The Q&A Archives: Hydrangea

Question: My Nikko Blue Hydrangea bloomed the first year but has not bloomed the past three years. I have cut canes back to ground level in fall one year, pruned it back in sping the following year, and left it alone this past year. No blooms, should I pull it out and start fresh with a new plant? Please advise proper treatment and recommendation for planting in location facing South. Thank You!!!!

Answer: Hydrangeas prefer morning sun and filtered afternoon shade. They will tolerate afternoon sunshine but are likely to wilt in the heat of the day. They usually recover overnight, though and are ready to face another day. I think the lack of bloom on your Nikko Blue has to do with the way it produces flower buds and your pruning practices - or winter dieback. Hydrangeas bloom on wood produced the year before. The most common reasons for hydrangeas not to bloom are winter damage to the old wood killing off the flower buds, or pruning in the spring which removes the blooming wood. You may need to prune your plant back to 18" above ground level in the late fall when it is dormant, then mound some leaves or compost over the stems to protect them from freezing. In the spring, rake away the insulating material. New shoot will form on the old stems and these new shoots should produce flowers later in the summer. A spring application of compost and/or a granular complete fertilizer according to the label instructions should be sufficient in soil with at least average fertility.

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