Why Your Hydrangea Is Not Blooming

Pruning in the wrong time of the year and winter damage to flower buds are the most frequent causes of hydrangeas not blooming. The flower buds of hydrangeas develop from old timber. Pruning the growth of last year’s pruning removes the buds that are developing and prevents your hydrangeas from flowering.

The most common reason for hydrangeas that aren’t blooming:

  1. Pruning hydrangeas in spring takes away the growth from last year and also the buds that are developing.
  2. Frosts in late Spring can harm the flowering buds in the Spring, and stop blooming.
  3. A high amount of nitrogen in the soil can cause many leaves to grow but it also results in fewer flowers.
  4. Hydrangeas need partial sunlight or dappled light to bloom, and excessive shade could hinder flowering.
  5. Hydrangea isn’t yet mature enough to flower.
  6. Stress from drought in the fall and Spring may affect the growth blooms.

Continue reading to find out the reason your hydrangea isn’t blooming and how to fix the issue…

1. Pruning Can Prevent Flowering- Hydrangeas Bloom on Old Wood

The only way to bloom is from the shoots that are derived from the previous year’s growth. If you cut hydrangeas excessively or in the wrong time of season, then you cut back into the growth from which flowers appear and stop the hydrangea from flowering until the next year.

Hydrangeas don’t require regular pruning every year like other plants (like roses) usually do. They bloom best when you let the plant to bloom on its own.

If you’ve cut your hydrangea’s back, it will grow a lot of lush green leaves in the spring, but without flowers.


Hydrangeas are extremely resilient after they are established. A heavy pruning can hinder blooms until the next year.

When trimming hydrangeas, concentrate on cutting off any stems that appear to be straggly or dying to their base to encourage growth that will support the next flowers. This is not the same as reducing the shape of your hydrangea . pruning hydrangeas is generally restricted to deadheading.

It is recommended to remove dead growth and to transfer the flower heads and replace them with healthy growth, or to the following flower buds in spring, as this will increases airflow and lets more light to the developing flowers.

I want to emphasize that a lot of annual pruning isn’t necessary and could stop the hydrangea from blooming. the hydrangeas bloom made from older wood.

If you have to trim your hydrangea’s branches because it is too big for your yard, then cut it back right after it has bloomed. This will allow the hydrangea to have enough time to allow new growth to grow and mature into next year’s growth that can help be a source of flowers for the next year.

pink hydrangea flower close up

2. Winter Damage to Flower Buds

The reason why hydrangeas aren’t blooming is usually due to damage caused by frost to the flower buds during the spring. The buds that are emerging are especially vulnerable to sudden drops in temperature. Likewise, frosts in late Spring damage buds and stops the hydrangea from flowering.

While hydrangeas can withstand cold winter temperatures, it is the newly emerging growth that can be vulnerable in Spring. If the flower buds of hydrangeas and the new growth appears black or brown, it is the most obvious indication of damage from frost.

Hydrangeas can be found in woodlands, where the shade of the canopy gives some relief from the effects of frost and harsh weather conditions. Therefore, beware of planting them in open and windy zones that could destroy tender plant growth.


An effective method to guard the newly emerging flowers can be to resist the temptation to deadhead, and instead keep the flower heads of the previous year’s blooms in the garden.

The flower heads of the past serve as a powerful form of protection from frost and protect the buds from freezing temperatures similar to the horticultural fleece.

This improves the chances of the flowers surviving any frost that is late to ensure the hydrangeas blooms well.

For this year’s flowers the best practice is to cut back any damaged by frost with pruners since it will not regenerate.

When you trim off the damaged plant, you let more light into flower buds that have developed further down the stem . These flowers will be more likely survive frost since they are usually protected from the foliage.

Hydrangeas are prone to damage and it is likely to be restricted to the outermost stems after frost, so with a bit of patience, the buds may bloom further down the stems than at the most outer areas of the hydrangea. there may be flowers later in the summer.

(Read my article on ways to bring back the dying hydrangea).

3. Too Much Nitrogen Fertilizer (Reduce Fertilizer use)

When you use fertilizers frequently or in a high amount, it can cause the hydrangea to develop many leaves and flowers to be lost. Hydrangeas require only a balanced fertilizer that is applied in the springtime to stimulate flowers.

