About 3 years ago, I received a potted hydrangea as a gift. Eventually, I planted it outdoors, but it has not bloomed since, even though it fills out and grows to a healthy 3 feet tall. What do I need to do to get the plant to start producing flowers again?
—Edward Wyszynski, Belleville, Michigan
Your hydrangea is probably the type that blooms on old wood. That means the new growth that sprouts from the older stems produces flowers. You won't see flowers the next summer if:
- —Frigid winter temperatures kill the stems back to the ground.
- —You prune the plants back to the ground during the dormant season.
To protect these plants in winter, cover with straw or evergreen branches once the ground freezes.
If pruning is the problem, the solution is easy. Avoid pruning old growth to ground level during the dormant season. In spring, only trim the dead tips and lightly shape. Finally, be sure not to overfertilize hydrangeas. Too much nitrogen will give you a lush green plant, but it will not produce flowers.