Hydrangeas Do Not Bloom

Question From: V. DeMay - MICHIGAN
Q: I have over 20 varieties of Hydrangea. They are planted under a tree facing South and along the side of my house facing West in shade. None of them have ever fully bloomed since I purchased them. I have amended the soil, treated them with loving care and tried everything EXCEPT transplanting them to a full sun spot. Do you think that is the problem? The collection got bigger over time as I tried the different varieties (Arborescens, Paniculata and Macrophylla) in hopes of getting something to bloom every year. I have cut them back every spring, left them alone to bloom on old wood and wrapped them in burlap. Are you familiar with my problem? While they are pretty (sorta) just as huge healthy green bushes, I'm kinda done if you can't think of why they won't bloom for me. Thanks for your input.

A: I think you have lots of issues. First, the tree. What kind, how big and how close are the plants? Lack of water, especially in spring can be an issue. Pruning at the wrong time. Macrophyllas set buds in fall.Prune them then and you will cut off the blooms. Arborescens and Paniculatas flower on new wood. I prune mine in spring. Excessive fertiliizer (high nitrogen) could be a problem. Hydrangeas are acid loving plants and the best fertilizer to use, especially those planted next to a foundation is Espoma Holly Tone in early spring. They need at least 4 hours of sun. Good Luck and Happy Yardening.