I’ve been growing hydrangeas for years and one of the questions I get asked so many times is “why are hydrangeas not blooming?” Here the answer to that and other hydrangea questions.

In full and complete disclosure before we get started…

….I am not a hydrangea professional.

Hello Captain Obvious.

I’ve never worked at a nursery.

I’ve never owned a hydrangea farm.

I’ve never sent my children to college on the profits from my dried hydrangea projects.

But what I am is so much better.  I’m just someone who loves hydrangeas. I love the way they change color and how they bloom all summer and how the blooms look like pieces of modern art and how beautiful they are when they dry.

And I’ve been to the school of hydrangea hard knocks.

I’ve been planting them for over 15 years and along the way, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t and how to get them to bloom and when to leave them alone and when to talk to them and tell them they are beautiful. I’m not sure about the weather where you are, but it’s planting season here in Texas and I wanted to give you some ideas and inspiration for the hydrangea road ahead.

Truth?

Hydrangeas can be a little tricky.

Here’s all about hydrangeas and my best tried and true tips and the answer to “Why are hydrangeas not blooming” and many other hydrangea questions.

Why are hydrangeas not blooming planting

Q: WHY ARE HYDRANGEAS NOT BLOOMING?

There are actually several reasons why your hydrangeas may not bloom. You have to be a hydrangea detective and search for clues. Here are a few things you need to look for:

  • What type of hydrangeas did you plant? You want to plant varieties that work with your soil and your location. Check with your local nursery to determine what works best for your area.
  • Did you prune them too early? Make sure not to trim the stalks until you make sure they don’t have blooms on them.
  • Did you shelter them over winter? Winters can destroy a hydrangea’s ability to bloom. You need to protect them in harsh winter conditions.
  • Did you give them proper soil and fertilizer? The right soil is so important to a hydrangea. I also add in organic matter like coffee grounds to help with their growth.
  • Did you plant them with too much sun? Hydrangeas like a little sun and a little shade–dappled sunlight is best for location.

Q: WHAT IS THE BEST PLACE TO PLANT HYDRANGEAS?

I’ve planted hydrangeas in different places. I’ve planted them where they only get morning sun. I’ve planted them where they got partial shade and then the shade moved and sun showed up. And I quickly discovered that if you want them to survive and thrive in Texas, you want to plant them in an area that looks like this. When asking why are hydrangeas not blooming–one of the reasons is location.

See the dappled sunlight in these pictures?

See the little bits of sunlight that come down through the trees?

Watch your yard and find the places that look like this.

You want to find a place where they get a little early morning sun and then dappled sunlight for the rest of the day. By dappled sunlight, I mean mostly shade, but the trees have enough room in their branches to let the sunlight through. This shades them from the harsh heat of summer but lets enough sunlight through to help them grow.

Why are hydrangeas not blooming hydrangeas in vase

Q: WHAT TYPE OF SOIL DO HYDRANGEAS LIKE?

The perfect soil is what hydrangeas long for.  Beautiful, sweet, incredible amended dirt.  The easiest way to know how to amend your dirt is to talk to your local nursery. You want to make sure you have at least 5% organic matter in the soil.  The organic matter helps break up the soil and creates air pockets in the dirt that help with water drainage.

When you first plant your hydrangeas you want to dig a hole about 15″ to 18″ deep. Remove all the existing soil. And then? Make your own. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.

Mix peat moss and potting soil and a little pine mulch together and then refill the hole.

We also build up extra soil in a dirt mound around the plant to give it even more of a barrier to protect it.

Why are hydrangeas not blooming flowers

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO PRUNE HYDRANGEAS?

It’s important to point out that you don’t prune all hydrangeas in the same way. When asking why are hydrangeas not blooming, the most common reason is often over-pruning. Different varieties of hydrangea are different.  Some bloom on old wood, some bloom on new.  If you are in doubt (and you forget which variety you planted like me) here are a few tips:

  • The key is determining if the hydrangea stalks come up from the ground with new blooms or if they bloom on the old wood.
  • Leave the hydrangea stalks through winter
  • Watch for blooms
  • Don’t cut back the stalks until you see whether or not the old wood has blooms on it.
  • If you accidentally trim the stalks that are blooming, you will have only green leaves on your plant.

Q: HOW OFTEN DO I WATER HYDRANGEAS?

If you live in Texas like me? As much as possible.

Hydrangeas are one of the thirstiest plants I have ever met. After you plant them, you’ll want to water heavily for the first week. Check and make sure the dirt mound is damp. You’ll want to make sure to water carefully so you don’t want to wash away all that wonderful dirt you have created.

After the hydrangeas get established, we usually water them every couple of days until July and August and then we have to check on them daily to make sure the soil doesn’t start drying up.

Depending on where you live, the soil may not dry up as quickly. You’ll want to check the soil every couple of days to make sure it’s damp.

Q: WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR PLANTING HYDRANGEAS?

Dig the hole to plant the hydrangea in. Then, after you’ve dug the hole and amended the soil and loosened the roots, place the hydrangea into the hole and fill it back with dirt.  You want the crown of the plant (where the stem meets the soil) to be even with the ground.  If you put too much of the hydrangea into the soil, it can cause the plant to rot and not to bloom.

