The Q&A Archives: Non-Blooming Hydrangeas

Question: I have a very nice stand of hydrangeas that refuse to bloom.
They are growing great with no signs of any stress other than they haven't bloomed in 4 years. They receive moderate sun, water and food. I prune them correctly each year late in the winter/early spring just as the new buds start to develop.
Any ideas???

Answer: There are two common causes for non-blooming; one is lack of exposure to the sun and the other is incorrect pruning. Hydrangeas are pruned according to their type and can be identified by the characteristics of their leaves and flowers. Climbing hydrangea is a deciduous vine with long, green, heart-shaped leaves and short, stiff flowering branches with flat white flower clusters. Smooth hydrangea is a deciduous shrub with oval, grayish green leaves and white flowers in roundish clusters. Bigleaf hydrangea has thick, shining, coarsely toothed leaves to 8" long and white, pink, red or blue flowers in big clusters. This is the most often planted hydrangea. The Peegee hydrangea has green leaves that turn bronzy in the fall, and clusters of white flowers that slowly fade to a pinky bronze. Oakleaf hydrangea has deeply lobed, oaklike leaves that turn bronze or crimson in the fall. It has creamy white flowers in the spring. With the exception of Oakleaf hydrangea, which can be pruned to the ground each autumn, hydrangeas produce flowering shoots in the spring on last season's wood. So, to prune for flowering, reduce the old wood by one-half to one-third after bloom. The shrub will develop new flowering wood the following spring.

Since your plants are getting some sunshine, I wonder if you're pruning off the developing flower buds by waiting until early spring to prune? Try pruning them now so the plants will have time to replace the wood and get ready for flowering next year.

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