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Last year my hydrangea only had two blooms on it and this year there are none! What am I doing wrong??? I live in the Pacific Northwest and the plant is in a spot where it gets afternoon sun for about 4 hours. It's beautiful green but no flowers!



My mistake was to prune it too much.
Hydrangea flower on previous year's growth, so what I was doing was cutting off the flowering shoots. Now I'm afraid to prune it and it has done well since. They need lots of water,too.

28 Jul, 2011


When do you prune it Jeanne?

28 Jul, 2011


And was the frost as ferocious in your area as it was in Arizona last winter? Heavy frost could kill the flower buds.

29 Jul, 2011


I must be growing different hydrangea,s to everyone else , I prune mine every year in march, and I have 1 in a large pot which is left outside permanently, and I never have any problems with flowering, last years lowest temperature was minus 22 centigrade, and even the one in the pot is flowering. derekm

29 Jul, 2011


Derek, you probably have varieties of the Smooth Hydrangea (H. arborescens), which blooms in summer on new wood. The Florist's Hydrangea (H. macrophylla) blooms in late spring through early summer, with the flower buds forming the previous summer.

29 Jul, 2011


Tug, here in the UK, H. macrophylla flowers in summer, and late March - mid April is the correct time to prune it.

In Germany, which has much colder winters than the UK, hydrangeas are regarded as "tub plants" that are taken into shelter for the winter. We had a visitor from the Black Forest region who was amazed to see our four - five foot high hydrangeas growing in the ground.

We haven't had an answer from Jeanne about when she prunes her hydrangea, and we don't know which part of the States she's in.

I'm sure that the commonest reason for hydrangeas not flowering is pruning at the wrong time as it's so easy to cut off next year's flowers thinking you're tidying the bush up for the winter.

29 Jul, 2011


Yeess...but if you prune more than the expired flower heads from last year, you will be compromising this year's flowers.

29 Jul, 2011


I do not remember pruning this plant last year. I may be mistaken but I think I only pinched off the two blooms when they were done. Should I not prune at all or when and how should I prune??? Thanks for your help. I live in the State of Washington near Seattle.

30 Jul, 2011


Hi Jeanne, thanks for the further information. Here in the UK we range from temperatures equivalent to the US zones 9 (where I live in the balmy south west) to about zone 7 in central Scotland.

The usual advice for pruning hydrangeas is to leave the old flower heads on the plant over winter as they add some frost protection for the next year's flower and leaf buds which can be killed by cold weather. Hydrangeas flower on old wood and many people with no flowers have pruned these twigs off in fall, thinking that they are doing "the right thing". Obviously you didn't make that mistake, but your shrub may have done better this year if you'd left the old flowers on last fall to protect the buds. There are no flower heads to leave on this year :-( so you may need to give a little more protection if you get very cold weather where you are.
Maybe pop an old light curtain over on cold nights? Does that sound too nuts?

Let's hope that you get some flowers next summer (2012). The next time to prune in that case would be about April 2013 when you'll remove the dead flower heads, cutting back to the next pair of good looking buds. Then have a look in the heart of the bush and cut out any dead wood, cutting back to the base. That should probably be enough, but if the centre of the bush is very crowded you could take out a few stems, again cutting back to where they arise at the bottom.

And that should be it! Good luck - I hope it comes right for you next year.

I had to move a hydrangea in March 2009 and had to cut the top growth right back to about 6 inches because of the root damage the plant had in getting it out of an awkward spot. No flowers that year, obviously, and none last year either, but it's back in business this year again. They do come back pretty well, given time.

30 Jul, 2011

How do I say thanks?

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