Have you noticed your hydrangea not blooming this year? Or maybe it is blooming less than in years past? Here are 7 reasons why hydrangeas fail to bloom and how to fix it.

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers to grow in the garden. Their beautiful, lush blooms in shades of pink, blue, and white never fail to bring a smile to my face.

However, I know all too well the disappointment that comes when they don’t bloom as expected.

After years of trial and error, I’ve learned a few reasons why hydrangeas may not be blooming, and in this post, I’m excited to share my tips and tricks for getting them to put on a show-stopping display.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, these easy-care and low-maintenance solutions will have your hydrangeas blooming in no time!

Here are 7 reasons why your hydrangea might not be blooming and how to fix it.

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About Hydrangeas

With a USDA hardiness zone of 3-9, Hydrangeas prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial shade, though some species can tolerate full sun. So always read the plant tag to see what kind of light conditions your hydrangea needs.

They are a popular ornamental plant and can be used in a variety of landscape settings, including hedges, foundation plantings, and mixed borders.

And if growing them in the garden isn’t enough, hydrangeas are also popular cut flowers, and their blooms can be dried for use in floral arrangements or as a decorative element in crafts.

close up of annabelle hydrangea and endless summer hydrangea in bloom

Why Is My Hydrangea Not Blooming?

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular ornamental plants, known for their beautiful, showy blooms in shades of pink, blue, white, and purple.

However, it can be frustrating and disappointing when your hydrangeas fail to bloom. There are several reasons why hydrangeas may not produce blooms, ranging from improper pruning to inadequate sunlight or soil conditions.

Whatever the cause may be, the result is a lack of the magnificent, eye-catching blooms that make hydrangeas so beloved by gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike.

In this post, we will explore some of the reasons why hydrangeas fail to bloom and provide tips on how to encourage healthy growth and vibrant blooms.

Because there may be a few different reasons your hydrangea failed to flower or lacked blooms this season.

So consider these factors and make the proper adjustments to improve blooming next season.

annabelle hydrangea flowers

Florist or Gift Hydrangea

How was your hydrangea acquired?

If it was received as a gift with pretty foil or plastic wrap, the hydrangea is likely a florist or gift hydrangea.

These hydrangeas are greenhouse raised to profusely bloom at the point of sale and oftentimes don’t do as well once planted in the garden.

In general, they are forced to bloom out of season in greenhouses or controlled environments so that they can be sold as a decorative plant or gift item.

Florist hydrangeas are not typically bred for outdoor growing and may not thrive if planted outside.

If you receive one as a gift and decide to plant it in the garden, know that it may or may not flower, and keep your expectations low.

So if you received one as a gift, that could be a reason why your hydrangea is not blooming.

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The Hydrangea Isn’t Planted in the Right Location

Where are your hydrangeas planted?

Depending on the variety you have, if the hydrangea is getting too much shade, it will not bloom.

In general, hydrangeas prefer morning sun with afternoon shade and need at least 4 hours of dappled sun per day.

So check the light conditions of the variety you have and transplant it to a sunnier spot in your yard if the current location is too shady.

Thus, lack of sunlight could explain why a hydrangea is not blooming.

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This is one of my Everblooming Hydrangeas.

Pruning at the Wrong Time

When are you cutting back or pruning your hydrangeas?

Most often, hydrangeas refuse to bloom because they are pruned at the wrong time.

Thus, it is important to know what type of hydrangea you have so you know when to prune it.

There are three different pruning categories that depend on whether the plant blooms on old or new wood. They are:

  • Hydrangea Macrophylla which blooms on old wood
  • Hydrangea Arborescens and Hydrangea Paniculata which blooms on new growth
  • Everblooming/Endless Summer Hydrangeas which blooms on both old and new wood
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Everblooming and Macrophylla Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood should be pruned when flowers start to fade.

If cut back between fall and early spring, they won’t flower because the buds were trimmed off.

Hydrangeas that bloom on new growth should be cut back in late winter or early spring.

I cut my Hydrangea Paniculata back hard the first seasonable day in early spring and it blooms beautifully every fall.

Thus, timing is critical!

Not sure what variety you have?

Reach out to your local cooperative extension or master gardener program and ask them to ID the plant for you.

If you opt not to go that route, try not pruning it at all and see how it does the following growing season.

garden nj in the backyard in late summer

Soil

Have you ever tested your soil?

It is important to test the soil where hydrangeas are planted because soil quality has an effect on flowering. For example, if the soil is high in nitrogen, the hydrangea may not bloom because nitrogen promotes healthy, green leaves instead of blooms.

High levels of nitrogen can occur if fertilizer is applied at or near the hydrangea.

Therefore, consider how much and how often fertilizer is applied, then re-evaluate how the area should be fertilized in the future.

This could be one of the reasons my hydrangeas aren’t blooming this year.

White and blue hydrangea flowers in the garden

Too Much Fertilizer

Are you fertilizing your hydrangeas?

