Why won't my Endless Summer bloom?

lorri(z5 SW NE)July 9, 2005

Please help - planted three Endless Summer hydrangeas last Fall. They are now about 12-14 inches high and about 24 inches across. They are leafy and well branched, but no blooms!! They get the East and West sun, they are mulched well, and I've been applying Bloom Booster periodically. Are they just developing a good root system? Absolutely no sign of blooms yet, and from reading this forum, everybody else's are going gang busters!

Any info would be greatly appreciated....

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sandykk(z6 MD)

Lorri, I would say be patient. My All Summer Beauty just did nothing last year until the end of the year and then the blooms didn't have time to develop before the cold weather. I was really fussing. But this year, she is a beauty. Full of beautiful big blue blossoms. I did buy an Endless Summer this Spring and it is blooming now. But it was in quite a large pot with blooms already started. I'm crossing my fingers for next year.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 10:55PM
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lorri(z5 SW NE)

Thanks Sandy...still, other shrubs I've planted in the past have always had a least few blooms the following season: Viburnums, Annabelle hydrangea, Weigelas, etc. Endless Summer seems to a bit of a bust for me in Zone 5.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 3:10PM
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karen_w(5 MI)

I bought an ES last spring, then wasn't smart enough to protect it when we got a late frost. Branch tips turned black, and I cut them off to clean up the plant. It's planted in a container and it's got HUGE pink blooms right now. I'm impressed. Now if I can get the blooms to be blue.....

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 7:04PM
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How did you get yours to bloom in a container? I have two ES in containers and have been feeding them Miracle Grow and still nothing! The leaves are somewhat pale on some branches. What are you doing to make yours bloom so beautiful? Do you have a pic?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 7:07PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Be patient - it is probably busy establishing a strong root system. As long as the bush looks healthy, it is fine. It will produce when it is ready to produce, and once it decides to, you will be rewarded for your patience. :)

Side note: Take it easy on the Bloom Booster - over-fertilizing is not necessarily a good thing.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 11:59PM
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karen_w(5 MI)

Sorry, I don't have a picture. When I say "blooms", I mean TWO. It's just a small plant but the blooms are large. That's why I'm impressed and waiting for an even better show.
I didn't do anything but water it. I was resigned that it was a runt and wouldn't do anything this summer after the frostbite.
I think I hit it once with alfalfa tea, which I was feeding to the roses and anything that looked runty.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 2:30PM
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I'm very anxious about my ES as well. I got it on sale the end of August 2004, mulched it well, and this year it stands no taller than 8 inches tall. There are 2 very very small flower heads. It receives morning sun and afternoon shade. I've fertilized it twice but perhaps that isn't enough. I planted it behind some daylilies thinking that it would stand tall and the flower heads would be beckoning as I walked by. In reality I forget about it most times since it's so short. I just hope it is developing super strength roots to survive our cold winter.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 1:56PM
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I planted three bare root ES last spring. No winter protection and they came up fine this spring. The bushes are not overly large but all are blooming. The one that gets the most sun has the largest flowers. Looked to see if I had some pics but only pics of the 3 gallon ones I planted this year in a different garden. They had been treated in the pot so are blooming blue but gradually turning purple/pink. The ones from last year have lovely large blooms that are pink.

Mary Lu

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:42PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Mary Lu - your beds are beautiful! :)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 2:10PM
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kidhorn(7a MD)

I planted one two years ago during the summer. The next year I didn't get a single blooms. This past winter I decided to winter protect it and this year it produced about 20 blooms. I think it's not as different from other macrophyllas as people would lead you to believe in that it isn't that great at blooming on new growth. Give it some good winter protection this year and next year you'll likely get some blooms.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 3:02PM
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twohuskies(z4A Mpls, MN)

Actually KidHorn, I doubt your winter protection made much difference and ES IS different from the other macrophyllas. I winter protected half of my ES last winter and looking at them now I see no difference in the number of blooms. My non-winter protected ones died down to the crown and right now they look just as good as my protected ones. Even with winter protection it looks like I'll be lucky to get any blooms on my 3 less hardy macs. So yes, I would say blooming on new wood is a big difference from most other macs.. And my non protected ones are COVERED with blooms on NEW growth.

I'm guessing yours spent last year growing roots and such and that's why you didn't get any blooms. If it can survive an unprotected winter in my zone and bloom like crazy then I would guess any winter protection in your zone is just not needed.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 4:23PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I planted my ES in the spring of 2004, and they didn't bloom all summer. They started forming buds in September, but we had frost before the flowers opened up. This year, they bloomed beautifully, so I wouldn't worry about your lack of blooms this year.

