PROBLEM-SOLVING YOUR HYDRANGEA TROUBLES
Hydrangeas are one of the most popular garden plants for a reason—they’re hardy, they’re classic, and they’re simply gorgeous. While getting them to work requires a couple of tricks, it’s easy for even the most laid back or novice gardener to handle. Here’s how to get your hydrangea looking great again:
PROBLEM: MY HYDRANGEA ISN’T BLOOMING
It’s a common issue, so don’t worry too much! It can feel devastating to hopefully expect some beautiful blooms to instead receive a lot of nice foliage. But with a bit of trouble shooting you can get your hydrangea back in shape! Try some of these solutions to get your plant in the blooming mood!
Lots of sunshine: Your hydrangea will want lots of sun—at least five hours of it during the summer. Keep this in mind when you’re planting, as once your hydrangea has set root in a bed, it’ll be harder to move around.
Precise Pruning: Incorrect pruning is the most common culprit for a hydrangea that just refuses to bloom. Pruning correctly doesn’t require any special expertise or technique, just basic knowledge and the right timing. Some hydrangeas bloom on “old wood”, so they set their blooms for next year right after they finish blooming in late summer. Pruning these trees in the spring will snip off all their buds and you’ll have lots of unexciting foliage the next year, so trim them in the summer right after they are done blooming. Other types bloom on “new wood”, so they set their blooms in the spring on their new growth. This means pruning in the fall is safe. If you don’t know which is your hydrangea, our experts at the garden center are ready to help so that you can prune with confidence at the right time!
Proper Nutrition: Hydrangeas need a balanced diet just like almost anything else. They use different nutrients for different things, so if their phosphate levels are low, they might have a hard time producing blooms. Add some bone meal or a high-phosphate fertilizer to give them a boost.
PROBLEM: MY HYDRANGEA HAS DISCOLORED LEAVES
We adore hydrangeas for their flowers, but they have truly beautiful foliage, too. Sometimes issues can make hydrangea foliage look less than it’s best, here’s some tips on how to fix it:
Add some iron. Yellowing leaves might be a sign that your hydrangea is craving more iron. Add chelated iron for a quick fix, or use an acidifying mulch for a longer-term solution.
Avoiding leaf burn: Plants can get sunburnt, too, and brown scorched leaves are a sign that the sun is getting just a little too intense for your plant. When the days get long and hot, give your plant a break by providing partial shade, and keep them hydrated with mulch and water.
PROBLEM: MY HYDRANGEA HAS SIGNS OF DISEASE
When something is just a little bit off with your plant, it could be fighting off disease, and that’s why it isn’t outshining your landscape like normal. Some common signs of disease include:
Hydrangeas covered in spots: Spotted leaves are sometimes normal, but if you have too many or some of the wrong color, it could require action. Here’s how to tell the difference.
Orange or brown spots on the plant should be plucked and are a sign that you should water lower on the plant to avoid splashing onto the leaves.
Tan, brown, yellow, or black spots and cankets need to be removed and destroyed immediately. Change your mulch to address the issue.
Hydrangeas with a white powder: Fungus leaves a powdery finish on the leaves and stems of hydrangeas. Prune off the most affected bits and treat those areas with neem oil. If possible, try to increase the airflow around your plant to avoid fungus issues in the future.
PROBLEM: MY HYDRANGEA HAS PESTS
Hydrangeas with pests are another common complaint, but they’re usually easy to handle yourself. Here are the most common offenders:
Hydrangeas and Mites: Spider mites are incredibly common and are dealt with easiest by releasing ladybugs into your hydrangea. They do all the work for you and are a much more welcome sight in the garden than mites.
Hydrangeas and beetles, worms, and caterpillars: Neem oil or pyrethrum are good solutions if you’re dealing with bigger pests in large numbers. Be careful with how much you use the treatments, though, as it can be hard on your hydrangea, too.
Keeping your hydrangeas happy and blooming isn’t that tricky when you know all the steps and remedies! In return for taking good care of them, you’ll be rewarded with lots of gorgeous blooms in unbelievable colors all summer.