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How to Get More Hydrangea Blooms

Blue hydrangeas blooming.

Do you dream of a garden filled with beautiful, abundant hydrangea blooms? Hydrangeas are known for their stunning clusters of flowers, but a hydrangea not blooming means no flowers for you. But there are ways to fix that.

When it comes to how to get hydrangeas to bloom, it’s all in the amount of sunlight they get, the fertilizer you use, and your plant pruning routine.

Hydrangeas are a relatively low-maintenance plant, but if you want the most hydrangea blooms for your buck, it helps to learn about what hydrangeas like best. They enjoy a spot that gets sprinkles of sunlight, prefer a high-phosphorus fertilizer, and respond well to pruning and deadheading.

How Much Sunlight Do Hydrangeas Need?

Purple and blue hydrangeas are in bloom.

Let’s start with sunlight.

When people think of hydrangeas, they likely think of big-leaf hydrangeas, which are the most popular kind. These flowering plants can handle a full blast of sunlight, but your hardiness zone matters. In cooler areas (like zones 4-6), your hydrangea will bloom just fine if exposed to full sun. If, however, you live in a warmer climate (like zones 7-9), you’ll need to find a balancing act for sun exposure.

The best way to ensure your hydrangeas bloom is to provide sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Why? Well, for the same reason you don’t want to be in the scorching sun at the hottest time of the day. That blazing heat and light can burn hydrangeas resulting in brown blooms and leaves. In fact, even if you are in zones 4-6 where full sun is okay, you should probably consider adding a bit of extra watering to the mix to be safe.

So if your hydrangeas aren’t blooming, consider replanting them elsewhere or finding a way to provide some dappled light or shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Cool Area 55% 6.5ft x10ft Sunblock Shade Cloth

A shade cloth might be just what your hydrangeas need.

Do Hydrangeas Need Fertilizer?

Hydrangea plants

Obviously, you know your hydrangeas need water, but do hydrangeas need fertilizer? The answer is yes, but they need a specific kind.

If you’ve had your hydrangeas planted for a year or more, now is the time to start fertilizing (they don’t require it before then). When looking for the best hydrangea fertilizer, you should look for slow-release options with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The fertilizer will dispense these key nutrients over the course of a few months and help increase hydrangea blooms.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that you need to be sure to use the correct amount of fertilizer and not to overfeed the plants if you’ve got an issue with hydrangeas not blooming. Follow the fertilizer’s directions to ensure you apply the right amount, and it should be added to the soil’s surface. If you use too much, there’s a chance it could make the problem worse, and you’ll end up with even fewer flowers

Watering Can for Indoor Plants, Garden, Outdoor Plants

Keep all your plants hydrated with a simple watering can.

Do You Need to Deadhead Hydrangeas?

A person holds a pair of pruning shears towards a hydrangea bloom.

Finally, you need to be sure you’re pruning or what some call deadheading your hydrangeas.

Essentially, when you deadhead a hydrangea, you cut away blooms that have begun to brown and dry out. Why, though? When you get these blooms off your shrub, you’re telling the plant it needs to stop producing seeds and focus on the root, stems, and foliage. Your hydrangeas will, in turn, become healthier and stronger. Plus, you’re getting rid of unsightly brown hydrangea blooms.

But don’t go cutting just yet. Different hydrangea varieties should be deadheaded at different times of the year. For example, big-leaf hydrangeas (one of the most popular varieties) should be pruned in spring when the first set of flower sprout. No matter your variety, though, you shouldn’t deadhead after mid-August. If you’ve done this, it might be why your hydrangeas aren’t blooming well.

3 Pack Garden Pruning Shears Stainless Steel Blades

Every gardener needs a few trustworthy pruning shears.

If you’ve been struggling with how to get more hydrangea blooms, sun, fertilizer, and pruning might be the answers to your problem. While none of them will instantly give you better blooms, it’ll make a big difference in the long run.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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