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Why Aren’t My Hydrangeas Blooming? 5 Easy Ways To Help Your Plants Bloom

Are you here because you’ve been asking yourself, “Why aren’t my hydrangeas blooming?” While growing flowers is simple most f the time, the reality is there are many things that could cause your flowers not to bloom. Let’s take a look at why your hydrangeas aren’t blooming.

The main reasons why hydrangeas are not presenting you with beautiful blooms include the following:

  • fluctuations in temperature
  • too much sun exposure, or not enough sun exposure
  • the age of the plant, depending on the species
  • lack of knowledge when feeding and pruning hydrangeas

blue hydrangea behind a wooden fence

Green thumb or not, hydrangeas are an excellent plant to grow. They are arguably one of the most beautiful garden plants around, once in full bloom. Even if you’re new, you can learn how to make the best of this gorgeous flowering plant. However, it’s important to know the type of hydrangea you have and understand the season in which it blooms best. Sometimes the hydrangea variety can impact when it blooms and other details about the best care of the plant.

Hydrangeas are low maintenance and give gorgeous flowers that will satisfy anyone, especially first-time growers. However, some gardeners need just a bit of help getting them going. When something goes wrong, though, it can be crushing, so let’s take a closer look at what might be happening if yours aren’t blooming.

Want to learn more about caring for hydrangeas? Success With Hydrangeas: A Gardener’s Guide is a must-read!

When Should Hydrangeas Bloom?

In full bloom, the hydrangea is a beautiful, magnificent plant with gorgeous pink flowers (or blue or purple, depending on the soil’s acidity). We see them in gardens all over the country, in home decor, and in beautiful bouquets at weddings and other events.

If you are trying to grow your own but have become disheartened that they won’t bloom, you must first take a few simple troubleshooting steps. Usually, the problem is something simple with a very easy fix. It’s all about learning to identify the issue so you can correct it. First, do you know what season they are supposed to bloom?

Suppose you have taken care of your hydrangeas well enough and are feeding them twice a year while ensuring the fertilizer is designed for acid-loving plants (given they are old enough); they should start blooming in mid-spring and continue through late fall, depending on the variety you have.

It’s also important to check your hardiness zone because different areas may have slightly different blooming times. 

If you’ve waited eagerly for the first flowers to appear, only to become disillusioned when nothing happens, you’re not alone! What are the reasons your hydrangeas are not producing any flowers?

Why Aren’t My Hydrangeas Blooming?

Before you can figure out why your hydrangea plant isn’t blooming, see which type of hydrangeas you have:

  • Smooth hydrangea
  • Bigleaf hydrangea
  • Oakleaf hydrangea
  • Mountain hydrangea
  • Climbing hydrangeas
  • Panicle hydrangea

Some of these varieties can take up to 5 years to mature enough to start showing signs of blooming. Keep this in mind if you have planted them recently. As long as you ensure all the other conditions are right, sometimes you must give them time to bloom. 

Where you plant your hydrangeas is essential. Hydrangeas will require 4-6 hours of sunlight per day to thrive and bloom nicely. Dappled sunlight is best, but your hydrangea can also tolerate direct sunlight.

Weather is another factor to pay close attention to. The buds of the hydrangea plant are extremely sensitive to the cold. A late spring cold snap could be causing blooming problems.

The fertilizer you use will affect the outcome of your hydrangeas foliage and blooming. The fertilizer must not have a very high nitrogen content.

Incorrect pruning of the plant. Correct pruning will depend on what type of hydrangeas you have. There are three types; those that can only bloom on old wood, those that bloom on new wood, and those that bloom on both old and new wood.

How To Help Your Hydrangeas Bloom

Not all hydrangeas will be affected by the same issues. For example:

  • some varieties are more sensitive to fertilizer
  • some can be very sensitive to cold weather and need to be protected from it, but another variety can be hardier
  • in the same way, lighting and location can affect certain varieties of hydrangeas but not others

So, find out what hydrangeas you have because the solution might differ depending on your type. Once you have identified which hydrangeas you have, you are a step closer to solving the problem regarding your hydrangeas not blooming.

1. Use proper pruning

Make sure you know if your plants bloom on new or old wood, and prune accordingly.  If you have pruned your hydrangeas, you may have cut off the buds that were supposed to bloom on old wood. If so, you will have to wait until you have regrowth.

2. Take appropriate measures for weather extremes

If you have a type of hydrangea sensitive to the weather or a hard winter that didn’t protect your plants, they might have sustained damage and will not bloom that year. Make sure you mulch around your plants to keep them safe from really cold spells.

Cold weather can make your hydrangeas not bloom due to frost killing the flower buds, as mentioned above. If your hydrangeas are too cold, you should do so if you can move them. If moving your hydrangea is impossible, use frost netting and wrap them to protect them from the cold. This is a great way to prevent them from freezing so that they do better when spring and summer blooming time arrives. 

3. Use the proper location for planting

Sometimes your hydrangeas might be getting too much shade, or an animal (most probably a deer) could have damaged them. If so, it would be best to move your hydrangeas into an area with a more reliable source of sunlight and take precautions to keep animals away.

A good place to move it might be in front of the house. Here are some ideas for using hydrangeas in landscaping the front of the house.

4. Wait for your plants to mature

How old are your hydrangeas? When were they planted? Plants younger than two years old will need more time to mature and build a robust root system. Be patient, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers.

5. Use the correct fertilizer

The type of fertilizer that you feed your hydrangeas is imperative to flowering. The ideal fertilizer ratio of N-P-K (or Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) for hydrangeas is 8-16-6. The fertilizer should have an acidic pH. If you’re unsure about this, talk to an expert from your local garden center to help you choose the right fertilizer. 

Conclusion

When your hydrangeas are not blooming, you can narrow down the list of causes to cold weather, sunlight, the age depending on the species, the type of fertilizer, and how you or the wildlife in your area are pruning the plant.

Do you have any tips for non-blooming hydrangeas that you would add to our list?

Why aren't my hydrangeas blooming

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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check your her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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