Real Garden Solutions: Hydrangeas
I have a hydrangea that has not blossomed for three years. It has lots of green foliage, but no blooms. What could be the problem? A.A., Gloucester, MA
Chances are you have a bigleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla, which produces flowers on last year’s growth. This type of hydrangea can be shy to produce flowers in New England for several reasons:
1. The plant is located in an area that doesn’t receive sufficient sunlight.
2. It may be planted too deep in the ground.
3. Last year’s flower buds are missing (cut off), or damaged by cold or fluctuating temperatures.
4. It’s a “florist” type that’s not sufficiently climate-hardy to produce flowers outdoors.
Make sure the plant gets at least six hours of sunlight per day all summer. In the fall, don’t cut back the top growth. Protect the branches from the winter and early-spring sun, which can damage buds owing to sharp temperature fluctuations. Make sure you provide sufficient moisture so that the plant grows vigorously and doesn’t wilt.
Ask the experts at your local garden center to recommend varieties that have proven to be reliable performers in your area. Additional information is also available on The American Hydrangea Society’s Web site: americanhydrangeasociety.org