Hydrangea won't bloom


If your hydrangea is not blooming,
try answering these questions:

1. Did I prune my hydrangea back fairly drastically in the fall, winter, or spring?

2. Photo by Michael DirrDid my hydrangea leaf out early in the spring during a warm spell and then get frozen back in a late spring freeze?

If the answer is "Yes" or "Possibly," then try to remember if most of the new growth came from the ground rather than the old stems. This is illustrated in the picture at right taken by hydrangea expert Michael Dirr.

New growth that comes only from the ground is a bad sign that the hydrangea will not bloom this year.


  1. A late spring freeze arrives and ruins the developing bloom buds. The freeze may be light and even go unnoticed until one realizes that the blooms are not forming. Or it may kill all the emerging leaves, too. As a result, most of the new growth comes from the roots (as in the picture above). When this occurs, you know you have a problem.

    Most flower buds develop on the old stems. Once these stems are damaged in a late freeze, new flowers will not appear until the following year and only then if it is a milder spring. (This is the rule for the vast majority of mopheads [macrophyllas] but there are exceptional hydrangeas that will bloom despite this damage)

    Go to Winter Protection for information on covering your hydrangea for winter protection

  2. Improper pruning. If you have pruned your hydrangea this year, you may want to check out the section on Pruning Hydrangeas to see if this could be the problem.

  3. Planted in wrong zone. If you have had the bad luck to plant a hydrangea that has not bloomed after the first year you planted it, you may finally have to concede that this particular variety is not cold hardy in your area. Another variety may succeed famously. 'Endless Summer and 'Blushing Bride' are two wonderful hydrangeas that will bloom almost anywhere. If your hydrangea has never bloomed, don't give up hope. See What Type Hydrangeas Can I Grow?

    I have found that often the hydrangea that is not cold hardy was received as a gift or bought wrapped in foil. The foil is a sign that this hydrangea is directly out of a greenhouse and may not adapt well to your location. Some "gift type" hydrangeas are perfectly hardy, depending on where you live. But one will probably have better success growing hydrangeas if they are purchased them from a local nursery. Most local nurseries try to stock hydrangeas that are known to do well in the area. It also helps to ask the nurseryman (it pays to shop where there is an expert!) if this particular hydrangea is temperamental in cold climates.

    Go to Winter Protection for information on covering your hydrangea for winter protection

STORY: If you've ever had a hydrangea that wouldn't bloom, don't miss this: Amy-Beth and David's story and video on A BIG HYDRANGEA THAT WOULDN'T BLOOM!

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