2015 winter possible cause of no hydrangea blooms?

grossepointe(6)July 11, 2014

Hi - You know the line-"misery loves company" - so I'm wondering if I'm the only one with very healthy looking hydrangea shrubs with virtually no or extremely few buds/blooms. Particularly my All Summer Beauty hydrangeas. I'm in southeast Michigan zone 5. They are 5 years old and have bloomed just fine in the past. I notice very few buds on my lace cap hydrangeas also. I've fertilized all of them as always with HollyTone.
Anyone else noticing the same thing? The shrubs look beautiful and healthy, but that's it! Maybe they'll start to bud later this season???

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Soni123(7)

Yes! I have three ES shrubs that are leafy and green but I don't see any buds. I've had two of them for a few years that have had blooms in the past - northeast facing - and get morning sun and afternoon shade. I have another ES that is southwest facing and gets morning shade and afternoon sun. This one I planted in Spring 2013. I'm so sad at the thought of no blooms this year!! I'm also a new gardener so I'm not confident that I'm doing what I should be doing for them which is honestly nothing. I haven't fertilized or pruned.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:45PM
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three4rd

I have the same problem this year. The plants started to leaf out quite late and only came up from the bottom, which in itself is unusual. They are not near as tall as they usually are, and there are no buds. I attribute it to the extremely cold winter. There was snow and ice piled up fairly high on the old growth for months. We'll see what happens next year. I'm really disappointed since I love the flowers. Mine usually put up quite a show with huge flowers that last for months.

Keith

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:42PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

The cold weather has affected macrophyllas worst and a sprinkling of oakleafs and serratas as they all bloom on old wood. I would expect no "damage" to paniculatas and arborescens like Annabelle. I would also expect reblooming macs to start their second set of flower sometime in July. I too was affected down here and my old wood Macs produce no blooms except for Mme. Emile Moulliere. Some old wood macs in protected settings did fine. Rebloomers did fine. Oakleafs bloomed as usual. Paniculatas and Annabelles in this area have bloomed too. I hope you all get some bloomage!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:51AM
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grossepointe(6)

Well, I'm sad for all of us, as they usually bring such color and beauty to our gardens. At least the foliage is healthy looking. My All Summer Beauty shrubs were getting too big for their space, so I'm thinking that if I have no buds at all by early August, I'm going to give them a good pruning and not have to worry that I'm cutting off buds or blooms. Maybe a good shock will help?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:07AM
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hokierustywilliamsbu

DONT prune as you will be cutting off next years blooms. This years wood is setting next years buds. Don't cut.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:08AM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

No amount of pruning will help if the winters are like last.

And no fertilizer should be applied after early July.

All you can do is cut old wood bloomers back to about 2' NOW and winter protect all macs up to 2' in height beginning in November and December ( AFTER buds have hardened off but before thr coldest temps hit). Old wood bloomers that bloom on terminal buds only are not recommended for outdoor use in the north.

There are plenty of examples of winter protection methods archived in the forum. But basically they all involve piling or layering insulating materials atop or between the bare stems. You can use just about ANYTHING that does not damage the stems, buds, or cause the plant to rot. Some people go so far as to dig the plants up, trash bag the roots and then pile the plants up like coals and throw tarps and lattice over the pile for the winter, to re-plant next season. I had a burning bush and a barberry sitting outside with roogs in bags 10 feet away from a foundation in -20 temps and they survived. A 7-10 gallon rootball treated like this would result in a 5-6 foot plant loaded with blooms every year.

The main reason everything has rebounded with massive growth and few blooms (even ES) is simply a genetic response to the severity of the winter. But, this growth is a good sign for next year, provided you winter-protect and that the winter itself is somewhat milder.

Bottom line is that results with these plants is CUMULATIVE (over multiple seasons) and not an all-or-nothing affair. And the industry of companies and stores selling starter plants to people who don't fully understand or want to put the work into success will always be a controversial issue.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:45AM
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grossepointe(6)

Thank you, Springwood Gardens! It didn't seem like my All Summer Beautys bloomed on old wood - seemed like all the blooms in past years came on new growth, but I've been wrong before! So I'll wait till next season to prune right after they are done blooming, correct?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:42AM
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ginkgonut(4)

I am impressed with Bloomstrucks performance after this past winter. From what I've seen it is ouperfming ES original. Mine is covered in flowers with more coming. Original only has a few. No winter protection used, but we did have good snowcover.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:01AM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

The only plant that loved the cold weather this past winter in my garden was Hydrangea arborescens 'Bella Anna'. This plant had no winter damage-- branch dieback or lost buds. The worst damage was Hydrangea serrata 'Purple Tiers'. It had heavy branch dieback despite being in a shaded corner of the garden and when I looked a few weeks ago-- only one bloom on it and that was near the ground!! Yes, the extreme cold winter affected a lot of plants in our area-- namely the hydrangeas& camellias. My peonies loved the cold and with this year's blooms seemed to say "Bring it on, winter, we can take it!" ;)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:28PM
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view1ny NY 6-7

jazzmom, I live in Brooklyn & my experience was the same as yours. My Sarah Bernhardt peony put on a beautiful show of pink blooms while my Nikko Blue hydrangea only has a bit of foliage & no blooms.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:11PM
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Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)

My dwarf limelight were put in last year, and they are just now starting to put on some new branch growth and very few blooms. I am just praying and hoping that they sprint some grown before the winter!
In my neighborhood, I see the established white incrediballs blooming very well, but virtually nothing else is blooming.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:33PM
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grossepointe(6)

As I continue to walk and bike around my neighborhood, I see lots of hydrangeas in bloom where the shrubs are next to the house - they probably received residual heat that way? But I think we all have the same problem - beautiful foliage on healthy looking shrubs, but that's going to be it for 2014. They better be AWESOME next season : ) !!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 3:27PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

My Endless Summer and All Summer Beauty are killed back to the ground or the snow line (depending on how cold it got before the snow arrived) every winter. They therefore don't bloom on old wood, but bloom well on new wood starting in the second or third week of July and continuing into the fall. If you had good snow cover during the cold weather, I'd expect your plants to behave like mine do, but if some of the really cold weather happened without snow cover, the exceptional cold may have done more damage.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:31PM
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