Hydrangeas not blooming this year...

Lyndzi23August 1, 2012

Hello All!

I purchased my house about 3 years ago and had amazing blue hydrangeas already planted out front. I have about 4 bushes. One problem is I don't know what kind they are. I've included a picture of them in this posting. The first few years, as you can tell from the photos, I've had great hydrangeas! I didn't not prune them at the end of last year. When it became mid-spring, that is when I trimmed them back a bit. I made sure to not trim too low, leaving some leaves that had already started to stay. I've only had a few blooms this year, literally about 5 blooms out of 4 bushes. Is this because I didn't prune at the end of the season last year and pruned a bit at the beginning of this year? If so, will they come back next year if I prune at the end of this year and not in the spring? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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There is not a real simple answer to your question :-) Yes, they did not bloom as you expected because of the pruning. Most types of mophead hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) bloom on growth that was produced the previous season. If you prune in spring or even too much later than the actual bloom time, you run the risk of removing any potential flower buds. Often you will read to prune immediately after the bloom cycle but hydrangeas in my climate bloom well into fall so in my area it is generally recommended not to prune, as any flowering growth for the next season has already been formed. Your climate may prove different, but if hydrangeas are in bloom in your area now, I would avoid any pruning. Period.

There are reblooming mopheads available - those that bloom on both old and new growth. Pruning is not so critical with those as even if one removes the flower buds on the previous season's growth, there is still the potential for a later bloom season on the current season's growth.

Other than deadheading or a very infrequent pruning to reduce size, there is no reason why one would have to prune a macrophylla on any sort of routine basis except to remove any dead wood.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 6:14PM
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I live down in Massachusetts. I had same problem this year too. So bummed out I only got one bloom on the whole bush. I finally was doing research today online and discovered your post. I too did the same thing. I never got around to pruning last season and then with the warm winter, early spring I did some pruning in March. Won't make that mistake again. I miss driving in and seeing that pretty blue color.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 3:26PM
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I know, I hated not seeing these full bushes this year!
Gardengal48, if I don't prune at all then I have these tall ugly brown stems all winter into spring with dead blossoms as well. Should I attempt to prune a bit in the fall when all of the blooms have officially died? I guess that is where I am going with this. I want to know the correct way to do it. Thanks for the advice so far!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:56AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hydrangea stems have probably already started to produce flower buds for 2013 in most places; mine do that in the first half of July and by August many shrubs grown in the northern states have probably started too.

If your stems survive the winters & then the stems leaf out and bloom in spring, you would be better off pruning after the stems have bloomed in Spring 2013. That way you can enjoy the bloomage from the flower buds now in the stems. But if you do not care about that, you could prune in the Fall.

If your stems dry out during the winter months and you always get new stem growth from the base/crown in the Spring then it would not harm to prune in the Fall.

And you can always deahead the spent flowers at any time, of course.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning Hydrangeas

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 8:56PM
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It's been a bad year for hydrangeas! I'm also in New Hampshire, and my Endless Summers, which bloom on new wood and have flowered reliably for the past several years, have NOT ONE flower on them. For them, pruning is not the problem.

A "legacy" hydrangea from a previous owner of the house, which was covered with flowers last year, has also not bloomed at all this year. Must be something quirky about the weather.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 11:48AM
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suzieque(z5 MA)

I'm so glad to see this thread. I'm in Massachusetts, and have been so disappointed in my beloved hydrangeas this year. Last year they were spectacular. This year, totally underwhelming. So sad!

And ... I've planted 3 more ... hopefully they'll do well and next year we'll be back to spectacular.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 6:35PM
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vignewood(z6 CT)

I am in CT and I too have several hydrangeas that did not bloom this year including my ES. (My Annabelle and Invincable Spirit were loaded with blooms however.) Some of my neighbors had the same problem. Another strange things is that leaves of the non bloomers have purple splotches on them . We had a warm winter and hot summer. Could weather be a factor?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 8:34PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Is that one bush? Don't complain if you got that many beautiful blooms off your bush/bushes. 2012 has been a crazy year for plants..especially in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region. When I moved here in 2005, the previous owner had planted either 8 or 9 hydrangeas on one side of the house..I think I am getting ready in a few weeks to have another one cut down but want to try to take some cuttings for future plant swaps. I have no idea what variety mine is either..but considering the age of the house, I'm guessing yours and mine are Nikko blue from the looks of it.

I want more space for other plants so I'm going to have another hydrangea bush cut back/dug up..I'd love to buy one that will live in a container pot for my patio/breezeway..

Check out YouTube videos on how to properly prune a hydrangea bush or hire somebody that knows how to prune it correctly.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 9:23AM
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