Hydrangea Bush Not Flowering [Causes & What to do]

Hydrangeas are some of the most beautiful flowers. So, upon finding a hydrangea bush, not flowering, a gardener can find it disheartening.

A few issues could be causing your plant not to flower. Luckily, you can try a few solutions to get your hydrangea bush blooming fully.

Reasons Why a Hydrangea Bush Might Not Flower

There are several potential reasons for a hydrangea bush not flowering. Each comes with its own solutions.


  • Irregular or harsh weather patterns could cause your hydrangea bush not to flower. The most common weather pattern which would create difficulties is cold temperatures.
  • Hydrangeas are native to Asia. However, they are highly adaptable and can grow in several locations, including North America. Despite this versatility, weather can impact hydrangeas.
  • Your hydrangea plant might struggle if you are in the middle of a cold patch or a particularly cold spring. These cold temperatures can kill the flower’s buds or stunt their growth.
  • Also, keep in mind your location’s typical weather patterns. It might be more difficult for your hydrangeas to flower in a colder state like Maine or Vermont.
  • Moreover, if you are experiencing harshly cold conditions, frost damage could negatively impact your hydrangeas.

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Improper Pruning

  • Pruning is an essential part of growing many plants, including hydrangeas. This practice is essential for several reasons:
  1. Regulating the size and shape of your plant.
  2. Removing dead or diseased branches or leaves to encourage healthier growth.
  3. Get rid of pest or animal infestations in your plant.
  • Although pruning promotes growth, it requires a balanced approach. Your hydrangea might not bloom if you prune too much or at the wrong time.
  • Should pruning be the culprit for a hydrangea not flowering, you will need to either:
  1. Change your method of pruning.
  2. Prune at a different time of year.

Method of Pruning

  • When pruning, try not to cut too far back into the old wood or growth off of old wood as these sections typically flower.
  • However, cutting into the old wood might prevent the hydrangea bush from properly flowering.
  • Some types of hydrangeas bloom on old wood, while others bloom on new wood. You must know whether your hydrangeas will flower on old or new wood.
  • You must make sure not to cut into the wrong section of wood.

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Timing of Pruning

  • So much of the art of pruning relies on timing. Whether a section of wood is old or new also depends on the time of year.
  • For example, pruning in fall, winter, or even into spring is risky. Around these seasons, you could be cutting off new buds or potential growth by pruning.

Amount of Light

  • Your hydrangeas might not bloom if they are getting too much or not enough light. The most typical cause is when hydrangeas are in a shaded area.
  • Hydrangeas can and do flower in the shade. However, they often bloom much more effectively when in reach of dappled sunlight.
  • Without enough sunlight, hydrangeas can either bloom scraggly and unhealthy or not at all. Indeed, a cloudy spring can adversely impact hydrangeas.
  • Alternatively, hydrangeas can struggle to bloom with too much sunlight. Too much light can create an environment with intense heat. That might cause your hydrangeas to dry out.
  • Keep in mind that different types of hydrangea require different amounts of sunlight.
  • To address light as an issue for hydrangeas not flowering, you will need to:
  1. Make sure to plant your hydrangea bush in a spot where it gets mixed sunlight and shade. Move the plant if necessary.
  2. Prune away some of the tree limbs that might be blocking the rest of the plant from sunlight.

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Hungry Animals

  • Sometimes, hungry animals can also pose a threat to hydrangea flowers.
  • Deer, for example, might be nibbling on the fresh growth of your hydrangea bush. They are attracted to the beautiful colors and foliage of the plant.
  • Besides new growth, deer can go after old wood. In either scenario, this would have the same effect as pruning incorrectly and preventing proper flowering.
  • Young hydrangea plants are particularly susceptible to a deer attack. Older plants can withstand the assault and might still be able to flower. Younger hydrangeas, on the other hand, might not be able to.

Telltale Signs

  • If your plant looks healthy overall but has signs of being torn or ripped at, you might be dealing with deer. While eating, deer are prone to ripping parts off of the bush.
  • Fortunately, you have several options available if deer are responsible. Your first step might be to install deer fencing.
  • Fences made from materials like netting can effectively keep deer away from your hydrangeas. Moreover, it is an easy, humane solution to implement.
  • Alternatively, create a non-toxic deer repellant. You can even use a substance as simple as soap. Deer, like many animals, hate strong scents and will stay away.
  • Your last avenue is to use plants that repel deer. Deer dislike plants like daffodils, lavender, and poppies due to toxicity. If you plant these around your hydrangea bushes, they will stay away.

