Hydrangeas can sometimes play hot and cold, blooming beautifully in most seasons, then not blooming at all in other seasons. This confuses novice gardeners who grow hydrangeas for their show-stopper blooms.
Hydrangea flowers are large and come in an array of pastel colors and give off a sweet fragrance that’s similar to the scent of jasmines.
Bloom production can be influenced by a variety of factors, many of which have to do with how you take care of this plant throughout the growing season. How you winterize hydrangeas is also among the possible reasons of blooming failure.
If you too are caught off guard by a hydrangea refusing to bloom, I’m confident the tips I share below will have your hydrangea blooming again in all its splendor.
Hydrangea Not Blooming – Reasons & Fixes
When a hydrangea stops blooming, it’s usually for simple reasons like watering, location, or other deficiencies in care. Some reasons will postpone the blooming process, others will cause it to cease completely.
Below, I created an overview of all the possible reasons why your hydrangea skips blooming, and how you can fix this issue.
Hydrangeas need to be hydrated well and their soil needs to be kept moist. Lack of water can interfere with healthy blooming and can quickly lead to wilting, especially on hot summer days.
Many hydrangea varieties enjoy full sun but if they’re not watered well enough, they’ll wilt and show signs of distress. A plant that’s stressed and dehydrated may not focus its energy on blooming.
Depending on the local climate, hydrangeas may need watering at least 3 times a week. Plant your hydrangea in moisture retentive soil, but one that it’s well-draining.
Another reason why your hydrangea stops blooming can be linked to the plant hardiness zone in your area.
Simply put, your hydrangea variety is just not cold hardy in your area, and it can stop blooming after the first year.
To overcome this problem, you need to offer it adequate winter protection to prevent damage of woods needed for blooming in the next season.
If your hydrangea is otherwise cold-hardy in your area, you may have planted it in a location where it doesn’t get enough light.
Hydrangeas enjoy full sun to partial shade. So if your hydrangea is planted in full shade, it may have trouble blooming.
Lack of enough nutrients can also hinder the blooming process in your hydrangeas. Fertilizing too frequently can cause fertilizer burn, and once again affect blooming.
It’s enough to fertilize your hydrangeas once or twice during summer with a fertilizer specially formulated for hydrangeas, or with an all-purpose 12-4-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Alternatively, you can use a slow release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season to enjoy luscious foliage and impressive blooms.
A possibly even more common reason why hydrangeas stop blooming has to do with improper pruning. Some hydrangeas grow flowers off new woods, other hydrangeas grow flowers off the old woods.
If you’ve cut back your hydrangea too much and it’s a variety that flowers off old wood, you may have inadvertently made it difficult for your hydrangea to produce blooms in the coming season.
Because your hydrangea is busy growing new wood and flowers simply won’t form on new wood, you may need to go a season without blooming hydrangeas.
A late spring frost can spell trouble for your hydrangeas. Frost can kill off newly formed buds or emerging leaves. To prevent this, you need to look into winter protection for your plants.
For hydrangeas planted outside, you’ll need to create insulation that will protect the plant from frost. You can create a cage of sorts with stakes and wire and fill it with oak leaves or other leaves to create an insulation that will offer protection during winter.
For potted hydrangeas winter protection is much easier to achieve — simply move them indoors before the first frost.
Most of these reasons are simple enough to fix, or they can be prevented with a bit of preparation.
Do Coffee Grounds Help Hydrangeas Bloom?
Gardeners use coffee grounds to fertilize the soil of many houseplants and outdoor plants. Hydrangeas can also benefit from coffee grounds added to the soil. But the reasons why most gardeners add coffee grounds to hydrangeas is to change the color of their blooms, specifically to turn them blue.
This is achieved by turning the soil more acidic and coffee grounds do help with soil acidification.
Not all varieties can be ‘tricked into’ producing blue blooms. Try this with mophead, lacecap and certain paniculata hydrangea varieties, but other varieties will not produce blue blooms.
Besides tipping the balance of soil pH, coffee grounds can also work as a fertilizer and will improve moisture retention. Work coffee grounds into the soil or use them in a composted form to improve drainage and soil quality.
How Long do Hydrangeas Stay in Bloom?
The large bursts of pink, blue, and white flowers produced by hydrangeas are the reason why this shrub plant is so popular. Flowers start appearing in spring or midsummer, depending on the hydrangea variety.
Hydrangeas will put out new flowers throughout the growing season. Gardeners will remove spent flowers to encourage the plant to produce new blooms.
Individual blooms usually last a couple of weeks until they are replaced by new blooms. Because of the plant’s prolific blooming, hydrangeas are a wonderful plant to keep if you want to create a colorful and lively garden.
Plenty of reasons can prevent hydrangeas from blooming. Chief among these reasons are improper pruning, frost and location.
Being mindful of these reasons and taking precautions in fall will reduce instances of hydrangeas not blooming.
Knowing how to prune your hydrangeas and how to protect them from winter frost will maximise their blooming potential.
Other than these, making sure your hydrangeas are well hydrated, exposed to adequate lighting and fertilized properly will also increase the likelihood that your hydrangeas will produce healthy blooms in the next season.