Re: No Hydrangeas Blooms This Year! :(

Yes, that's a pity. I don't normally like dried flowers, except for scent (lavendar, rosebuds, etc.) but properly dried hydrangeas are almost more beautiful than live ones. zemedelec
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How long does it take before a hydrangea blooms? I have a small one that comes back every year, but I only get leaves (I think this is its 3rd or 4th year)
LeeAnne

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mary) wrote in message

In CT the less hardy varieties had bud damage from the severe winter. Some suffered botrytis during the wet spring and the buds turned brown and fell off.
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote in message

Maybe that's what happened, but I never saw any buds forming. I usually have full blooms by now (mid-July). Very sad indeed! I did see others blooming while driving around, but now I'll have to look for just leafy plants to see if I'm not alone.
thanks, Mary
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On 22 Jul 2003 10:15:26 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mary) wrote:

Mine did not bloom this year either. It doubled in size from last year and it is now over 4-feet across and 3 feet high. I plan to protect the plant by piling leaves on top of it before the winter cold arrives. The blooming mechanism is on last year growth, so if that freezes or is pruned there will be no flowering. It is a beautiful lush green plant, even without flowers.
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Pruning for shape can be done in autumn after the shrub ceases to bloom. But for best bloom, pruning is done in late winter or early spring, when buds are most evident, & the buds define where pruning cuts are made.
As a generality, if you have kept the dried flowerheads on the branches until winter's end, just before spring trim the flower stems back to the first fat pair of buds. You can also underlimb a bit if it's a Bigleaf cultivar that flops to the ground with rangy bottom limbs, as any flowers produced down there will just lay on the ground, &amp blooms will be bigger if encouraged mainly on the upright growth. Letting it go all wild might get more flowers, but they'll be smaller flowers that wear out faster. A bit of trimming, even if it costs a few buds, encourages huge flowers, & some cultivars will be inspired to bloom from July to as late as November without interuption (more commonly July to October or September).
Why a shrub wouldn't bloom is a hard call. Stress factors would include: too much shade (they like partial shade); too little moisture (older shrubs are very drought-hardy & the leaves could look quite nice, but still not energentic enough to set buds); too wet from clayey soil; depleted soil (heavy bloomers require a lot of feeding, certainly nothing less than an azalea fertilizer in spring, but perhaps something stronger, plus a couple times through the year); or a late-occurring freeze killing buds just as they started swelling. I'm also of the opinion that tinkering with pH levels to turn flowers bright pink stresses the shrub, which really prefers acidic soil, & no shrub likes its pH levels changing radically from month to month.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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paghat wrote:

survive and turn into shoots during the summer, they often don't bloom, and it seems to be related to a hard winter. 2001-2 was very mild here in Cleveland and I had plenty of blooms in 2002. 2002-3 was a rock solid frozen winter, and it doesn't look like I'll have any blooms.
Winters in Cleveland are unpredictable, sometimes as cold as Minnesota, other times as mild as Seattle.

Not my experience... there are rangy bottom limbs that lie on the ground, but if these flower, the flowers themselves will be upright. The new shoots bend themselves upward 90 degrees before putting out a flower.

I've considered all the above and I'm still going with the late freeze. The blooms are already too pink! My daughter asks me if I can turn them blue. It seems to take more than just a couple dousings with Miracid though. :-)
- Alex
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Well I'm glad to see I'm not alone (no offense)! Let's hope we fare better next year. And yes, it is very lush on its own.
Mary
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Alexander Pensky wrote:

Hydrangea macrophyllas will bloom from the growth that was generated the previous year, aka old wood. Consistantly pruning back 18-24 inches may very well remove any of that previous year's growth, therefore resulting in no flowers. Provided your climate is suitable, pruning off the dried flower heads and just back to the first or second set of buds is usually sufficient to assure a tidy plant AND flowers. More extensive pruning can be done to control size - typically it is recommended that older, very woody canes be removed to encourage new, more vigorous growth and this will help to keep the plant in size check. Or, you can go ahead and cut back long leggy stems with the understanding that they will not produce flowers that season. I usually do this in March in my area, when the new buds are quite visible. There is also the option of not pruning at all, other than to remove obviously dead wood and old, winter-ratty flowerheads. I tend towards this practice 80% of the time, allowing the shrub to grow unchecked.
Generally, lack of flowering with hydrangeas is due to either incorrect pruning methods or winter cold which damages the dormant flower buds and/or causes dieback of the last season's growth.
pam - gardengal
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We have two Hydragenas, a young Oak Leaf that was just planted into a whisky barrel a few months ago and a lovely mophead that was here when we bought the house alnost two years ago. Last year the mophead was full of blooms from early in the year until very late into the fall (we are in So Cal.) But this year we just finally got two blooms this past week or so. I think there might be a few more coming up, but not nearly as striking a show as last year. We were told by the homes former owner that she just cut it back every winter to almost nothing, which she did for us when she moved two years ago. So we did the same thing this year... but sigh, it's just not doing very well bloom wise. The oak leaf has got quite a few lovely white blooms though. :-) I'm so happy to see that one doing well as it was a very hard plant to locate for purchase. We saw it in a magazine and just had to have it for it's lovely fall color. The leaves are amazing in fall. Big and beautiful and full of color. Rachel
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