Growing hydrangeas - Knowledgebase Question

Olympia Fields, Il
Avatar for wilma_t
Question by wilma_t
June 20, 2010
I purchased two hydrangeas from Home Depot, one two summers ago and one the summer before that. I planted one in full sun and the other in partial sun. Both bloomed the entire summer that I planted them, but did not bloom the following summer. In the partial sun case, the green leaves come back every year, bigger and bigger, but without blooms. What did I do wrong?

Answer from NGA
June 20, 2010
I can't be certain, but I suspect you have Hydrangea macrophylla or big leaf hydrangeas. These produce flowers on new growth which develops on old wood. If your hydrangeas are freezing down to ground level each winter, or if you are pruning them all the way down, there will be no old growth from which new flowering growth can develop. If this is the case, you'll only get flowers after a mild winter in which the plants do not freeze down to ground level. You can try protecting the shrubs from freezing by pruning them down to about knee high after the first frost of the season and covering over each with a wire cylinder (made from chicken wire or hardware cloth), then filling the cylinder with straw, shredded leaves, compost or other insulating material. If the stems to not freeze over the winter your plants should flower for you the following spring. I hope this clarifies things for you and I hope your hydrangeas bloom for you next year!

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