After you’ve lightly packed the dirt around the base of the plant, create a tiny dam around the perimeter of the plant and fill with water.  This extra step really helps to make sure the newly-planted hydrangea has all the water it needs.

Here are some of my other favorite gardening tips I’ve pinned.

I hope this helps.

I hope your hydrangeas bloom and grow and prosper and live a long hydrangea life.

If it’s not hydrangea planting season you can always pin this for later.

And now? I have one last tip.

My friend has hydrangea bushes that surround her house full of so many blooms the plant can barely support them and when I asked her how she got her hydrangea to bloom she shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me and told me she ignores them.

So maybe that’s the key.

When all else fails, go all Hallmark movie on the hydrangea like the girl who really wants the guy to like her except he’s too busy to notice her and then he buys her parents’ flower shop and instead of falling all over him….

…..she acts like she’s not really aware he’s there.

And after all that ignoring, they all live happily ever after.

PS Just wanted you to know I was thinking of you today.

We made it through, friends. One more week down.

Together we CAN.

Together we WILL.

Comments

  1. Image for Brenda Brenda

    I love hydrangeas! But I have a question you didn't address. We are going to have to take out a tree and will have to move the hydrangeas that are shaded by the tree. When is the best time to move them? Thanks for your help! Have a great day!

  2. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I have non-blooming hydrangeas! Well they kind of bloom, they start to bud and a few of the buds open, and then they stop. I have tried everything! I thought maybe they don’t get enough sun, but they get morning sun as you said, but maybe they need more, they are on the east side of our house. My sister in law is like your friend, she has AMAZING hydrangeas...they were there when she bought the house. She has done absolutely Nothing to them! I can’t lie...I’m jealous!

  3. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Knowing they didn't love full sun, I once mistakenly planted hydrangeas on the north side of our house. The plants grew beautifully — big, full, and bushy. But they never bloomed. So I moved them to a dappled spot just like the one you've shown. Like magic, they bloomed that year. Lots of good advice here for a favorite plant!

  4. Image for Sandi from the Cape Sandi from the Cape

    Thanks for all your blogging efforts. I'm sure you're touching several people who need a little brightening! Here on Cape Cod we love our hydrangeas! It's so cold and raw today here that it was a pleasure to see your beautiful blooms. Stay safe and wear your mask when out and about!

  5. Image for Anita Roth Anita Roth

    What do you mean by amending the soil? I love hydrangeas. I to love all the different colors. My daughter got a start from a friend of mine and grew it in a planter on the deck of her apartment.It got to big and she gave it to me. It is thriving! I wish we lived closer! I would love to sit and have sweet tea with you ❤️

  6. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    I Love hydrangeas!! Too hot here in AZ even in shade :( It is so true that sometimes we can “love” plants too much....over watering, pruning etc. Ignoring them a little is ok 😂 Yours are gorgeous 💜

  7. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    Thanks for the info! They are one of my favorite flowers. Do they need a special kind of fertilizer to help them bloom? Mine last year just didn't do well. Have a safe and good weekend with your sweet family!

  8. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Ha! Ha! I have been planting for 15 years too, and don't have but one living bush. I will try again with less sun and more water. Thanks for inspiring me!

  9. Image for Kelly Kelly

    I too love hydrangeas!!! I grew them in California but here in Arizona it’s just too hot! But we are moving to Virginia in a year hopefully and I can grow them again!! Thank you for sharing! I love your website! God bless and stay well!

  10. Image for Peg Peg

    Your hydrangeas look beautiful! I have some growing in dappled sunlight & another large plant which grows even more beautifully having more direct morning light. I look forward to their blooms as they do last through summer into fall in NY.

  11. Image for Carol Carol

    HI KariAnne, So love the diversion of beautiful hydrangeas....And the picture you snuck in of your house number/letters. Yup, I had to clap my hands again. So happy for you!!! I so appreciate you blogs. I always read them first since there are so many sad things right now. You are really helping and I want you to know that. Why isn't Texas closer to Wisconsin? God Bless, Carol

  12. Image for Pat Pat

    Hydrangea are among my favorites too, right up there with peonies. But unlike peonies they do require a lot of work to get it just right. Thanks for the tips I’m hoping for abundant hydrangea blooms this year. Pat

  13. Image for jocelyn darling jocelyn darling

    Thanks KariAnne! Knowing how to coax the best out of my hydrangeas will give me something to look forward to!

  14. Image for Mindy Whipple Mindy Whipple

    We had ours in a sunnier location and it didn't do well. Moving it into the dappled sun/shade made all the difference. Thank you for the other tips. Your post is easy and informative. Now if you would just do the same for Clematis I would be set :)

  15. Image for Laura Fee Unruh Laura Fee Unruh

    Try a fertilizer stick(mircle grow or other brand). Place in early spring before plants even start to show leaves.

  16. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love the “leave it alone” method. I had a hydrangea in too much sun (and probably too many deer) that didn’t survive. My husband planted one in a shady corner that probably gets NO sun...and it’s huge and blooms beautifully. I have two new plants in the front that I am talking sweetly to...and then my sister’s hydrangeas take over the entire side of her house...and she has totally left them alone. I have added coffee grounds to make my blue ones stay blue...but I’m like you...they are one of my very favorites that I can never quite figure out...I just talk to them often and tell them how beautiful they are!

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