My Garden!

Hydrangea Missing Blooms!
© 2005

Hydrangea macrophyllia is the most common variety. Some call it "French" Hydrangea. The biggest reason one might fail to bloom is absence of the proper buds, either through winter burn off or ill-timed pruning.

Flowering buds develop at the ends of springtime buds growing from last year's growth. You can actually see them start to set up in the late fall. What usually "does them in" is when we have a good two or three COLD weeks, and then temperatures go into the 50's for a few days...Mid-Atlantic gardeners know what I am talking about with regard to our winters. The warm temperatures stimulate growth, and after two or three times through this freeze/ thaw cycle, they develop to a point beyond their ability to cope with the cold. They will typically blacken and fall off by March or April. They don't like temperatures much below 30 anyway. To protect against this, Hydrangeas should be placed carefully in the garden, with winter protection in mind. Protection from wind and not too close to heat sources (like dryer vents) are your goals.

Because next years flowers will develop off of THIS year's growth, it is important to prune Hydrangeas soon after they bloom. That way you activiate more growth THIS year...which is more flowering buds for NEXT year. You can see in the picture to the right a long tall brown stalk from which the uppermost flowers are growing.

© 2005