Endless Summer Hydrangea Wont Bloom

emba129June 26, 2011

Hi. I have 2 Endless Summer Hydrangea's. This is the 5th season. They bloomed beautifully for years 1 and 2. In year 3 they were blooming. However, the plants were getting huge so my wife cut them to the ground mid summer. (I wasn't happy!!). For the last 2 years they are growing healthily, but not a single bloom.

Are they ever going to bloom again? can I feed them something or are they shot!! Im thinking of pulling them up and starting over.

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

How much fertilizer are they getting? If the soil has an excess of nitrogen, that could make the shrubs continue growing nice green leaves only.

Do you have any wild animals that could be eating the flower buds? Deer, squirrels, rabbits are known to do that although I would have expected one or two buds to escape harm.

The shrubs should have bloomed again by now. Under normal cold scenarios, the shrubs would have grown new stems from the ground and these should have produced blooms.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 10:13PM
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lelia(Northern Cal)

I'd second the excessive nitrogen and nibbling wildlife suggestions. Around here, deer make a beeline for hydrangeas if you don't fence them out.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:21PM
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If they do not get enough sun they will not bloom

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:48PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

I think everyone's missing the point. The plants were doing well for 3 years until the OP's wife cut them down to the ground. I will never understand what possesses someone to do something like that.

If the plants bloomed before, they will probably bloom again (unless your wife is still trimming them). They may be still overcoming the shock of nearly being killed. Or you may be overfertilizing in order to get back some of the lost growth.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 6:39PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Perhaps we should inquire about pruning. If it is being done at the wrong time (in order to keep the plant smaller), that could easily explain the lack of bloom.

Just a thought.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 6:49PM
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Thanks for the inputs folks..

I have never fertilized them. No signs of any nibbling. These are with other shrubs that are doing fine... and wife has been warned not to touch them!!!

As far as sun, they get about 1/2 days worth.. I do cut them down at the first frost in the fall and they come back strong next season.. all except for no flowers at all!!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:15PM
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can u send a pic??? Do not cut them down--let the old wood alone....

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 11:39PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

Stop cutting them down in fall.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:38AM
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msalcido(7/8 (Dallas/Ft.Worth))

so I'm confused on a couple of responses - specifically those that state not to cut back? I thought ES are able to bloom on old and new wood? If this is the case, how would cutting them back effect the blooms?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:02PM
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lelia(Northern Cal)

Yes, try not cutting them back until just after they bloom. I have a couple of Endless Summers which do not bloom all season, in fact, they act just like normal mopheads, so I suspect that hydrangeas that are labeled 'Endless Summer' (a very common variety) may not be genetically uniform.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:43PM
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Good posts..

I cut them every year because when frost hits, leaves turn black, Did this the first 2 years and they came back with flowers. Then nothing. I can post a pic.. can someone tell me how?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:03PM
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stop pruning-yes they bloom on old and new wood-but bloom first on old-then new wood-you cutting them down forces the plant to grow wood instead of flowers and the new wood flowers sometimes do not have time to bloom-leave them unpruned-ugly yes-see what happens next year....

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 9:23PM
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Thanks. My neighbor has them on the side of his yard in the middle of overgrown brush and weeds. I was walking the property tonight and noticed the hydrangea is in full bloom!!!. They get very little sunlight. He does NOTHING to them and its beautiful!! Not touching them may be the key!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:10PM
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LindaMA(MA z5)

I had a very similar problem with my Endless Summer Hydrangeas. For the first year or two they bloomed nicely but then after that, there were no more blooms, only nice healthy looking leaves and growth. Then a neighbor who works at a nursery told me to stop cutting them down in the fall, so I did and once I stopped, within two years my ES had blooms again. The same with my dad's ES Hydrangeas. I really think that adage of blooming on old and new wood is a crock. Yes, do nothing to them and you'll be rewarded.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 3:47PM
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My ES goes unprotected each winter and as a result it dies back to the ground each and every winter. Each and every spring it grows back from nothing. No old wood survives at all and I still get blooms each and every year.

Here is my ES a few nights ago.

You'll also notice that it is in dappled shade and it still blooms quite reliably for me. It is actually a foundation plant, on the eastern end of my house. As such, it gets morning sun only and then it is shaded the rest of the day by the house. The first few years I fertilized it several times a season, everytime the roses and clematis got fed, so did the hydrangeas. I have since stopped fertilizing them. They haven't gotten any fertilizer in a couple seasons now. Now all it gets is a sprinkling of aluminum sulfate each spring and that's it.