Every plant requires Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) to develop and bloom, however when there is an large quantity of nitrogen in the soil it results in the leaves, stems as well as the flower heads the Hydrangea to turn sappy, fragile and weak, with less flowers to display.

A weak and sluggish growth that is caused by using excessive fertilizer can also put your hydrangeas at danger of getting sick or afflicted by pests.

It is essential to ensure that the fertilizer balance is appropriate for your hydrangeas to show off their blooms.


Personally, I would recommend applying a balanced fertilizer like Miracle-gro all-purpose fertilizer granular for hydrangeas that has all the nutrients that needed by a hydrangea to bloom and grow in the correct amount.

The granular formulation releases nutrients slowly, which helps reduce the risk of applying too much fertilizer or applying it in a high amount, which is a problem that occurs frequently in other fertilizers.

If your hydrangea is displaying a lot of sappy leaves and only a few blooms, then reduce the amount of fertilizer and keep an eye out for any insect or disease infestations.

If the hydrangea has established they are typically very tough plants that can withstand a great deal of abuse and abuse, which means that the hydrangea will recover and bloom the next year, provided you use the correct fertilizer and adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

After fertilizer is applied, there is nothing that you could do in order to encourage flowering in the meantime therefore patience is needed.

It is crucial to remember that lawn fertilizers can be diluted in heavy rain and then run into garden boards where your hydrangeas and other plants are planted.

Lawn fertilizers are particularly rich in nitrogen, which can be the reason for plants that are in the boarders not blooming when there is a significant run-off after rain.

(Too many fertilizers can cause the hydrangeas to lose their appearance, but there could be several reasons for this. Check out my article on what is the reason my hydrangea’s being droopy to find the answer).

4. Not Enough Sunlight for Flowering

The best time to bloom is in the early morning sunlight, then afternoon shade in diffused light. If they are in full shade throughout the day, they will grow a lot of foliage but they do not bloom. The sun’s rays help to encourage more flowers, and the afternoon shade helps protect the hydrangea from scorching leaves.

The best time to bloom is between 4 and six hours sunlight in the morning or in dappled light beneath the canopy of a tree to give them the energy needed to flower.


The hydrangea’s shade during the day is ideal because intense sunlight and hot temperatures can cause drought stress and may scorch the leaves. So either locate a spot with morning sunlight and afternoon shade or an area with diffused light beneath the canopy of a tree that lets some sunlight to enter all day long for an best balance of sun and shade.

If your hydrangea’s not blooming, then think about whether the tree canopy has and is putting too much shade over your hydrangea , denying it the sunlight it needs to bloom.

If you do, think about cutting back some of the branches that hang over, which help to create the conditions of dappled light to achieve the equilibrium of shade and sun to encourage flowering and shield delicate leaves from scorching.

If trimming the tree’s limbs or creating more sunlight is not feasible, think about transferring the hydrangea plant to a more sunny spot in your garden.

The ideal time to transplant Hydrangeas is during the fall when the soil is warm enough to allow the roots to grow and hydrangeas don’t have to deal with the pressure of extreme temperatures, scorching sunlight and transplant shock that can occur during summer.

5. Not Enough Water Whilst the Flower Buds Develop

Hydrangeas need well-drained but always humid soil. When the root zone dry out, this can cause drought stress, which could hinder the growth of flower buds, and eventually result in your hydrangea’s flowers not appearing.

Hydrangeas are woodland plants that thrive in soil made of a variety of organic matter that holds on to water and is porous and friable restriction, which allows excessive water to evaporate rather than accumulating water within the root.

Leaves of floor also serve as an organic mulch for Hydrangea, which helps to circulate water around the roots and stop the soil from drying out.

If your hydrangea’s in a smaller pot in a sandy soil that is draining too fast or there is an absence of rain especially in Spring when the buds of the flowers are forming, this causes a hydrangea to have less growth and flowers.

The hydrangeas must be planted into a larger container or pot as larger pots have a higher capacity for soil , and will hold more water than smaller pots that are drying out too fast for hydrangeas to withstand.

