General gardening topics

Why is my hydrangea not flowering

Last updated on April 8th, 2022

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Hydrangeas are beautiful plants with stunning flowers. It is the flowers that lure most people to them. But what happens when your Hydrangea stops flowering?

There are several things that can result in a lack of flowers, ranging from too much fertiliser, frost damage, or more commonly incorrect pruning. You know better than anyone what is the likely culprit, based on your maintenance habits. However, in most cases, as mentioned, it is simply an issue of pruning too much or at the wrong time of the year which results in the removal of the growth that will produce the flowers that year. 

Pruning Tips

With a Hydrangea, pruning at the wrong time can mean accidentally cutting off the wood on which your flowers are produced from. As a general rule of thumb, many Hydrangeas can go quite some time without pruning, even if they appear dead in the winter. It is best to prune rarely if you want to encourage a better show of flowers. 

You want to prune after the flower starts to fade. This should take place at the end of the summer. Shrubs that start to appear early in the summer or late springtime and then diminish around the middle of summer are shrubs that produce flowers on the growth from old wood and as such an important that you trim away earlier rather than later.

You can learn how to correctly prune a Hydrangea in this guide we have written

There are three main types of Hydrangeas:

  1. Those that produce flowers on the old growth (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  2. Those that produce flowers on new growth (Panicle Hydrangeas and Smooth Hydrangeas)
  3. The endless summer variety that produces flowers on both old and new growth

It is also worth noting that climbing Hydrangeas should be pruned after they have finished flowering in the summer.

1. Those that flower on old wood

If yours is part of this group (which is made up from the Hydrangea variety that most people have) and has the big mop head flowers, if you give it a trim, you might actually be cutting off the growth it needs to produce the flowers.

These plants should only be pruned after they have flowered, and really only be trimmed right below where the flower once stood. A common mistake people make is pruning them at the wrong time, and if you prune them in the spring, you may well be removing the stems that are going to produce the flowers that season.

2. Those that flower on new wood

If your Hydrangea is part of the second group, pruning should only take place at the beginning of spring, just before they shoot, because the plants are dormant in the autumn. These Hydrangeas can be cut back hard because they flower on new growth, almost to ground level, and this pruning often encourages bigger blooms.

3. Endless summer varieties

If yours is part of this third group and is an endless summer variety they should be pruned the same as the first group, only after flowering and only right below where a flower once was. 

The wrong pruning and your flower production go in the bin (literally). 


Too much feed can cause flowering problems

Aside from pruning issues, be aware of how much fertiliser you are using, when you are using it, and whether your particular variety of plant needs it. Actually receiving too much fertiliser can lead to a lack of flowers because it causes the plant to focus on producing foliage instead of flowers. 

Learn more about how to feed Hydrangeas in our guide here

Make sure the Hydrangea you have planted is spaced about 1.5 metres apart from others so that it has space to grow and flourish. If they are too cramped, they won’t have the space to grow healthily enough to produce their well known stunning flowers. 

By following all of these tips and ensuring you prune your variety at the correct time of the season you can bring back the blooms that you once lost.

Are your flowers green?

Check out this guide on why your Hydrangea might have green flowers

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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