Hydrangea won't bloom - Knowledgebase Question

ellijay, Ge
Question by mgriggs
December 4, 2009
I have a pink hydrangea that has never bloomed in the four years I have had it. what can I do?

Answer from NGA
December 4, 2009


There are many reasons why Hydrangeas fail to bloom. If the plant is in too much shade, it won't bloom. Four hours of morning sun should be sufficient. Correct watering is critical in establishing and getting good performance from hydrangeas. The soil should be organic and humusy so it holds moisture but also drains well. It should be damp like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and never dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do water, apply it slowly and thoroughly to the roots so it soaks down to the deepest roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; sometimes it is surprising. You need to check the soil moisture any time the ground is not frozen -- if fall weather is dry then you may still need to water. Using an organic mulch several inches thick in a flat layer over the root area helps keep the soil cool and moist. It also helps feed the soil gradually as it breaks down over time. You may want to run some basic soil tests to check the fertility levels and fertilize based on the test results. But as a general guide, you could topdress with a good quality compost and also apply a granular or slow release fertilizer such as 10-10-10 each spring. Read and follow the label directions. In order to have maximum bloom, hydrangeas must have enough sunlight along with evenly moist, rich soil. If winter damages the stems from the previous year (and/or you prune them off) that would prevent Pink Elf from blooming. The Pink Elf hydrangea blooms only on old wood that grew the year before. I hope this information helps you troubleshoot.

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