Another thought - when you bought them were they in blue pots? I'm wondering if they might have been mislabeled, which would explain no blooms after a cold winter in an unprotected area.

I don't know about that bloom booster. They are usually high phosphorus, which is not recommended for hydrangeas for reasons that I don't remember at the moment. If I were you, I wouldn't apply the bloom booster.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 3:31AM
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Mine are spectacular this year and still blooming. Here are the specifics.

Number of plants: 2

Climate/Zone: 6b Maryland. Temperate with 4 seasons, hot summers, cold winters, and perfect springs/autumns. High air humidity year round but summer drought is not unheard of.

Location: 1st one is planted on east side of yard in full sun (needs a lot of water). 2nd is on northeast side of house (doesn't need quite as much water).

Age: 1st is 2 years old. 2nd is 1 year old.

Feeding: Combination of used coffee grounds and miracle grow.

Water: a good drenching (2-3 gallons worth) at least once a week. More if it doesn't rain.

Soil: heavy red clay that is soundly acidic. If I don't amend with coffee grounds my blooms are purple. Use the grounds and they are bright cobalt blue.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 9:20AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

KidHorn - Like TwoHuskies, I winter protected half of mine, left the other half unprotected. Guess what? The unprotected ones are actually doing *better* than the protected ones. They died to the ground but once they got up and going they haven't stopped. The winter protected ones started growing a bit too early, and the growth got nipped by cold in teh spring, so that seemed to set them back. They have flowers all over them, but the foliage isn't as lush.

So, perhaps your E.S. were mislabelled and not really E.S. - ? Or perhaps yours are getting established. Either way, E.S. **does not** need protection to bloom. :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 4:11PM
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Fran_W(z6 CT)

We planted our hydrangea (blue) four years ago and still no blossoms. Plant looks very mature, but no blossoms....yet. Any suggestions??

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 4:29PM
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greensideup_Mass(z4 Mass)

To everyone with "ES".
They are the real deal.They will rebloom next year.they are hardy. Mine bloom like crazy without winterprotection.
Only buy them when in blue pots with the name on it.
I have seen "fakes" in black pots.And yes do hit them with bloom booster.The phosphate will help grow bigger roots and therefore bigger flowers.Go easy on the Nitrogen thou.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 4:28PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Fran - if you planted 4 years ago, you do not have Endless Summer. E.S. was not on the market 4 years ago.

Ditto Greensideup - only buy E.S. in the blue buckets. I had a choice last season when purchasing, and I chose the blue bluckets because I was positive I was getting E.S. Suck it up and pay a few bucks more if you have to - if you don't, there is a chance you really aren't getting E.S.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 4:07PM
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'Endless Summer" may or may not be in a blue pot--it's up to the grower whether they use the premium pot (at a higher cost than a plain, black pot).

And if you think the color of the pot guarantees anything, you haven't worked in a nursery. Of course, all plants should be correctly named. Mishaps happen. We're human.

Why would you use fertilizer without knowing if your soil were deficient in any nutrients? Some people have fertile soil naturally, or thru their great gardening practices.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 10:48PM
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silvergold(z5a WI)

Well, mine are the real deal purchased from a good supplier the first year they were available on a limited basis. Just looked it up - May 2003. So, that would mean they have had four seasons now. They barely grew at all until this year. Lots of healthy foilage this year. Last year, one of the three had one bloom. This year, one of the three (a different one) had two blooms. Next year is their last - they bloom or they get the boot.

Regarding the fertilizer, the Endless Summer web page itself indicates they are heavy feeders and recommends high phosphorus fertilizer:
To encourage flowering, we recommend a fertilizer low in nitrogen and with a phosphorus content over 30. (An N-P-K ratio of 10-40-10 is ideal.)

So, since I have not done that in the past, I plan on doing it next year. I think I saw enough posts on this forum from people in zone 5 and 4 this past season indicating no blooms, that for me the jury is still out on this one.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 8:49PM
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ostrich(3a AB)

Silvergold, I hear ya! My 3 ES bloomed beautifully last year, which was the first season after they were planted the previous fall. Then this year, there was tremendous foliage growth but hardly any bloom. I blamed it on the late, late frosts that really damaged the buds because I didn't protect them during those frosts... so I will give that one more try!

