By: Jackie Carroll
Climbing hydrangeas have charming lacecap flowerheads made up of a disc of tiny, tightly packed flowers surrounded by a ring of larger blossoms. These lovely blossoms have an old-fashioned appeal, and when seen on a background of large, lush vines they are stunning. This article explains what to do when your climbing hydrangea fails to bloom.
Climbing hydrangea blooms in late spring and summer. After a season or two comes and goes without a bloom in sight, gardeners may become worried about their vines. Take heart, because in most cases, there is nothing wrong. These vines are notoriously slow to become established and produce their first flowers. In fact, several seasons may come without blossoms. Rest assured that they are worth the wait.
If you become concerned about your climbing hydrangea when it fails to flower, take a look at this checklist of potential problems:
A late frost can damage buds that are on the verge of opening. You may want to try providing protection when a late frost threatens. A tarp or blanket thrown over the vine is enough to protect the plant from a light frost.
Vines that run along the ground won’t bloom. Attach the vines to a strong supporting structure.
Branches that stray from the main part of the plant use energy and don’t add to the appearance of the vine. They also add lopsided weight that may pull the vine away from its supporting structure. Remove them back to a main branch so the plant can focus its energy on upward growth and flowers.
When a climbing hydrangea won’t bloom, it’s sometimes the result of too much nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen encourages hydrangeas to put on a lot of dark green foliage at the expense of flowers. One to two inches of compost applied in a layer over the soil contains all the nutrients a young hydrangea vine needs. Once it’s established and growing well, you don’t need to fertilize at all. Lawn fertilizer is high in nitrogen, so keep it away from your hydrangeas.
You’ll have a hard time getting climbing hydrangeas to bloom if you’re pruning at the wrong time of year. The best time is immediately after the blossoms begin to fade. The buds for next year’s blossoms begin to form about a month after the flowering period. If you prune late, you’ll be clipping off next year’s blooms.
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Read more about Climbing Hydrangea
Summer signals the long blooming season of the Northeast Ohio gardener’s most desirable flower, the Hydrangea! A flowering shrub by definition, Hydrangeas anchor the landscape. And, even though they’re low in maintenance, they offer massive blooms summer through fall, year after year.
At Petitti’s, you’ll find Northeast Ohio’s largest collection of cold-hardy Hydrangea plants with dozens and dozens of options ranging in color, size, and type. Get acquainted with the major families of Hydrangea below, and you’ll quickly learn which type suits your yard conditions. Then, visit Petitti Garden Centers to experience our varieties!
The lacecap flowers are once again dependably in full view. Not only are they beautiful but they are perfuming the garden. Since I have it planted in several places, its non-stop scent practically follows me around.
Climbing hydrangea flower is a lacecap form that starts creamy white and smells fabulous.
I've had this climber in my garden 5 years No blooms ever Lots of growth with last summers plentiful rain Want to prune But how and when?
Sometimes these are just reluctant to bloom, and have dry spells that can last several seasons or years. There are a few things you can do to help out, though. This article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/vines/climbing-hydrangea/climbing-hydrangea-wont-bloom.htm
I moved into my house about 4 years ago so I inherited a number of shrubs one of which is a climbing white hydrangea which produces massive flowerheads but only blooms round the edges of the flowerhead and the rest doesnt bloom at all.Any new growth is coming from old wood which is extremely gnarled.There is lots of new growth coming from all the old wood and the whole plant looks very healthy.It has had bone meal dug in round the base,granular and liquid tomato food at different times and has been checked for vine weevil.I have always allowed it to die back over the winter. I have never pruned it.it seems to me that it is using a lot of energy to produce many healthy shoots and flowerheads but doesnt seem able to bloom fully. Please can you help? Sorry I can't upload a photo.
There are varieties of hydrangea that have been developed to bloom only around the edge of the flower cluster. Sounds like you have one of these varieties.
Climbing hydrangeas require a consistent moisture level of 1" per week. Supplement rainwater to maintain this level and make sure your plants are properly watered during periods of drought
The first year it sleeps, next, it creeps, then it leaps! Be patient, kind and gentle to this plant and you will reap the rewards. Since this plant takes some time to mature, pruning should not typically be done in the first 2–3 years. However since this is a vine plant, pruning should be done after it blooms and especially if it starts growing out of control, they do tend to do that!
This plant has little to no issues with insects or disease.
Although it is drought tolerant when established, you don’t want it to work too hard for moisture. Keep it mulched with leaves, compost and such.
Climbing hydrangeas rarely need pruning unless they have completely outgrown their bounds. If you must prune it, cut it right after the flowers fade. Yes, you’re right: this plant flowers on old wood. A climbing hydrangea will start to set its buds for next year within a few short weeks of initial flowering, so any cutting back later on will reduce your flower count next year.
The one issue with this plant is as its flowers age to soft creamy white, the fragrance also fades. Yet the long-lasting flowers continue to add interest to your garden for the rest of season and through the winter. What a delight while it delivers a dependable show, year after year.
If ever there was a garden-worthy plant for shade, this is it. Get one and join the club of climbing hydrangea lovers. You can read more about this fabulous shade loving plant in my popular book, Success With Hydrangeas: A Gardener’s Guide.