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Hydrangea Plants

Q.Why Won’t My Hydrangeas Bloom?

Zone Cape Elizabeth, ME | Bloomless in Maine added on August 26, 2020 | Answered

We have five hydrangea bushes in our yard. We bought our house in 2016, and none of them have ever bloomed. Last year, we researched the “old bloom” vs. “new bloom” issues and pruned accordingly. Still no blooms. This spring, we tested the soil and took care to follow expert advice to feed and ensure proper acidity. Still, nothing. We have beautiful leaves, but no blossoms —except for one tiny one on one bush, and the bloom is right up after house where no one can see it! (See photo.) We have no idea what else to do to get them to bloom. Any ideas?

A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 26, 2020

Does old bloom vs. new bloom the same as old wood and new wood? It looks like you have the big leaf hydrangea, which blooms on old wood (flower buds formed the previous summer). So any pruning done in spring would cut off the buds. Inspect the stems now and see if there are buds forming near the tips. Try not pruning this time and see if that helps. You can still remove any dead or broken wood in spring.

Also, you are on the edge of their hardiness zone. Do your plants die back in winter? Then regrow in spring? If so, you won't have flowers because of the old wood issue. You need hydrangeas that bloom on new wood.

Did your soil test show excess nitrogen? That can stop the blooms. If so, add some bone meal to add phosphorous.

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