Hydrangea pruning mistake to avoid that results in ‘no flowers at all’, urges gardener

Hydrangeas boast huge, vibrant clusters of blooms, which put on a show from late spring until autumn.

Known for being low maintenance, hydrangeas are a popular choice among beginner gardeners and experienced growers alike. 

But despite their reputation for being easy to care for, there are a few common mistakes home gardeners of all skill levels can make with hydrangeas. Luckily, these pitfalls are easy to prevent when you know what to look for.

Founder and editor of The Gardening Fix, Ben Hilton, has shared three of the most common mistakes to avoid – one of which results in no blooms at all.

1. Incorrect soil pH

It is typically the case that many gardeners fertilise their hydrangea expecting “show-stopping displays of flowers”, only to be disappointed. 

This is usually down to incorrect soil pH limiting the plant’s ability to effectively absorb the nutrients and transport them around the plant. 

For most hydrangea varieties, slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.2 and 6.2 is “ideal”.

For gardeners to measure their soil pH ben recommended that they use a soil test kit. If their measurement is off they should amend the soil, and then “apply a phosphorus 10-20-10 fertiliser in spring”.

2. Pruning off flowering buds

Pruning hydrangea at the wrong time of year is “the most costly mistake for sure”, claimed the gardener. 

He warned that the flowering buds are often accidentally cut off by incorrect pruning meaning “no flowers at all”.

Ben pointed out that hydrangea macrophylla and quercifolia bloom on old wood, so they “need pruning directly after flowering” in autumn.

Whereas hydrangea paniculate and arborescent bloom on new wood, so they can be pruned in late winter or early spring.

3. Underwatering 

Hydrangeas need to receive consistent moisture levels in order to “reach a successful full bloom”. 

Regular deep watering twice per week, with the application of a good layer of organic mulch, “will return fantastic blooms all summer”, claimed Ben.

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