How to Increase Hydrangea Blooms (6 Methods)

Hydrangea Blooms

Discovering ways to enhance the quantity and duration of hydrangea flowers is crucial as they blossom from early spring or mid-summer until late summer.

If you want to boost the number of blooms on your hydrangea, then it’s recommended that you plant it in a location that receives morning sunlight but is shaded in the afternoon, maintain consistently moist soil, and use a well-balanced fertilizer during Spring. It’s important to note that hydrangeas bloom on growth from the previous year, so refrain from pruning them too frequently if you want to promote more flowers.

Conditions for Blooms:How to Increase Hydrangea Blooms:
Morning sun followed by afternoon shade or dappled light:Hydrangeas can flower less if they are planted in too much shade. Plant hydrangeas in morning sun, followed by afternoon shade or dappled light throughout the day to promote flowering.
Consistently moist soil:Hydrangeas require the soil to be consistently and evenly moist for the flower buds to develop. If the soil is too dry then this can reduce flowering significantly water as often as required so that the soil is consistently moist around the hydrangeas roots.
Avoid pruning too often:Hydrangeas flower on old wood rather then new seasons growth. If you prune back the hydrangea too hard you can remove the growth from which the flowers emerge and prevent the hydrangea from flowering.
Use a well balanced granular fertilizer:If you use fertilizer too often or in too high concentration, then the excess nitrogen can cause the hydrangea to grow lots of foliage with fewer flowers. Use a well balance granular fertilizer as it releases the nutrients slowly and has all the nutrients the hydrangea requires for flowering, at the right concentration.
Ensure the hydrangea is sheltered:Hydrangeas are woodland plants and flower for longer when they are shelter by trees or other shrubs from frost and wind which can damage the emerging flower buds.
Amend the soil with organic matter:Hydrangeas flower more in soil that has been amended with organic matter (such as compost, leaf mold or well rotted manure) before planting. Mulch around your hydrangea every Spring to create the optimal soil conditions for hydrangeas to bloom.

Continue reading to discover ways to enhance the quantity and duration of your hydrangea flowers, and also for my personal suggestion on fertilizer for hydrangeas that aids in promoting flowering…

1. Plant Hydrangeas in Morning Sun Followed by Afternoon Shade for More Blooms

Hydrangeas need a combination of sun and shade to bloom at their best.

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Everyone desires stunning hydrangea blooms, and although some hydrangeas can bloom in shady areas, the majority will produce more flowers when placed in sunshine during the morning and shade during the afternoon, or when exposed to filtered light beneath a tree’s canopy.

Plants derive energy for flowering from the early morning sun, while shade in the afternoon safeguards the delicate leaves and petals from scorching under the intense midday and afternoon sun.

For optimal growth, plant your hydrangea in a location that receives morning sunlight for 4-6 hours followed by shade in the afternoon.

Excessive sunlight can cause the leaves to become scorched and hydrangeas may experience drought stress during hot periods of the day, so full sun exposure can actually be detrimental to blooming. Therefore, it is important to find a balance between shade and sun in order to provide relief from extreme heat. (For more solutions, read my article, why is my hydrangea turning brown?)

Take into account the effect of any nearby tree cover and whether in Summer (when deciduous trees are in full leaf) it is providing too much shade for your hydrangea, which can diminish the amount and duration of blooms and trim back the canopy if needed.

But, if your hydrangea gets dappled light during the day, it mimics the usual conditions of its natural woodland habitat and can enhance the production of beautiful flowers.

The Hydrangea paniculata is the most adaptable hydrangea species, capable of thriving in both full sun and shade.

2. Ensure Soil is Consistently Moist for More Flowers

It is critical that hydrangeas have soil that is consistently and evenly moist. Insufficient moisture can impede new growth and, as a result, blossom formation and is usually the source of a wilting hydrangea (read my article, how to revive a dying hydrangea).

Hydrangea requires adequate moisture during spring when new growth is developing, making it crucial to keep them hydrated.

Provided that the soil has been adequately prepared with suitable organic matter (as mentioned in point 6) and mulch has been applied during spring, fully grown hydrangeas may not require extra watering except during periods of drought.

While adding mulch can aid in retaining soil moisture, it is crucial to regularly saturate the soil during dry spells and hot weather to ensure consistent and uniform moisture levels, as failure to do so may negatively impact the development of new buds.

If your hydrangea is less mature or has a smaller root system, it may not be as extensive as a more mature plant. Therefore, if your hydrangea is smaller or has been planted within the last two years and is not yet fully established, it is crucial to consistently water it to ensure a beautiful display of flowers.

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3. Avoid Pruning Hydrangeas Too Often-More Flower Buds

One of the common errors in hydrangea maintenance is over-trimming. The majority of hydrangeas do not need to be pruned every year since the flower buds form on older wood instead of new growth for the season.

