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I have had my hydrangeas for 5 years and every year they seem to be doing great. Each flower blooms about one third to halfway, then stops and they never have a complete flower. Why does this happen? – Connie McKnight, London (Jackson Energy Cooperative 


Hi, Connie: Hydrangeas are a large group of plants which include many species/subspecies and hundreds of cultivars; some are more common than others. Do you know which one you are growing? Each species has different characteristics including the shape of flower it produces.

Identifying the hydrangea that you have in your garden is necessary to answer your question. You are welcome to send a picture. Do the blooms seem different than previous years or have they always bloomed this way? Does it appear that the outer parts of the flower are opening and the inner ones are not? If so, this may all be perfectly normal and you are growing a cultivar of Hydrangeamacrophylla.

The lacecap cultivars and serrata (subspecies) blooms are more flat in appearance than the more common, cone shaped or mop head flowers that we typically think of as a hydrangea bloom. The outer (sterile) petals open to attract bees while the inner (fertile) flowers are smaller and tighter. It may appear that they are just not opening but it is their own unique way of blooming. They may not be as widely available or commonly planted in the landscape but they are just as beautiful.

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