I am trying to raise ‘Bluebird’ hydrangea flowers but am not having much luck. The plants stay a light green but never bloom. I would like to know what is the best way to fertilize them and how often.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Odis: Are these hydrangeas new additions to your garden or are they established shrubs? If they are new to the garden this year, it may be that they are still becoming established and using their energy for root development and not producing blooms. If they have had time to establish roots and they have not bloomed for consecutive years, it may be a bigger issue. The yellowing foliage could be a sign of chlorosis. Chlorosis can be caused by a number of different reasons. Lack of nutrients, extreme moisture and temperature fluctuations, and iron deficiency are all possibilities. Soil pH is an important clue in solving the problem. Plants are more likely to suffer from chlorosis if the soil is alkaline. If you have not had your soil tested, you can contact your County Cooperative Extension Service. The veins typically remain green on the foliage if chlorosis is the problem. It would also explain the lack of blooms. Hydrangea ‘Bluebird’ is a moderate growing deciduous shrub. It can get 4-6 feet wide and tall at maturity. These shrubs are best planted in a space where they will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. In acidic soil they will produce blue lacecap flowers. Ideally, they should be planted in a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Each spring these shrubs can be side-dressed with compost or with any well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Overfeeding can also cause a lack of blooms. Feeding twice during the growing season will be sufficient. Avoid fertilizing during the fall since this will encourage new growth, which can be damaged by frost. This hydrangea blooms on old wood (the previous year’s growth) and if needed it should be pruned after it has finished blooming.