Kelly Lehman is the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm and shows everyday gardeners how to grow amazing flowers on her Youtube Channel.
7 Reasons Your Hydrangeas Won't Bloom
Come spring, you may be waiting for your hydrangea to bloom only to find that no flowers arrive. Not to worry—there are a few main reasons why you may not be getting blooms on your hydrangea, and there are also a few things you can do to remedy that!
The most common hydrangea issues revolve around the following basic concepts:
- Soil Composition
- Late Frosts
Continue scrolling for a quick rundown of these issues and how to fix them.
1. Your Plant Isn't Getting Enough Sun
The first reason is simple; you may not be getting enough sunlight on your hydrangea. That's important. Know the variety and look it up. I recommend Googling your particular cultivar and putting in your location (e.g., zone 9) to figure out how much sunlight your hydrangea needs.
Usually, hydrangeas need at least six hours of sunlight (unless it's a Limelight, which can also take full sun). But, there are a lot of different rules involved with different hydrangeas, so Google your variety.
2. You're Watering Too Little (Or Too Much)
The second reason why you might not be getting blooms on your hydrangea is that you are giving it too little or too much water.
How Can I Tell If My Hydrangea Needs More Water?
You can use the knuckle test to see if your hydrangea needs more water. Come to the base of the plant, move some of the mulch away, and put your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. If the soil feels dry, give your plant a good watering at the base (never overhead water).
If the soil feels moist, you should leave it alone. You don't want to overwater your hydrangea because you might wind up giving it root rot.
3. There's Too Much Nitrogen in the Soil
Another reason why you might not be getting blooms is that you have too much nitrogen in the soil. If you have too much nitrogen in your soil, you may have beautiful, green, lush leaves, but very few blooms. If you think this might be the case, do a soil test and see if the nitrogen level is too high.
4. Your Plant Got a "Winter Zap"
Another reason why you might not be seeing blooms is if you got a winter zap. Cold temperatures in the beginning of spring can actually freeze fresh green growth and buds right off.
How to Protect Hydrangeas From Late Frost
An easy way to prevent winter zap is to cover your hydrangeas if a cold snap is coming. If your hydrangeas are starting to show fresh, green growth but you know a really, really cold spring night is on the way, just cover it loosely with some burlap and then uncover it when temps warm up again the next day.
5. Your Plant Is Too Young
Another reason why you might not be getting blooms is if your plant is super young. Plants that are only a year old may not give you blooms; sometimes they take two or three years to get established before beautiful blooms start coming in. Be patient with them!
6. Your Plant Wasn't Designed to Last
Another reason why you might not be getting blooms is if someone gave you a beautiful hydrangea plant in spring (perhaps for Mother's Day or Easter or Passover). Those small, bright, beautifully colored hydrangeas in their cute little pots with the tin foil likely are not built to last.
Those hydrangeas might have been manipulated in a greenhouse just for gifting purposes. That means they're not going to be super hardy in your gardens. You can try to plant them—fingers crossed—but chances are they're not going to make it in your garden because they were grown for the purpose of gifting rather than hardiness or longevity.
7. You Pruned It at the Wrong Time
The last reason you might not be getting blooms from your hydrangea is if you pruned it at the wrong time during the year and cut off all those new blooms that were supposed to show up in spring. It's critical to avoid trimming these new blooms back by accident in winter or spring.
If you have a hydrangea variety that blooms on old wood—like Nikko hydrangeas or Endless Summer hydrangeas—flower blooms are put in place on old wood stems in fall. If you prune these plants back incorrectly, you risk cutting all those stems off, thereby cutting off all the new blooms that were put in place in fall.
Make sure you know what type of hydrangea you have before you do any type of pruning. If you're not sure, just hold off and don't prune them back at all!
How to Get More Blooms From Your Hydrangeas!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Kelly Lehman
Kelly Lehman (author) from Cranbury on May 15, 2021:
I would try a soul test to see if you are right about the nitrogen. I have a feeling you will have your hydrangeas blooming this season . Good luck .
Lady Dazy from UK on May 13, 2021:
We have a Hydrangea planted in our garden. It has been there for years but never flowered. Maybe the soil is not right for it.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 12, 2021:
We have a couple of potted hydrangeas and have never had a problem with them blooming. We used to have a hedge of them when we lived in Wisconsin many years ago. They are such pretty plants when in bloom.