Hydrangeas have stopped blooming :(

I had two large beautiful plants--one rose, one blue-green--but this season there are no blooms, and last summer there weren't any either, just lush leaves. I suspect our recent harsh winters had something to do with this. I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and dig them up, or has anyone seen blooms after several non-blooming seasons? Thank you!
Mary
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Before digging them, try protecting them over the winter. You can wrap them with burlap or form a cylinder around them with light weight fencing and fill that with leaves. They bloom on the previous year's growth, so if the tips die back, you won't get any flowers. I gave a lovely "forever pink" hydrangea to my neighbor. Last spring I saw them examining it and they were discussing whether to cut it back, thinking that it had died. I explained that it was just fine and that cutting it back would be detrimental. It bloomed magnificently. This year they couldn't resist, so they cut it back to the ground!!! It has put on a lot of growth, but not one flower. Sometimes people perplex me. These are the same people who insisted on digging up a bunch of calla lilies that had been in the ground for years before they moved in and had put on a great show each year. They finally said that it was too much work, so they gave them all to me. The few that they missed came up and are blooming. I don't know why they just didn't leave them alone. That would have been the least bother imaginable. Oh well, my gain. I gave them some of the orange ditch lilies - they managed to kill them!!!!!
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Can you prune hydrangeas safely without sacrificing blooms?
My landlord's is getting long and tall. I had read to prune them in late winter while still dormant. Instead they cut them in spring when the lower part was already leafing out. Only 2-3 blooms on low branches.

DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email) Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, <1 mile off L.I.Sound 2nd year gardener http://members.aol.com/DigitalVinyl66/Garden2004.html
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The best time to prune without sacrificing flowers is immediately after they bloom in the spring or early summer In my area, that would now. That gives them time to put on some growth and form next years flower buds. It's the same idea as with most spring blooming shrubs such as azaleas. I'm talking about hydrangea macrophylla. I'm not sure about paniculata, or quercifolia, as mine are so slow growing that pruning isn't a consideration. I've never hear anyone discuss pruning hydrangea petiolaris. My hunch would be that you would prune it in the early summer after it blooms.
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Mary wrote:

Mary,
Sorry to hear that your Hydrangeas have not bloomed this year. They are such beautiful plants and I know how much you must be missing them.
Here is a link to a site that has some information on what to do if your Hydrangeas fail to bloom: http://whiteoakgardencenter.com/hydrangeas.htm I hope the information helps.
My neighbor, Wanda, grows Hydrangeas and here are some pictures of her pink and blue ones: http://members.iglou.com/brosen/wgarden1.htm
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Digital Camera: HP PhotoSmart 850
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On 29 Jun 2004 06:20:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mary) wrote:

Some varieties bloom on last year's wood. If you cut the dead looking limbs off in the spring that may be your problem.
Regards,
Hal
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As others have noted, most hydrangeas bloom on last years growth, commonly referred to as "old growth". If the plant was pruned in the late fall or early spring, or the plant died down to the ground over the winter, then your chances for blooms are slim to none. You have a few options here. As previously mentioned, you can offer your hydrangeas some winter protection in order to preserve the bud sites over the winter. If you aren't able or willing to do this additional work every fall you could always dig them up and replace with one of the new cultivars that blooms on "new wood" or the current seasons new growth. I just purchased one of these newer varieties this spring, an Endless Summer Hydrangea. It alreay has 6 large blooms and is growing new ones everytime I look at it. All on this seasons new growth as the plant was pruned down to the ground in the gallon container when I bought it this spring. good luck, Matt in MI

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My wife picked one up on sale this year, we've debated on where to put it since the ultimate location is not ready for plants. We Put it in a large clay pot, and it showing new growth, any thoughts on how we can keep it through a michigan (SE) winter?
tia
Dan

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