Healthy Hydrangea didn't bloom this year.

mickeddie(6)September 13, 2007


I have a Hydrangea shrub that has big healthy leaves. It really looks terrific, only there were absolutely zero blooms this year. What caused it and will it bloom next year?



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Hello, Michelle. You do not indicate where do you live, the name/variety of your hydrangea, how old the plant is or when/how well the plant last bloomed so these comments are somewhat general.

Problem 1: Pruning between August and blooming time (approximate times) is the most common reason why hydrangeas do not bloom so prune after it has flowered but before the month of August.

Problem 2: recently planted hydrangeas can skip the first year until they become established in the garden. Hydrangeas take 1-2 years to become established. They concentrate on developing a good root system above all else. So, do not worry until years 2-3.

Problem 3: make sure that the shrub gets adequate sunlight and is not located in dense shade. Some sun is needed to get good bloomage.

Problem 4: do not fertilize on or after the month of August. This prevents the hydrangea from going dormant in the fall, which leaves the plant unprepared for sudden winter temperatures that could kill the flower buds. In the northern states, you should fertilize only once, in early June; in the southern states, we fertilize twice, in early May and July.

Problem 5: if this shrub is a florist hydrangea, there will be times when this occurs. Florist hydrangeas are not bred to be winter hardy so the flowers buds -sometimes- get killed. To prevent this from happening, you would need to take overwintering measures, such as the ones in this link.

Problem 6: Warm weather followed by sudden low temperatures that stay down for a while can also make a plant not go dormant, which can kill the flower buds. This happened to me last year when fall temps were in the 70s until very late, followed by sub-freezing temperatures for almost a week. Late freezes can do the same damage in spring. Overwintering measures will help prevent this but in locations as south as mine, we take it in stride when it happens. If this problem happens only sporadically, the weather could be the culprit.

Problem 7: Hydrangeas planted out of zone will suffer from this often. A named variety rated for Zones 7-9, for example, would be considered planted out of zone in Zone 6. It would have nice dark green leaves and few/no flowers. Micro-climates in the garden can also create out of zone conditions that vary plus or minus one from your official zone.

Problem 8: in some areas of the country -Tennessee for example-, people have posted that their hydrangeas have been blooming quite late due to weather issues. Other non-remontant varieties have had a few September blooms.

Problem 9: moisture issues between the time that the plant develops flower buds in August until the time that the plant blooms in spring can kill the flower buds. Make sure that the plant has 4" of mulch thru or past the drip line. Do not let it go dry, including during dry winters when the soil in your area does not freeze.

Other problems include old plants that need to be pruned heavily, plants weakened by diseases, root rot, poorly draining soil, soil whose Ph Level is too alkaline, etc. However, most of time the problem is caused by one of the items I listed before.

Does that help? Does it give you some possibilities as to what could have happened to you this year, Michelle?


Here is a link that might be useful: Additional Hydrangea Care Information

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 5:46AM
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jpinva(Zone 7)

My Nikko Blue got zapped by the Easter freeze. The new buds were out early on last year's growth, and all of it died. A really healthy growth of new wood is looking great for next year, but no blooms. The Nikko only blooms on last year's growth, from what I understand, though some varieties bloom on old and new wood. Could that be your problem?


    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 9:26PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said:
"Problem 5: if this shrub is a florist hydrangea, there will be times when this occurs. Florist hydrangeas are not bred to be winter hardy so the flowers buds -sometimes- get killed."

According to an acquaintance who used to grow hydrangeas as a wholesaler, florist hydrangeas are the same as those grown for garden use. The difference is that they were likely babied in a greenhouse and managed to have a specific flower color the grower wanted.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 6:30PM
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