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  • Writer's pictureDigger and Gina McLean

My Hydrangeas Won't Bloom! Helpful Hints for Hard to Please Hydrangeas....

We all have that friend that has amazing Hydrangeas every year. What is her secret? "Nothing", she says. "I neglect them and they just look like this." Some of us do not have that kind of luck. I've had a Hydrangea for about 10 years. I've moved it twice (too much sun? too much shade?) and it's bloomed one time a couple of years ago. I can grow almost anything outside, so this failure is tough to take. What am I doing wrong? What do I need to do?

What I have learned from lots of research is that sometimes Hydrangeas don't bloom. For years in a row. For all kinds of reasons. If your Hydrangeas aren't blooming, here are some things that may help you:

  1. Hydrangeas like an acid soil - Hydrangeas prefer soil with a Ph of 5 to 6. You can use pine bark around your plant, or you can use a soil acidifier. Soil sulphur can lower soil Ph slowly, or for quicker results iron sulfate works great. You can take a soil sample to your local extension agent for testing or buy an inexpensive soil test kit.

  2. Hydrangeas like plenty of water - I was talking to a plant expert about Hydrangeas many years ago, and he said, "You know, the meaning of Hydrangea comes from the Greek words hydros (water) and angos (jar). So they like plenty of water." Wow. I have never forgotten that wisdom. Mine has done much better since I have started putting the water to it. Especially in the summer you are going to need to keep it watered.

  3. Hydrangeas need 4 to 6 hours of sun per day - Most Hydrangeas need a mix of sun and shade, but not too much of either. An ideal for your hydrangea would be a place where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. If you need to move a Hydrangea to a better location, wait until Fall to transplant it.

  4. Hydrangeas need phosphorus to produce blooms - If you look at the three numbers on your fertilizer bag, the second number is phosphorus, so look for a fertilizer with a high middle number. There are many forms of phosphorus you can apply. Bone meal is high in phosphorus or Scotts makes a water soluble fertilizer called Super Bloom that is high in phosphorus for blooming plants. In the season before flowering you can mix some up and pour it around the plant every two weeks.

5. Prune at the right time - Prune Hydrangeas at the right time for your variety. Some

bloom on old wood, so if you prune at the wrong time you are cutting off next years blooms.

If your Hydrangeas are struggling, these tips may help you grow the beautiful Hydrangeas you have always wanted. Dig It? It's Grow Time.

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