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No blooms...and I really did NOT prune!

Posted by chebella z6 NY ( on
Wed, Aug 12, 09 at 19:26

OK, I need some help, or rather my Nikko Blues do.
I bought 2 very large Nikko Blues in pots from a good local nursery at an end-of-season sale (beginning of autumn) 3 years ago. We planted them at the outside corner of a fence that encircles the middle of my backyard. The fence is 4' tall pickets, so it shades the sun on that side somewhat, but not entirely. The fence at their back is West; their front and sides receive East, South and North. The southernmost one blocks a certain amount of the southern sun. In general, they receive *plenty* of sun.
They were planted in an amended mixture with greensand, sand, kelp, and compost added to our already embarassingly-fertile soil. (Did I mention I live next to a 300-year old churchyard? I truly believe my neighbors help my soil a great's like crumbly fudge brownies.)
The 1st year, we got some very nice booms from both. The 2nd year, we got a few blooms from one, and none from the other, this year, the 3rd, we have lots of foliage but NO blossoms at all.
I did not prune last year, only heaped grass and leaf clippings around them to keep them cosy during the winter. Also, the southern-end plant is about double the size of it's neighbor to the north.
One notable item is that their was a significant vining weed which climbed around the fence and amongst them. It looked rather nice, which is perhaps why we did not get rid of it immediately. But we *did* get rid of it, even if it took us several sessions. (The more we cut, the more there seemed to be of it.)
Does anyone have any ideas about my leafy hydrangeas?
They have gotten quite large, but some blooms would be handy. Also, they are part of my little "memorial corner" for the dogs. I have their pawprints in a little concrete piece in the corner, and the plan is to grow perennials with names that commemorate the kids. The Nikko Blues were the first pair, honoring my giant lump-o-love, Nico, a rescue Golden who was twice as big as normal, 26" at the shoulder, and 125 pounds. He was also twice as affectionate as a normal Golden, and that's saying a lot!
So, I really would like them to succeed. (They have some of Nico's ashes amidst the roots also.)

thank you!
panting and seating in NY, where summer has finally come

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: No blooms...and I really did NOT prune!

Well summer finally showed up this week. I've had Nikko Blue for many years. Due to our winters, I have to protect it from the cold, otherwise no blooms.

RE: No blooms...and I really did NOT prune!

Excluding improper pruning, the most common reason bigleaf hydrangeas fail to bloom is bud freeze. This could be the result of cold winters or of late spring frosts. In colder zones, like 6 and below, the only way to ensure against this is to provide winter protection. There are various ways to accomplish this - check the older posts/archives here for details.

RE: No blooms...and I really did NOT prune!

agree with gardengal...the sun factor is not...the plant should be established by now - that's not a factor...the late freeze kill of flower buds could be a factor...another one to try - your soil is real fertile, really fertile...lots of nitrogen for the plants to develop foliage...and that robs the phosphate needed for flower development...plants dont flower because they want to be nice to you and give you a show..they flower for reproduction means - often because they sense the end is you have a happy lazy plant doing great, see no end in sight, no flowers for you...since I wont advocate to mess around with your soil now, i would put a give the plants a good phosphate fertilizer drink now -..get greenlight's superbloom..or triple want to get a fertilizer with a very high middle number..(higher than the 1st and 3rd)..will see if that helps...whenever i hear people talking about their hydrangeas not blooming, the first couple of easy questions been - not enough sun, too much foliage from too much nitrogen in fertilizers, late freeze kills, bad winter protection...have fun.

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