Cutting/dying back each fall/winter won't keep it from blooming as mine can prove.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:13PM
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This is the first year that my ES have not bloomed yet and are not yet showing buds either. I have never trimmed them in the fall but waited until the new growth came out in the spring/early summer then trimmed off any unsightly stems that did not have new growth by late May/early June and was rewarded with beautiful pink flowers. Unfortunately this year they froze down to the crown and all growth was from the crown, none on the old stems so I cut out the old stems in mid June. I am hoping that I will still have flowers this year but no buds yet. I am disappointed because I am planning a big graduation party for son in mid August and was counting on the lovely pink blooms I usually had from the ES when other perennials were not as fresh. (4 years running) Any suggestions on how to get the blooms coming? Will the slow release fertilizers granules work for ES? That is what I normally use in my garden as I don't have a lot of time. I do try to throw on some water when it doesn't rain and they do get shade during parts of the day that helps with water also. They were also freshly mulched in mid-June. My Oakleaf H are blooming well and another H has several buds even though it is leggy because I didn't get to prune it last fall. Could using Preen affect the growth coming from the crown? I should think the landscapers who mulched would know not to get it too close, but you never know. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 1:14AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I wonder if your fertilizer application was too much and it occured as the plant was going to produce flower buds. Too much nitrogen then made the plant grow nice green leaves instead? The way to check this would be to use a soil kit that measures how much nitrogen your soil has (gives readings like "High", "Average", "Low" when you mix a little soil, water and some pills that change the water to certain colors. Plant nurseries carry it.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 2:44AM
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blueeskimo(z4-5a PA)

I've had few ES since they first became available (2007). Unreliable blooms through the years for me. Yes, I've waited till Jun to cut the dead woods off. I never thought of winter protection for them since they're supposed to bloom on the new woods. That is until last winter.
The result is tremendous - all four plants are fully loaded with buds & blooms.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 6:10PM
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jan44(z4b WI)

I have three nice large plants on north side of my garage. They've been there about 6 years. The first three years they were beautiful. The next year, I had very few blooms and the past two,they are loaded with buds and are just ready to bloom in September, at frost time. Really annoying. They seem to bloom later every year. I trim them back every fall and don't winter protect. I may just replace them this year with new shrubs.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2015 at 4:10PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

That would get on my case real fast too!

ES stems will ususally dry out/die in your zone and then grow back from the crown and bloom. You would think maybe by July-ish. However, they sure seem to be starting their bloomage quite late, don't they?

Has anything changed after those first three years where they bloomed nicely? I mean anything changed to the plants and-or their surroundings/garden?

I would make an experiment to duplicate conditions as they were 6 years ago... as best as you can. For example, if you did not prune them during those three years then do not prune them. If you did not fertilize them at all then do not feed them. If you added much more mulch than you do now, do that this year. Etc. Try to make things the same as you remember.

Make sure they are getting enough fertilizer (not too much of it), enough water and enough sun (especially from Spring thru Summer as lack of water will kill flower buds). Do make a soil test, even using those cheap kits, to make sure the pH and the nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium levels are ok (high N and dense shade can be a problem sometimes).


PS - in your neck of the woods, I would try paniculatas because they are so hardy (to Z3) and many people post of ES having trouble. I do not see as many posts with the Forever and Ever Series so switching to one of those could also be part of the experiment.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2015 at 2:14PM
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Have a question.....I did not cut the blooms off the ES hydrangea. It is the strawberry vanilla variety. Should I cut the old blooms off this late winter or do nothing and see what happens? Please advise, thanks

    Bookmark   February 14, 2015 at 9:48AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Old ES blooms can be deadheaded as opposed to pruned. Click here. That page has good pruning and deadheading information.

Scroll down to "Method I" and then down some more to "REMOVING OLD BLOOMS".

HOWEVER... note that ES does not have a Strawberry Vanilla Variety... at least I do not think it does. To view the various ESs, click the link here.

If you meant a Hydrangea paniculata called Strawberry Vanilla, its blooms can be deadheaded now too or left thru winter. H. paniculata Vanilla Strawberry will develop flower buds "late", around June-July.

In either case, the blooms should eventually fall on their own.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 8:33AM
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