The Q&A Archives: Blue Flowering Hydrangea Will Not Bloom

Question: My mother-in-law has a beautiful hydrangea with large, waxy, dark green leaves that has the largest, most beautiful , mostly blue (but sometimes almost purple) flowers I've ever seen. Two years ago I dug up 2 pieces of this plant and put in my yard - in shade (very little sun, but some). I enriched the soil when transplanting and have fertilized accordingly. Neither plant will bloom. The bushes are lush and green every year, however they look different from my mother-in-laws. How do get them tobloom?

Answer: There are probably a few things at work here causing your hydrangea not to bloom. The first is lighting, hydrangea will accept only part shade, it sounds like yours aren't receiving enough sunlight. You probably need to move them to a sunnier location. The second problem may be fertilizer. What type are you using and how much? The lush green growth without blooms could be the result of too much nitrogen. Check out the analysis on the fertilizer you have been using, don't use anything on thehydrangea that has a higher nitrogen content that 5 (as in 5-10-10, the first number representing nitrogen). Also, be careful to follow application instructions...more is not better in this case. If you apply a nitrogen based fertilizer on your lawn, keep that away from the hydrangea as well. You may consider top dressing in the spring with organic matter such as compost, leaf mould or composted cow manure, about 1" thick, around the diameter of the plants, out to the drip line. The third thing is patience, it does take hydrangea a few seasons to bloom. I bet your mother in law's weren't that spectacular the first few seasons. If you have to transplant the hydrangeas (and it sounds like you should) this will also set them back a bit in terms of flowering. Be sure their new home has good drainage but the soil is never allowed to dry out completely. Good luck!

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