Hydrangeas must plant in gardens with boards which have been prepared with plenty of organic matter (compost leaf mold, compost well-rotted manure) in the area of planting to create the ideal soil conditions and achieve the perfect balance of drainage and constant humidity, which the hydrangeas need for blooming.

If you are experiencing drought-like conditions, then give your hydrangea a large soak, preferably using a soaker hose to ensure that the soil around it is equally damp.

Spread a 2 inch blanket of mulch (leaf mold compost, well-rotted manure are all great) on the soil surface around your hydrangeas to aid in preserving water, improve the soil’s structure, and stop the sun from shining directly onto the soil, which could dry the soil out and cause the roots to heat up that can cause stress to the hydrangea.

It is important to water your hydrangeas as often as you need to ensure that the soil stays well-watered and moist. Water your hydrangeas with plenty of water to encourage good root growth, which improves the hydrangeas ‘ resistance against dry weather.

With a well-drained, evenly moist soil that has been altered by organic matter, a little sunlight, and fertile soil the hydrangea can be found in the right conditions for blooms next year.

(Read my article on what is the reason for my hydrangea dying?)

6. Hydrangea not Mature Enough To Flower

The flowers of hydrangeas are usually not blooming in the initial year following the planting because they put their time and energy in developing the root system and adapting to the new environment instead of flowering. The flowers of Hydrangeas are more prolific in the years following planting, or after they have matured for a couple of seasons in soil.

If you buy an hydrangea from an outdoor garden centre or nursery It is likely to be cultivated in a greenhouse with the best circumstances (such as controlled temperatures, lighting fertilizer, soil, and airflow) prior to the time of the sale.

It means that the hydrangea is adapted to growing under a particular and controlled set of conditions that contrast to the environment of your garden.

So, after planting, hydrangeas can be susceptible to a bit of shock after transplantation as it adjusts to the new surroundings.

The transplant shock could stop the hydrangea from flowering the first year following planting , and it is more likely to divert its attention away from flower displays to growing its roots in the newly-created garden soil.

It is crucial to take into consideration the size and the maturity of the plant. As smaller young plants invest their energy in growth especially of the roots since survival is the primary goal over the display of flowers.


If the hydrangea has been able to adjust to its surroundings and so long as it has the right conditions to grow (partial sunlight, moist, but well-draining soil, etc.) then it is expected that the hydrangea will grow after a year to a year or two, then then grow to become a bigger, more mature plant. It can then afford to show flowers next year.

It is crucial to remember that larger Hydrangeas are more likely bloom in the first year than smaller ones.

A year or two until the plant begins to mature and make sure that the hydrangea is in all the conditions needed to flourish, and it will bloom beautifully next year.

(Read my article on what is the reason my hydrangeas turning green?)

Key Takeaways:

  • Pruning the growth of last year of a hydrangea in spring removes the flowering buds. This is the main reason behind the hydrangeas to not bloom. The hydrangeas bloom on old wood and are most effective when they are not cut back annually.
  • The buds that are emerging from hydrangeas are extremely susceptible to temperatures that are cold. the late spring frost or a prolonged cold wind could cause the newly sprouted buds to brown, preventing the hydrangea’s blooms from taking place.
  • Hydrangeas don’t bloom when there is excessive nitrogen present in soil as a result of applying fertilizers too frequently or at a high level. The Hydrangeas are prolific in their green foliage , but they produce fewer flowers when there is excessive nitrogen present in soil.
  • The hydrangeas thrive naturally in woodlands in the light dappled by the canopy of trees. If the hydrangea is in complete shade, they tend to not bloom but produce abundant leaves. The hydrangea flower best they are in the morning sun, followed by shade in the afternoon or in areas of the garden that receive diffused sunlight.
  • Hydrangeas can only bloom to their maximum potential when they are mature plants established for a number of years. If the hydrangea’s size is low or has recently been transplanted, it focuses its energy on establishing its root system, and will not show flowers for the duration of a year or more.
  • The flower buds of the hydrangea’s development require a constant supply of moist soil for proper growth. If there’s a time of dry or drought-like soil during the spring or fall when buds are forming, the hydrangeas won’t show flowers until next year, and the soil conditions are favorable humid.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)