Hydranga growth blooming habit - Knowledgebase Question

Lawrence, Ka
Question by kujhawk
June 30, 2010
I have an Hydrangea plant that is in it's 2nd year in the grown. It has only produced 2 blooms. Is this normal for a young plant? How many blooms can one expect on a plant? Should I cut the plant back in the fall? Will this encourage blooms?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010


Based on your description, there may be several reasons why blooming is sparse. Most of the bigleaf hydrangeas bloom on old wood, meaning wood that grew the year before. Winter cold damage, pruning at the wrong time, and spring frosts can all prevent or reduce blooming. Avoid pruning in fall. In the spring, do not prune with the exception of removing truly winter killed stems. If you need to control size, prune right after it flowers. Hydrangeas need a rich humusy soil and ample moisture so that the soil stays evenly moist like a wrung out sponge. They also need some direct sun, either morning sun or bright dappled light all day to bloom well. You might try fertilizing with a slow release granular fertilizer each spring per the label directions (look for a complete fertilizer with an analysis such as 10-10-10), plus apply a top dressing of good quality compost to assure a good supply of micronutrients and replenish the soil with organic matter. Then use an organic mulch year round. This will help with soil moisture and also help feed the soil as it breaks down slowly over time. You may also need to water occasionally to supplement rain so the soil stays evenly moist. Dig into the soil to check if you need to water. When you do, apply it slowly and deeply so it soaks down to the deepest roots. Hope this helps and good luck!

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