Hydrangeas produce blooms during mid to late summer, which grow from shoots that originate from the previous year’s growth, so it is crucial not to trim them. It is recommended to restrict pruning to removing dead growth and flower heads.

Excessive pruning of hydrangea can lead to abundant foliage growth but no blooms.

Hydrangeas are durable and tough plants that typically regenerate more robustly in the next season after pruning, although it may take a year or longer for them to bloom as profusely as before.

If you need to trim your hydrangea significantly, then cut it back right after it has bloomed. This will give the plant plenty of time to grow and develop buds for the following summer’s blossoms!

If your hydrangea is too large for the space in your garden, you may need to reduce its size, but be aware that doing so may result in the plant not flowering for a year or two; however, with patience, the hydrangea should bloom well once its new growth has matured.

4. Use a Well Balanced Fertilizer to Support Flower Development

While it may be tempting to use fertilizer to enhance the appearance of our hydrangeas, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

Excessive nitrogen, present in a concentrated form as a crucial component of fertilizer, has the potential to encourage the growth of luxuriant green leaves; however, it may also restrict the blooming capacity of your hydrangeas.

A granular fertilizer that is well-balanced, such as miracle grow, is the most suitable fertilizer for hydrangeas.

Using a granular fertilizer can provide the hydrangea with a steady release of nutrients, which can help maintain the appropriate concentration of nutrients needed for optimal flowering.

Hydrangeas that are mature and have been planted in soil that has been properly prepared with compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure and regularly mulched do not require fertilizer for blooming. However, smaller or potted hydrangeas with a less extensive root system can benefit greatly from the use of fertilizer in the spring.

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5. Shelter Hydrangeas to Protect Delicate Growth

Instead of placing your hydrangea in an open and windy area of the garden, it is recommended to plant it under a canopy or near a wall, fence, or other shrubs that can provide protection from wind and frost.

Since hydrangeas are plants that grow in woodland areas, they typically thrive under protected conditions that minimize the chances of damage from frost and wind; therefore, it is advisable to recreate such an environment in your garden.

New growth and emerging flowers can be harmed by wind and frost, ultimately impacting the blooms.

It is advisable to leave the old flower heads on your hydrangea as they serve as a natural shield against winter frosts, despite their unattractive appearance.

If your hydrangea suffers from frost damage, ensure that you trim the dead parts just above the next bud located down the stem.

The flower buds located further down the stem of your plant are often better protected and can still produce blooms, unlike the buds on the outside that are more susceptible to frost damage.

6. Hydrangea Flowering- Amend the Soil with Organic Matter

Having fertile soil is crucial for achieving optimal blooms on your hydrangea. The quality of your hydrangea flowers can be significantly affected by low-quality sandy or stony soil.

For optimal blooms, it is recommended to prepare the planting area beforehand by incorporating a generous amount of organic matter such as compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure to provide the necessary soil moisture and nutrients that will enable the hydrangea to showcase its flowers.

Hydrangeas grow naturally in woodland environments with nutrient-rich soil composed of leaf litter that retains moisture well. Therefore, to ensure optimal blooming of your hydrangea, it is crucial to mimic these growing conditions.

If your garden soil contains heavy clay or sand, it is crucial to prepare the soil beforehand to establish optimal conditions for your hydrangea’s growth and blooming.

If you need to relocate your hydrangea to a spot with more fertile soil, transplant it in the spring and modify the ground up to 18 inches deep with compost leaf mold or well-rotted manure (all three help retain moisture and supply soil nutrients) to suit the root system when it reaches full size.

Getting the soil ready and adding mulch during Spring can mimic the natural habitat of hydrangeas, providing them with sufficient resources to produce their best blooms.

If you’re having difficulty getting your hydrangeas to bloom, then check out my article Why Is My Hydrangea Not Flowering for the answer.

Key takeaways:

  • Hydrangeas produce more blooms and have a longer blooming period if they are planted in a location that receives morning sunlight and afternoon shade. The morning sun provides the necessary energy to promote flowering, while the afternoon shade shields the delicate flowers and leaves from excessive heat, resulting in prolonged bloom duration.
  • Consistently moist soil is necessary for hydrangeas, especially in Spring when the flowers are emerging. Water frequently to maintain moisture levels and apply a layer of mulch at the end of Spring to retain moisture and create ideal conditions for blooming.
  • It is advisable to refrain from frequent pruning of hydrangeas since they bloom on the growth of the previous year, and excessive pruning can eliminate the growth that produces flower buds for the next year, leading to a lack of flowering.
  • To create the necessary moist soil conditions for hydrangeas to bloom, it is recommended to plant them in soil amended with compost. Additionally, it is advisable to choose a sheltered area for planting to safeguard the developing flower buds from potential damage caused by wind and frost. It is also important to note that pruning hydrangeas every year should be avoided as they flower on old wood rather than new growth.

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