Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > July 2017 > IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - HYDRANGEAS AND NO BLOOMS

IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - HYDRANGEAS AND NO BLOOMS

You may be wondering why I am doing a blog on hydrangeas this time of year.  Well, late July is a time of year very important in understanding why some of our blue hydrangeas may not be blooming.  It is all in understanding the proper time to prune.  Continue reading and hopefully you will have a fuller understanding as to why our beloved hydrangeas are not blooming like they use to. 
                Rest assured that in most cases it is nothing that we did wrong.  There seems to be two very common reasons for no blooms on our Big Leaf hydrangea macrophylla “mophead”shrubs.  These are the hydrangeas that bloom either blue or pink in the late spring.  The two culprits are either frost damage or improper pruning.  In most cases with talking to customers who come into the garden center with this question, it has to do with late winter frosts and frigid temperatures.  As for improper pruning, the time to prune mophead hydrangea is after they finish blooming.  These hydrangeas bloom off of one year old wood and form their flower buds in July and carry the buds through until next spring.  Unfortunately,  Mother Nature has killed back our beloved hydrangeas below this bloom wood which leads to only green growth and no blooms in the spring.
                For hydrangeas it is all about the location it is planted.  Hydrangeas prefer a partially shaded location with moist but well-drained soil.  No hydrangea will bloom in deep shade.  Hydrangeas need some sunlight to flower, but too much sun can reduce flowering and cause leaf scorch.  Also, Hydrangeas do NOT like to be planted out in the exposed.  They would rather be planted as a foundation plant near a protected wall that provides a windbreak and protection from severe weather. 
                There are other forms of hydrangeas such as the Arborescens and the Paniculata.  These forms of hydrangeas bloom off of their new, spring growth.  Such hydrangea varieties in these families include, PeeGee, Annabelle, Lime Light, and Little Lime just to name a few.
                So, back to pruning  -  Old wood?  New wood?  Ever-bloomers?  It is important to know what type of hydrangea you have.  If you have a Big Leaf then you prune only after it has finished blooming in the late spring or early summer.  According to the Virginia Tech “A Guide to Successful Pruning” June and July are the only two months to prune our mophead hydrangeas. My motto on pruning is “when in doubt, don’t prune”.  Basically, most hydrangeas need pretty minimal pruning.  They are fine with just enough of a trim to shape the plant and get rid of dead branches.  Ones that bloom off of new spring growth can be pruned in late winter.  Ever-bloomers, such as Endless Summer hydrangea, can be pruned anytime.  Again, it is all about RIGHT PLANT, RIGHT LOCATION.  The best approach is to plant your hydrangea in a spot that will accommodate its size and spread in order to reduce or eliminate the need for any pruning. 
                And, back to winter kill back  -  what do we do?  In January you can form a burlap windbreak around the hydrangeas.  Or, we just let Mother Nature takes its course and hope for a more traditional winter this coming year.
                                                                                HAPPY GARDENING!!
               
                
Posted: 7/26/2017 by Doug Hensel | with 3 comment(s)
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