The Q&A Archives: Pruning Of Non-flowering Hydrangea

Question: Hi I have read all the questions and answers on hydrangeas-I am thinking that my nikko blue is probaby not flowering because of winter kill- it has grown very big this summer and i would like to really protect it this winter and cover it over-but seeing that it is so big and will be a big undertaking i was wondering if i can cut the taller branches about a third of the way down, if so will i get flowers next year? they don't just flower on the tips of the branches do they? also have noticed where the leaves are on the stems there seem to be like little leaves or buds? i was wondering if i cut just above these will that be o.k.? i am one that just loves this shrub and would give anything to get it to flower also, it gets about 5-6 hours of sunlight when the leaves are out more in the winter and early spring is that enough sun? thanks for any advice

Answer: The flower buds are concentrated more toward the tips of the branches so trimming them back will definitely reduce the display. You should be able to see the buds for next year's flowers now, and since the plant blooms on wood produced the year before, any pruning now will cut off next year's blooms. Unfortunately the buds are really considered hardy only to zone 6 and your area is probably just too cold for optimum results. In a sheltered microclimate you might have slightly better success. Wrapping the plant is a huge job and may or may not help. Protecting it from wind is probably the most important thing you can do, followed by making sure the plant is well watered up until the ground freezes. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.

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