Climbing Hydrangea Does Not Bloom Or Grow Past Two Feet Tall Before Dying Back Each Year

Question From: M. LeDonne - MASSACHUSETTS
Q: I planted a climbing hydrangea against a fence 3 years ago. It is not a happy plant and I don't know what to do for it. Every year it grows to about 2 feet, the leaves turn brown, and it dies back. It's doesn't get any bigger and it's never bloomed. It gets afternoon sun. I've been tempted to just dig it up and throw it away, but every year I think maybe if I feed it more often, or change the acidity of the soil, water it more, water it less...maybe something will change. Do you have any advice?
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A: Climbing hydrangeas are slow starters and often take several years to bloom. It sounds like you may be overwatering it and possibly over fertilizing it. It does best in cool weather and the hot afternoon sun we experienced this year may be too much for it. Fertilizer will not help these issues. Try a sweet autumn clematis. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.