GARDEN TIME with DOUG – Hear Yea, Hear Yea! Our Hydrangeas Are Blooming


Many customers have recently come into the garden center so excited that their blue hydrangeas are in bud and bloom for the first time in two or three years. This past couple of years so many customers were wondering why and if they did something wrong. Rest assured that in most cases it is nothing that we have done wrong. The fault may well lie with heavy and late snows, as well as frigid temperatures.

Let me explain in greater detail so that you can understand what had happened to hydrangeas:

Did you know that there are five different types of hydrangeas?

IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE FAMILY TYPE OF HYDRANGEA THAT YOU WANT TO PURCHASE OR HAVE IN YOUR LANDSCAPE. So, when you plant, be sure to save the label!! That way, when it comes time to prune (if needed) you can do it correctly without sacrificing the beautiful blooms.

The common blue flowering hydrangea falls in the H. macrophylla family. The common names are “mop head” or “big leaf” hydrangea. Flower buds of this hydrangea are formed between July and October and carried through the winter months. Unfortunately, our harsh winters have killed this bloom wood which leads to only green growth and no blooms in the spring. Also, if this type of hydrangea needs to be pruned then the only time to prune is once the flowers begin to fade in late spring  –  no other time!! I need to go on record stating that improper pruning can be another culprit for no blooms on hydrangea mop heads. Unfortunately, some customers prune in early spring and cut off the blooming wood. Don’t be this customer.

Let’s talk about planting location for hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are woodland plants. They prefer to be in consistently moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil. Be careful, too much shade can result in reduced bloom production. Also, hydrangeas do NOT like to be planted out in the open and exposed to the elements. They would rather be planted as a foundation plant near a protected wall that provides a windbreak and protection from severe weather.

Another topic for our mop head hydrangeas – the color of the bloom is dictated by the pH level of the soil. You need an acidic base soil for the blue flowers and an alkaline base soil for pink flowers.

I hope I have not made things more confusing.

Earlier I mentioned that we have different family types of hydrangeas. Here is a list:

Hydrangea anolmala petiolaris – Climbing hydrangea

Hydrangea arborescens – Smooth hydrangea (native)

Hydrangea macrophylla – Bigleaf hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata – Panicle hydrangea

Hydrangea quecifolia – Oakleaf hydrangea

Now is a great time to come see us and shop our excellent selection of hydrangeas.

Happy Gardening!!!

Plant a little happiness!!!

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6 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – Hear Yea, Hear Yea! Our Hydrangeas Are Blooming”

  1. How does one know what kind of hydrangea they have? My daughter planted them and I have no idea what they are. They have bloomed all summer some years and very little others. I have cut them almost to the ground but they still come back and bloom when the weather warms.

    • Pamela,
      From the description that you are sharing, I am assuming that you have either Hydrangea arborescens or Hydrangea paniculata – both of which do bloom in the summer off of the new growth that came out early spring. So, you are correct in being able to cut them down to the ground. Now, which family type you have I couldn’t tell you without the actual name of the hydrangea. Doug

  2. Hi Doug…Oops! I don’t know what type hydrangea we have but unfortunately as a new owner of these beautiful flowers bought 2 years ago……I did not know better and ended up cutting the dead wood ( or so I thought) back. So far this year beautiful green leaves…but so far I do not see any blossoms forming, still hoping though. What are your thoughts of feeding the hydrangea bush with some “bloom”.?
    Thank you for all of your great advice!

    • Wendy,
      Unfortunately, I think you should only expect green, new growth this year because I do suspect that you did in deed cut off the bloom wood. My advice for this year is to go ahead and do a fertilizer and do not do any pruning. As long as Mother Nature gives us a normal winter then you should have flowers next spring. Thank you, Doug

    • Elizabeth,
      You prune lace cap hydrangeas right after it is finished blooming. And, this would be the time to feed your hydrangea. I am not surprised with no blooms last year because of the harsh winter days we had that killed back our hdyrangeas too far. This winter was more normal and this is why so many of us are seeing buds and blooms on our hydrangeas. Doug

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