The Q&A Archives: Hydrangeas Not Blooming

Question: I have 2 blue hydrangeas that have been set about 3 years. They have grown well but have had only 2 or 3 blooms. They did not bloom at all last summer. I have added spaghnum peat and bone meal to the soil, with no result. Please help!

Answer: It does take hydrangeas awhile to put on a show. I have 5-6 that are three years old now and they bloomed for the first time this summer and you couldn't call their show spectacular by any means. There are a few things I have tried in the past withhydrangeas that seemed to help them along a bit. First, what type of sun are they getting? They will grow in full sun but they really prefer partial shade. They also enjoy rich soil. I see you are enhancing your soil with sphagnum peat and bone meal. (Incidentally, did you know that the sphagnum is probably the reason why they are blue? You can alter a hydrangeas color by changing acidity...add aluminum sulfate for blue blooms, lime for pink. Sphagnum is an acidic soil additive). I would try giving them healthy doses of organic material such as household compost or mushroom compost. Keep in mind hydrangeas like consistent moisture, if your soil is on the dry side, water regularly. I also fertilize mine once a year with an extended release shrubfertilizer. I prefer a brand called "Once". It is used once a season and is widely available. Also, sometimes hydrangeas benefit from a rejuvenative pruning. In late summer, after blooming (as small as the show may be) prune stems that bore flowers to just above the nearest outward facing bud. Leave new shoots uncut. Try some or all of these things, hydrangeas really are worth the effort once they take off.

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