will produce no flowers.

I am guessing by your user name you are in South Dakota? If so, winter protecting your shrubs is pretty much a requirement to see any flowers. The exception would be one of the newer selection that will bloom on both old AND new growth, like Endless Summer, and even these would benefit from protection. Or you can select from the species that bloom on new growth, like the paniculatas or arborescens (Annabelle) types. These tend to be very cold hardy as well.

Lots of sources here on the forum as well as other places online to provide winter protection how-to's.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 11:57AM
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My hydrageas usually get the majority of their new growth at the root crown at first. It takes some time for the old wood to start producing leaves, but it does. It never produces flowers though, just a really nice green bush.

I have one that had to be cut down to the ground due to the four feet of snow that had been on top of it and had crushed it. I'll be curious to see what that one does this year.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:21AM
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