The Q&A Archives: how to help hydrangeas that won't bloom?

Question: I purchased a medium sized hydrangea plant with big pink blooms 2 yrs ago. Last summer I got some healthy green foliage from it, but no flowers. This year I got even more healthy green foliage, but still it has not bloomed. Does this have something to do with the acidity of the soil? What can I do?

Answer: The soil's pH (acidity or alkalinity) will dictate the color of the blooms, but it won't stop a hydrangea from flowering. In general, hydrangeas need about 4 hours of morning sunshine in order to bloom well. I don't know what type of hydrangea you purchased but if it is Hydrandea macrophylla (big leaf hydrangea), these plants flower on new shoots which develop on old wood. So, if your plant regularly dies down to ground level each winter, or if you prune it back drastically and there is no old wood left, you won't get any flowers. I'd take a stem with leaves on it to a local garden center and ask them to identify the plant. They should be able to tell you whether to expect flowers, or not. If it is a macrophylla you may be able to add some winter protection over the plant to keep the old wood from dying back each year.

Wish I had better news for you!

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