Why won't my hydrangeas bloom?

reesie1228October 3, 2012


I live in So Cal, I think zone 9 or 10. I recently moved to a new place, and found a spot I thought would be perfect for hydrangeas.

While the area is bright, it gets no DIRECT sunlight. It is in front of our living room picture window and is north-facing.

I have 4 varieties of hydrangeas planted there, and the only one that is blooming is the ES one I got from a nursery. The blooms are smaller than I expected. I expected mopheads at least 6 inches across, and instead they're about 3 inches. But at least they are flowering! The other varieties are all from Trader Joes. Is the problem the fact that they are from TJ's? Or are they not getting enough sunlight? It has been at least 2 months since I planted them.

If they are in fact not getting enough sun, I would appreciate suggestions for other colorful plants I can grow outside of our picture window. Like I said, it gets NO direct sun, not even dappled sun, but it is "bright."

In the picture, the "Everlasting Sumner" one is in the center. The others are to the left and dried up to the right. The sunlight you see is actually coming from INSIDE the house, from another window.

Thank you.

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Karolina11(6b Central PA)

Many hydrangeas only bloom on old wood, meaning that buds develop the year before. Thus if they were pruned at the wrong time then the buds were cut off. The other possibility is that the winter killed off the buds and thus you have no blooms. Did they come with any sort of tag giving you information on what hydrangea it could be?

As for the small blooms, it is because it is a young hydrangea. My first year ES also only flowers that large but my more mature ES (twice as big as your photo I would say) has multiple 6" blooms. Both are also in places that get no direct sunlight but are bright. One is right below a cherry tree and the biggest one is right below a pine tree. Your plant will mature to give you the blooms you want, just give it time.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Hydrangeas sold at grocery stores - like Trader Joe's - are manipulated into bloom at an early age and often, out of season. Once they have finished up with the flowers and buds they come with, they are done for that season.....and maybe even for a couple of seasons. They need time to establish in the garden and put on some maturity before they can be expected to flower again and to produce flowers of typical size. In zone 9/10, winterkill of buds is not an issue but the previous comments about pruning times are relevant.

If you want a hydrangea expected to produce flowers consistantly and of "normal" size, purchase a plant intended for the landcape from a nursery or garden center. Grocery store hydrangeas, aka florist's hydrangeas, are intended as blooming houseplants or gift plants, although they can usually be transitioned into the garden well.....given time :-)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:27PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Hydrangeas in SoCal are an iffy proposition. Success is determined by where you live in SoCal,and which microclimate you have.

I suggest you consult with a large retail garden center close to your home -- not a big box store -- to determine if you have any chance of success.

Further, if it happens that your current hydrangeas are successful,the will soon outgrow their space and obscure the window.

who gardened in Long Beach, CA,for 30-some years
but who now lives in Portland, OR, where hydrangeas are easy peasy.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:14AM
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My experience with hydrangeas in coastal SoCal (Laguna Beach) is they grow just as well and as easily as they do here in the PNW. And they have an exceptionally long bloom season to boot :-)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:26PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Success is a matter of a suitable micro-climate. Seldom so in Long Beach.

Wonder where reesie lives.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 11:13PM
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