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Hydrangeas not doing well this year

Posted by DonnieJean 3 ( on
Thu, Jun 21, 12 at 1:13

I have 7 Limelight hydrangea bushes planted next to the house on the east side. They were planted about 4 years ago. Normally most of them are full of leaves and lots of blooms. This year several of them are not leafing out well. In fact, a couple of them have very few leaves. It's too early in my zone 3 for blooms. I pruned them for the first time in early spring. I only cut off the tallest stems as I would like them to grow in width instead of more height. They have been such beautiful plants in the past and I don't know what is wrong this year. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Hydrangeas not doing well this year

It sounds like you are describing what happens to hydrangeas stems when they get injured by winter and either the whole stem dries out or parts dry out. And as a result of that, the plant produces less leaves than normal. In such cases, you may also see some new growth (new stems) developing from the crown.

Since some stems may be partially or completely dead, you can try to prune the shrubs a bit after they have bloomed so the remaining stems have about the same height and are not lopsided here and there.

RE: Hydrangeas not doing well this year

You are probably one of the few hydrangea owners in zone 3, and it's great you got any type to grow there. I wish some of us here could speak from experience in that zone, but I don't think it's likely anyone has it.

RE: Hydrangeas not doing well this year

To Springwood Gardens, there are lots of people growing hydrangeas in zone 3. Mostly Limelights, Annabelles and PeeGees. None that I have seen that can turn pink or blue (those are in zone 4).

Since my original post, I have read that Limelights prefer full sun. Having planted on the east side of my house, the 3 that aren't doing as well are the farthest from the south corner of the house.

To luis_pr, I think you may be right about the winter damage. I realized that the two that are doing the poorest were subjected to too much water from the roof downspout in the fall, causing extra ice build-up in winter, and too much water again in spring. Guess I'm lucky they are alive. We have moved the downspout, but I'm going to transplant at least these two into more sunlight. Should I wait until after they have bloomed or to fall before transplanting?

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