Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Get a Hydrangea Plant to Bloom

Otherwise entitled, "How My Hydrangeas Got Their Groove Back." The hydrangea is my absolute favorite plant to see in a yard, with a possible exception to a lovely rose bush. We've struggled with our bushes for several years now, so I just had to share with you all how we were finally able to get our hydrangeas to bloom!

It always starts the same way, someone will give me a hydrangea plant as a gift, or I will buy one of the beautiful, flowering ones I see at Costco. They look so lovely in our yard for a day or two, and then...nothing. 

Here's an example:


























Talk about a dud, huh? This one sits in our front flower bed by the driveway, and it sported those dead stalks and bare leaves for 3 or 4 years. I thought maybe it needed some "recovery" time after being planted, but no such luck. 

As much as I love hydrangeas, this was not a most welcoming site to come home to. And the two bushes in the rear flower bed boasted an identically pathetic look.

Before I got frustrated and just ripped the darn thing out, I decided to go to our local nursery and see what they had to say. The guys at the big box hardware stores are nice, but they usually have no idea what they're talking about. I wanted someone with real experience with plants!

My nursery suggested trying a soil test first. 

When I mentioned this to a friend, she said, "Wow! Aren't those expensive? I looked into sending our sample off once, and it was going to cost close to $40!"

As you can see by the price tag, the soil test I used cost less than $2, and took almost no time to complete!

























As you can see, our soil is designated as alkaline, and the nursery suggested adding Aluminum Sulfate to the soil around the plants:

So, last summer, I enlisted T to help me measure everything out, and we added a small amount (following the instructions on the bag!) of aluminum sulfate to our hydrangea's soil.

Wowee---what a difference!



I was so excited and pleased to see blooms on all three of my hydrangea plants this year! The one in the front yard is bursting with pink and purple blooms and the two in the back yard have blue blossoms. Too pretty!
If you have problems with your hydrangea plants, I highly recommend visiting your local nursery and seeing what they have to say. In this case, it was worth the trip for me!

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. 

25 comments:

Bonnie said...

They are absolutely beautiful Amanda!

Nadir@StitchSense said...

Stunning Amanda! Next to big beautiful peonies, hydrangeas have got to me by absolute favorite. My mom & sister have gorgeous bushes in their yard that I get clippings of & enjoy in the summer. One day when we buy a house, I'd love to have a few bushes in my own yard. :-)

Amanda said...

Wow! They look gorgeous now. Who knew that it was quch a quick fix. I would have yanked them out too and never known. Thanks for sharing! (Now I want to go test my gardens!!!)

KCoake said...

I need to do this. I have rhododendron that we planted and they have never bloomed since we bought them (at Costco!). Same thing with my mini hydrangea. Thanks for the tip. Maybe I can have some pretty in my yard!

Bugs and Sunshine said...

you are a rock star!

my little bloomless hydranges and me say thanks for this post! i know what we're doing today, my boys will be thrilled-lol!

Jen @ The Decor Scene said...

Alsp my favorite flant. We have three on our property right now. We have two that are pink/purple and one that is called "strawberries and cream" which is a nice like red wine sort of color with a little bit of cream color. Gorgeous plant for sure. So glad that yours came back now. Always worth asking at a nursery first to see if you can fix the problem. YAY for them flowering this year. Enjoy them. :)

Kim (TheMoney-Pit) said...

My poor hydrangea had been neglected for years before we bought this house and now it is all leggy and woody. I have been waiting on the blooms just to cut it back. I'm also sad because mine is a lacecap which isn't as pretty as your mophead.

Yours are beautiful.. and I am glad you figured out how to get yours to bloom!

Michaela @ coveredinmodpodge.blogspot.com said...

What a beautiful hydrangea bush! I love hydrangeas too. I can't wait to have our own place so I can plant some.

Samantha said...

I needed this post! I am going to have my 'green thumbed' husband read this. Thanks for the tips, your flowers look great.
:) Samantha

Carm said...

Beautiful. I need to do a test. I have 3 a white one, blue one and bright pink one. The white one has one bloom on it {been planted for 4 years} and the other 2 I just planted last month. The pink does have 2 blooms on it. Hope mine look as good as yours next year! Thanks for sharing!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Holy Cow! THat's amazing. And I"m kicking myself, because my hydrangea at the old house looked just like your "before" picture for three years. Oh well.

Paula said...

Aluminum Sulfate really made a difference. Your Hydrangea blooms are gorgeous!

Jess@Coxs Corner said...

Wow they are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing what you learned! Maybe now I can rid myself of the title "plant killer extraordinaire"...

Tracy K-dollarsandsensedecor.com said...

OMG! Thank you!!! Our hydrangeas look EXACTLY like your 1st pic so I showed my hubby your post. We're headed to the nursery in the morning!

Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} said...

I just need to keep a hydrangea plant alive!! I have the worst luck with them. I want to try planting one again soon so hopefully I will get to put this info to use!

nest of posies said...

your hydrangeas are gorgeous! good for you!

xo
kellie

Julie @ The Family CEO said...

I couldn't pin this post fast enough. I'll be on the lookout for the soil testing kit. My hydrangeas bloom just okay and could no doubt use a little help. I've also heard that you can manipulate the pH of your soil to get pink vs. blue blooms.

Kelli W said...

Your hydrangeas are beautiful! I love them too...that is what my bridesmaids bouquets were made from:) I think you have inspired me to go pick up a couple plants and give them a try!

Brenda said...

Beautiful! Could you tell me how much sun yours get? I just bought 3 blue blooms and want to place them in the right place.

Stacy of KSW said...

oh my goodness they are sooooo beautiful!! Hydranegas are my all time favorite flower, I had them in my wedding & my grandmother grew them everywhere growing up. I used to think she was magical because she would plant nails in the ground to make them change color. Your blooms are even prettier than the ones used in my wedding bouquet! Can't wait to plant mine now :) Thanks!

ByLightOfMoon said...

Great Tip! I love blue hydrangas too!

Smiles, Cyndi

Crazy Southern Woman said...

Thanks so much for posting this! We just bought a home that has tons of these all around. I am so scared that I may kill them!

Anonymous said...

Just found you on. Pinterest. Thanks so much for the hydrangea tips. It is exactly the advise I needed.

MelanieH said...

I had heard that you can use wet coffee grounds around the base. The acid in the coffee will do the trick too.

Anonymous said...

You are the best. Thank you for this salvation tip.

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