Hydrangeas forum: Hydrangeas only have new growth every year...

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Middleton, NH
Lyndzi23
Jun 20, 2018 7:08 AM CST
I have 5 Blue Mophead Hydrangea bushes and one Blue Lacehead bush. We moved into our house in 2009 in Middleton, New Hampshire. Ever since 2010 they have only ever had new growth with maybe a bloom or two on each bush. We've tried pruning fall and spring. We're tried doing nothing at all. We've tried bone meal. They are basically dying every winter and starting over. Our plans do bloom later than others. Example, Rochester, NH, 10 minutes away, had full bloom lilacs and ours don't bloom until about 3-4 weeks later. We're on a slight mountain. So even now, June 20th, my hydrangeas are only about halfway through their new growth, half bushes right now. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I think we need to pull them all out and start new, but what kind are best? Winter's have been cold but not any colder than the past. The photo is from the first year we moved in, now just green bushes but not until July.
Thumb of 2018-06-20/Lyndzi23/6f9700

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 20, 2018 8:46 AM CST
Welcome!

Is it possible the previous owners gave them some winter protection? Blue (and pink) hydranges typically flower on the wood that grew the previous year but there is a newer kind (e.g. Endless Summer) that can also bloom on the current year's wood but the flowers will be late if it does that at all. Pruning hydrangeas of this kind in fall or spring, as you mentioned you have done, will remove any flower buds.
Middleton, NH
Lyndzi23
Jun 20, 2018 9:05 AM CST
The only thing the previous owner's said they did was add bone meal. Maybe we'll try more of that. We haven't pruned at all the past couple of years just to see if leaving them alone would help, no such luck.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jun 20, 2018 9:14 AM CST
It doesn't have anything to do with bone meal, it is more likely to do with the winter cold killing them back. I think you're in USDA Zone 5? If so that's cold for the blue/pink hydrangeas. If they are Endless Summers then there's a chance of flowering on the new growth even if the other flower buds are killed over winter. As for why they flowered before, perhaps they were fairly newly planted, or had been lucky with an extra mild winter.

I had Endless Summer here in Zone 4 and it was worse each year until either it died or I gave up on it, and that would be the hardiest type of blue one.
Middleton, NH
Lyndzi23
Jun 20, 2018 9:16 AM CST
Thank you very much. Any suggestions for my zone? I'd love white ones but I know the color could change base on my soil.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jun 20, 2018 9:20 AM CST
'Annabelle's do well where I am and they stay white. The white ones tend to be hardier than the blue/pink ones. We have a specific hydrangea forum here on NGA, I'll put in a request to transfer the thread over there where you may get more suggestions.

Middleton, NH
Lyndzi23
Jun 20, 2018 9:23 AM CST
Thank you very much!
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
luis_pr
Jun 20, 2018 10:17 PM CST
Maybe the prev owners were thinking of bone meal for plants in general and forgot about the winter protection. Some people set up the chicken wire method easily, cover with snow, etc and I can see them forgetting. Eight years with few blooms would convince me that the hydrangeas only bloom on old wood.

Annabelle's need morning sun and afternoon shade but since you are for far north in NH, they may take some afternoon sun too. Maybe require extra water for that to work. Anna does have weak stems and they tend to flop when the big blooms are open and they get wet. I put mine protected from rain near the house though. Check its cousins Incrediball and Invincibelle... they have stronger stems supposedly but I cannot vouch how much stronger. Someone once said they were disappointed. Maybe they are stronger but not in all situations so they work for some and not others. Check also 2018 new cousins called Lime Ricky, Wee White, Mini Mauvette and Limmeta.

Hydrangea paniculatas will take full sun where you live; they are the most sun tolerant of hydrangeas. There are many choices that currently include compact versions. I say that becaus,e until a few years ago, the majority of paniculatas included only very tall bushes like Limelight, Strawberry Vanilla, Quickfire, Pee Gee, Pink Diamond, etc. Short ones include Little Quickfire, Little Lime, Strawberry Sundae, Bobo, Baby Lace, etc...
[Last edited by luis_pr - Jun 21, 2018 12:39 PM (+)]
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Middleton, NH
Lyndzi23
Jun 21, 2018 5:21 AM CST
Thank you very much for the input. Looks like I'll be changing them out!

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