Gardeners like to bask in the satisfaction of seeing their hard work pay off in beautiful blooms. Sometimes though, all efforts to make things grow don’t go as planned, and dreams of a lush yard are dashed.

Pretty flowers don’t flower, and greenery grows in one color and winds up brown. As explained in this video from Southern Living, hydrangeas are a favorite among home gardeners but they have their own special set of problems. The shrubs don’t always bloom into their pastel hues, and The Grumpy Gardener, Steve Bender, is here to explain why.

You may ask yourself where you went wrong because you did everything by the book. You may second guess your decision to choose the plants you did or your improvised method of planting and caring for them. But as seasoned green thumbs and green thumb wannabes know, it could be a number of things.

Here are a few:

  1. Too Much Shade

    Depending on the variety of hydrangea you’ve planted, it’s possible that yours prefers a lot more sun than full shade. Experts will tell you that they need at least 3 hours a day of sunshine, whether it’s direct or indirect.

    Do you have a canopy of trees that’s filtering too much light out? Perhaps a fence or wall? If possible, relocate your hydrangeas to a better spot so they can soak up more sun.

  2. Winter Temps

    A cold snap can kill your flower buds before they’ve even had a chance to flourish. For the old buds to sprout for your current summer season, they need to make it through the winter – especially when temps drop below 30°F.

    Steve explains that the best way to remedy this is to swap out your old varieties of hydrangea with leaf buds for newer plants available today. That works! But the other thing that you can try is to winterize your plants before the cold rolls in.

    Try covering the roots with mulch, or building a barrier with wood posts or fencing. Some gardeners have found success with using burlap as protection. Water the base of your shrub after you set up its protective covering.

Stay tuned to the Grumpy Gardener to hear his other tips on caring for hydrangeas. One of the things he keeps mentioning is new buds versus old buds. Newer varieties are able to flower on old or new wood, so get those if you can! Some hydrangea lovers recommend planting more than one variety to get the most of out of these flowers.

In terms of relocating your existing ones, it’s best to do that either in the fall or early spring, before the blooms have started to appear. To help them grow into beautiful blooms, feed them with a nutritious fertilizer, compost, or a baking soda mixture. Stir 1 tablespoon of baking soda into 2 quarts of water and water the roots.

Knowing which type of hydrangeas you have can also help you determine why they’re not flowering each season. If it’s not possible to trace that info, try some of Steve’s ideas until you find what clicks!

Do you have hydrangeas that you care for? Have you encountered problems with blooming? What’s been your best fix?