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Too Much Fertilizer

Your hydrangeas may not flower if you are using too much fertilizer.

  • Fertilizer typically contains nitrogen. With too much, the soil might be too high in nitrogen for the hydrangeas to flower healthily.
  • This problem can also be caused by using a fertilizer that is high-strength. The nitrogen in fertilizer produces more foliage than flowers. Therefore, too much of it will prevent flowering.
  • If this is the source of your hydrangeas not flowering, consider the following options:
  1. Test your soil to ensure that this is the problem.
  2. Use fertilizer sparingly.
  3. Invest in a fertilizer that contains nitrogen and potassium. Nitrogen promotes foliage growth, while potassium promotes flower growth.

Not Enough Water

  • Hydrangeas require a lot of water. Your hydrangeas might suffer if the soil surrounding them is not consistently moist.
  • Some varieties must be watered every other day, particularly in hot or dry climates.
  • If they need more water, your hydrangeas’ leaves might wilt or become drooping. Drought can prevent buds from forming on your hydrangeas.

How to solve this issue:

  1. Create a watering schedule. To do this, you will need to know your specific variety of hydrangea and your climate.
  2. Water your hydrangeas more in a hot or dry climate. Water them less in a more temperate environment.
  3. Use a rain gauge to determine how much water your hydrangeas get from rain. Then, you can provide the remaining required amount.

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Transplanted Hydrangeas

  • A hydrangea plant can initially struggle when it is moved to a new area or replanted.
  • Transplant shock can temporarily prevent your hydrangeas from flowering. That occurs when a hydrangea plant is moved from a controlled environment to the outdoors.
  • The changes in temperature, light, and soil quality are the main reasons for shock.
  • Gift hydrangeas transported from a pot can also struggle for other reasons. These plants are often forced into early bloom with excess fertilizer.
  • As mentioned before, nitrogen fertilizer can stop hydrangeas from flowering. To solve this issue:
  1. Often, newly transplanted hydrangeas simply take a year or two of waiting to flower. Give it time.
  2. Be sure to provide all necessary conditions, including water, nutrients, and sunlight.

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Are Hydrangeas Easy To Grow?

  • Hydrangeas are relatively easy to grow compared to other plants and are low-maintenance. So, if you are looking to start gardening, hydrangeas might be a good plant to choose.
  • That said, hydrangeas do have specific environmental requirements to promote healthy growth. As mentioned above, several factors can impact their flowering.

Five Ways To Promote Hydrangea Flower Growth

Now that you know what might cause a hydrangea bush to not flower, here are five methods to promote growth.

1. Use a Balanced Fertilizer

As mentioned previously, hydrangeas need a balance of nitrogen and potassium to bloom. Also, consider having your soil tested to ensure they are receiving the right nutrients.

2. Prune Carefully and at the Right Time of Year

Make sure to prune during the appropriate seasons. In addition, check that you are not cutting away any flower buds or crucial growth.

As you do so, carefully remove deadheads. These can prevent proper flowering.

3. Choose a Variety of Hydrangea That Suits Your Needs and Environment

Some varieties of hydrangea plants require more or less water as well as sunlight.

4. Water Your Hydrangeas Well

Make sure that your hydrangeas are receiving an adequate amount of water. Typically, the soil surrounding the hydrangea plant should be kept moist.

Creating a regular watering schedule can help with this.

5. Add Mulch to the Area Surrounding the Hydrangeas

Adding mulch beneath the hydrangea plant can help growth. Mulch will ensure that the soil stays moist and cool.

Hydrangea Bush Not Flowering
Hydrangea Bush Not Flowering

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Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that hydrangeas typically bloom more abundantly after the first year of growth. It might not be until the following year that you see significant flowering.

If your hydrangeas are not flowering, check out factors like sunlight, water, fertilizer, and other environmental influences. If you keep up on these, your hydrangeas should flower beautifully.