I don’t fertilize any of my perennials, shrubs or trees. But I know people some do.

Overly fertilizing promotes big healthy leaves instead of flowers. Stop fertilizing them and see if that improves flowering the following season.

As an alternative to fertilizing, focus more on improving the quality of your soil.

Test the soil and based on those results, add compost and other soil amendments that are more organic options rather than blindly applying chemicals.

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Recently Planted Hydrangeas

When were the hydrangeas planted?

Hydrangeas may not flower within the first few years of planting because they spend their energy developing good, healthy root systems.

I planted a Climbing Hydrangea that took several years to bloom.

So be patient and give them some time to grow strong healthy roots before expecting blooms.

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Hydrangea Not Blooming Because Not Hardy to Climate

While the hydrangea root system might be hardy to your climate, the buds might have been killed by an extremely cold winter or an early spring freeze.

In these cases, you will want to wrap your hydrangea with burlap in late fall to help protect it from harsh winter conditions.

For more information regarding why Hydrangeas refuse to bloom, see Penn State Extension and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

phlox and limelight hydrangea flowers

How Do You Fix Hydrangeas That Don’t Bloom?

If you’re struggling with hydrangeas that aren’t blooming, there are a few things you can try to get them back on track.

Here are some tips to try.

  1. Prune properly: If you’re not seeing blooms, it could be because you’re pruning at the wrong time.
  2. Test your soil and see if there is too much nitrogen or not enough nutrition to feed the plant.
  3. Ensure adequate water: Hydrangeas like consistently moist soil, so make sure you’re watering them regularly, especially during dry spells. But be careful not to overwater, as this can also cause problems. If you’re not sure whether your hydrangeas are getting enough water, check the soil with your finger – it should be evenly moist but not waterlogged.
  4. Provide the right amount of sunlight: Hydrangeas do best with morning sun and afternoon shade. If they’re getting too much sun or too much shade, it can affect their ability to bloom. Try moving them to a spot with better light conditions.
  5. Avoid overfertilizing. In fact, I recommend stop fertilzing and focus on soil quality. Add compost, aged manure, and leaf mold to help improve it.
  6. If they were recently planted, give them more time to develop a good root system. Remember that hydrangea can be slow to establish, so don’t give up on them too quickly.
close up of lacecap hydrangea flowers
Lacecap hydrangea

More About Hydrangeas

Did your hydrangeas fail to bloom this year? What are your tips for getting more flowers and encouraging bloom? I would love to know more in the comments below.

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close up of blue hydrangea flowers on endless summer hydranagea
hydrangeas in bloom
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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.

Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

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Why Aren't My Hydrangeas Blooming
Hydrangea Paniculata

I’m so glad I looked into the reason why my hydrangea not blooming. I have a few Macrophyllas that are in pretty dense shade.

Since I’ve been too lazy to dig them out and transplant them, they leaf out, look healthy, but don’t bloom. If I want to get this hydrangea to bloom, I need to move it stat.

The bigger concern for me is the lack of blooms on my Endless Summer Hydrangeas. They bloomed profusely from May through November for several years.

But a few years ago, we started paying a landscaper to do fall clean-ups. And he cut them back to the ground without my consent. And they have not been the same since.

It’s been about two years since they’ve been cut back and the light conditions have not changed, and yet, my endless summer hydrangeas aren’t blooming.

So I suspect they are they are receiving too much fertilizer from the lawn and here’s why:

I have been over-seeding my lawn and adding fertilizer to help those seeds grow. With all the rain we have had in the last two growing seasons and slope of the ground, that fertilizer may be seeping in and impacting my Hydrangeas.

To see if I am correct, I will test the soil to see if there is a high level of nitrogen present and be sure to avoid that area with fertilizer in the future.

For me, it’s not worth risking the blooms to have a green lawn right next to it.

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hydrangea paniculata in fall hydrangea care
climbing hydrangea flowers - Why Aren't My Hydrangeas Blooming
I never prune my Climbing Hydrangea unless I need to tame the size. It took several years for this to flower after planting, but now blooms profusely every spring.

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7 Comments

  1. Good morning
    Stacy
    Thank you for all tips about hydrangeas
    I started working and my garden and I followed everything you said
    Thank you so much
    Have good day
    Sandra

  2. I had a hydrangea for two years and never bloomed. I tore it out this year. I’m think I should have waited. I love them but never seem to have luck. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing, Stacy!

    1. Oh that’s too bad! I had a hydrangea in the backyard that I planted and it did not bloom for like 8 years! I just left it there because it looked happy and I was too lazy to take it out when there were other things to do. And eventually it bloomed!

  3. Thank you for those healthy tips. I really love hydrangea. Please help what is this type of tree hydrangea with white cascading flowers. I was checked in a hotel in Maine. There were 10 tree hydrangeas outside about 7 to 8 feet tall. I looked in the internet I saw oak leaf hyndrangea byt he leaved are not the oak leave hydrangea