Hydrangea Not Flowering - Knowledgebase Question

Newton, MA
Question by khudec
April 20, 1998
I bought a fairly mature hydrangea four years ago. The first two years it was in a fairly shady location. Since it didn't bloom there, I moved it to a sunnier location. Last year I got a few (and I mean a few) tiny flowers. I feed it in the spring with Garden Tone fertilizer. I haven't pruned it. Why am I getting such poor results? I thought this variety was supposed to be a profuse bloomer.


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Answer from NGA
April 20, 1998

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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 with hydrangeas 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 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 shrub fertilizer. 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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