The two new ES that we planted in our church late this spring bloomed beautifully, so I really hope it's just the late frosts...

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 10:02AM
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hooksettnhgardener(z5 NH)

I have read with interest the posts about Endless Summers not blooming. I have had one for about 3 years now. The first year I got a few blooms, then the following year better, and this past summer I had tons of blooms. I think the key is water water water. I have read that they like moist soil, and I have found that you can have great looking foliage and no buds if the soil is not watered regularly (I mean daily in full sun)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 12:02PM
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Plants usually don't grow and flower at the same time. A great way to reduce flowers is to induce growth. Too much Nitrogent = all vegetative growth. Too much N also will make a plant more susceptible to disease. Flowering is part of a plant's self preservation. When stressed, a plant will often bloom more prolifically to produce more seed and insure it's genetic future.

Try turning down the water a bit and backing off the N. It's ok for a hydrangea to "flag" a bit in the late afternoon heat.

By the way, I have about 20 'Endless Summer'. It has bloomed as promised, but I do not care for the plant. Weak grower, foliage is thin, not robust.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 9:55PM
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Last summer was my first year with ES. Morning sun, afternoon shade. I watered it well almost every day and gave it miracle grow (liquid) It was amazing! The plant itself wasn't more than a foot high but the flowers were at least 6 inches wide and as blue as could be! Water and fertilizer!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 9:25PM
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silvergold(z5a WI)

As far as growth goes, they did well their first summer - of course. Pretty much slept the next two years - tiny little plants. Then last year, their forth, they grew - but no flowers. I did try some high phosphorus fertilizer last year but it was too late in the season. I will try high phosphorus fertilizer, as the breeders say to, this next year. If still no flowers, they will not stay another year. I'll write it off at that time as a lot of hype. I've seen too many people in the cold north say they haven't bloomed for them.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 11:56PM
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I have 2 ES that I planted last summer. They died to the ground over the winter but have grown up from the ground and filled out beautifully. They are both on the west wall of my house. One has 5 blossoms developing. The other has one. I have no idea why one is so much more productive than the other. They have had identical treatment. Any hypotheses?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 1:34PM
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I hear you all. Don't know what these crazy plants like. I have 4. 2 new ones doing well in full sun but had buds when I bought them.
One gets shade from 2pm on. Nothing blooming yet. Not even a sign of it. Died to the ground over winter.
The last one gets sun from noon to sunset with a break from 2-3 pm. It looks as though it may have one bud coming. It has been in place for 3 years now. I bought it the very first year they were out. Dies to the ground every winter and has never got bigger than 12 inches in all directions.

I am so disappointed and stupid enough to have invested in 2 new ones this year.

What are the other continuous bloomers out there? I am new to hydrangeas It may be time to consider replacing the 3 year old.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 4:50PM
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juells3(zone 5, Ohio)

I have an ES on the ENE side of my house so it is protected. I planted it 2 summers ago. It is doing great and I see a bloom setting on. I only had a couple of blooms last summer. I've lost the info on it and don't remember if I need to deadhead. Also, what do I fertilize with to make the blooms blue?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 8:29PM
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To make the blooms blue aluminium sulfate and peat moss. There isn't a specific fertilizer.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 6:15AM
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My ES were planted last fall. This spring they grew nicely and had flower buds but now the buds have disappeared. Does anyone know what type of pest would be eating hydrangea flower buds?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 5:03PM
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earwigs are *living* at the tips of every hydrangea stem in my yard!! !! ... so frustrating ...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 10:21PM
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    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 10:41AM
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    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I've had my ES for at least 4 years. It had huge beautiful blooms at the store (Lowe's). It hasn't bloomed since. I have covered it during the winter (it doesn't get very cold here, but we have the occasional ice storm), I have moved it from a very shady spot to a less shady spot (4-8) hours of sun. No difference. The plant is about 3-4 feet across and about 2-3 feet high. It has lush, dark green leaves, but no blooms! Because the plant looks so great otherwise, I keep hoping for blooms. Any advice?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 7:28PM
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4 ES - this is their 2nd summer- will be their 3rd fall - 2 are blooming, 2 aren't - One has 6 giant healthy blooms, the other has 15 tiny scrawny blooms and is smaller- I have read not to over fertilize & even saw a friend caused his to die back to the ground from over miracle growing, although it came back the next spring. Mine look very healthy .. But I was expecting an endless summer.....Dang it

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:14AM
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