Why My Hydrangea Is Not Growing

You might have planted your hydrangeas a little bit too early in the season, which is frequently the cause of their failure to thrive. You should plant hydrangeas in the late spring or early fall, when it’s a little cooler, as they need a lot of water to establish themselves successfully in their new habitat.

As a result, your hydrangeas won’t have to struggle against the midsummer heat while trying to take root, helping them keep cool and wet and encouraging healthy growth.

The heat of the summer might stress your Hydrangea plant, resulting in reduced growth. To help the plant establish itself more successfully in your yard, you should always wait until the temperature starts to fall a little before planting your hydrangeas.

This will make it possible for your hydrangeas to develop healthily and contentedly without having to battle the heat.

Why aren’t my hydrangeas blooming more?

Nearly nothing is as showy as a hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.) in full bloom as far as blooming shrubs go. The bushes’ enormous clusters of pink, white, or baby blue blooms and thick foliage make them highly desired. Hydrangeas will flourish, thrive, and last if they are given the proper care. Failure to thrive or even death of hydrangeas is typically caused by one or more unfavorable environmental or cultural factors, many of which may be remedied.

According to Missouri Botanical Garden, shrubs are generally hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, depending on the species.


Problems with hydrangeas, such their inability to grow or bloom, may be caused by unfavorable weather conditions like frost or too much sun, or they may not be receiving enough water. They could potentially be harmed by ineffective pruning.

How can I speed up the growth of my hydrangea?

Although the hydrangea’s leaves and flowers seem delicate, little careful care is actually needed for them. Everything you need to know about caring for hydrangeas is provided in these recommendations.

  • Over the course of the growing season, water at a rate of 1 inch per week. To promote root growth, deeply water three times each week. All varieties of hydrangeas benefit from constant moisture, but bigleaf and smooth hydrangeas need more water. To water thoroughly while keeping moisture off the flowers and leaves, use a soaker hose. Hydrangeas won’t wilt as much if they are watered early in the day on hot days.
  • To keep the soil around your hydrangeas cool and moist, add mulch. Over time, an organic mulch decomposes, supplying nutrients and enhancing soil texture.
  • Apply fertilizer according to the type of hydrangeas you have. Every variety has varied requirements and will profit from applying fertilizer at various times. A soil test is the most effective tool for determining your fertility requirements.
  • In March, May, and June, bigleaf hydrangeas require numerous mild fertilizer applications.
  • Two applications in April and June work best for oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas.
  • The only time smooth hydrangea plants require fertilizing is in the late winter.
  • By selecting cultivars with resistant characteristics, you can avoid pests and diseases. Hydrangeas can have leaf spots, bight, wilt, and powdery mildew. Although they are uncommon on hydrangeas, pests might arise when the plants are under stress. Aphids, leaf tiers, and red spider mites are examples of potential pests. Your best line of defense is to properly care for hydrangeas.

How can you assist a hydrangea in need?

A hydrangea’s roots can be burned if too much fertilizer is used, which will likely result in the plant dying, turning brown, and drooping.

As such, hydrangeas are not heavy feeders and do not require annual feeding in the same manner as roses do, and doing so can actually be detrimental.

Hydrangeas frequently develop and flower to their full potential if they are planted in healthy soil or the soil has been modified with compost prior to planting.

The hydrangea should flourish if a 1-inch-thick layer of mulch is applied around it to assist retain moisture and supply nutrients to the soil (compost and leaf mould are ideal options).

Only in the following circumstances should fertilizer be used:

  • Planting the hydrangea in sandy soil (which is nutrient poor).
  • The hydrangea is in a pot or other container where the roots have used up all the nutrients in the soil.

In these two situations, it is recommended to use an all-purpose fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) that is applied once in the spring and is generally well-balanced.

The roots of your hydrangea can be burned by well-rotted manure, especially if it is added to the soil after planting. However, if the manure is made from poultry manure, it may contain a lot of nitrogen.

To prevent issues, I advise putting compost to the soil as a soil amendment (fresh manure is particularly harmful, always allow it to rot for a year or so before using manure on your garden).

If your hydrangea is exhibiting indications of stress as a result of being recently planted in soil that has been altered with manure, move it to a location with soil and compost, and it should recover.

Reduce the amount of fertilizer used and remove any discolored leaves or blossoms. To assist the hydrangea recover, thoroughly water it in an effort to dilute the soil’s water-soluble nitrogen.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most frequently, hydrangea deaths are caused by the soil’s lack of moisture. Because they need their soil to be continually moist, hydrangeas will droop or even die in a dry environment.
  • Drought, transplant shock, frost damage, and too much sun can all cause hydrangeas to perish.
  • If the pot base doesn’t have drainage holes, potted hydrangeas may succumb to root rot. Small containers may dry out too rapidly and limit root expansion.
  • Water hydrangeas liberally, cover them with compost mulch, and keep them out of the sun and wind to help them recover. To encourage healthy growth, remove any growth that has been sunburned or damaged by frost.

Do hydrangeas grow slowly?

There are a few things you need to know about hydrangeas’ growth when you grow them. So that you know exactly what to anticipate from your Hydrangeas’ growth, let’s look at these items.

Be Patient with Your Hydrangeas

You need to be patient with hydrangeas as a plant. After being planted, these plants take a while to mature and make a solid foundation for themselves in your yard. Since these plants grow slowly, you might not see much development from them, particularly in the first few years.

To better comprehend the growth you may anticipate from these plants, let’s walk through the first few years of hydrangeas’ development.

If your hydrangeas grow at all above ground when you initially acquire them and plant them in your garden, you shouldn’t anticipate seeing much growth from them. However, just because you aren’t able to observe any growth at this time doesn’t mean that no growth is taking place.

Your hydrangeas will begin to establish themselves in the first year they are in your yard by spreading out their roots and building a strong base for themselves. Because of this, it’s crucial to keep children hydrated at this time.

Your hydrangeas may begin to grow a little above the ground in the second year. If you are not paying close attention to your plant, you might not see this growth at all.

Your hydrangeas will then likely take off and exhibit amazing growth in the third year because they are still young and weak. Therefore, if your Hydrangeas are young and have not yet shown any growth, do not become alarmed as this could be typical.

If you give your hydrangeas all they require, they will be OK and start growing healthily. Therefore, never give up on your hydrangeas and practice patience.

Ensure You Know Your Hydrangeas Type

Make sure to identify the precise type of hydrangea you are cultivating if you experience problems with its growth. This is due to the fact that some hydrangeas don’t initially develop to be particularly large while others can.

So, depending on the type, if your hydrangea isn’t growing, it may have reached the maximum size it can, which is why it won’t. Make sure to purchase and plant the appropriate Hydrangeas that will grow to that height if you want yours to be large and tall.

Beware of Harsh Winters with Hydrangeas

A harsh freeze in the winter will have an impact on some hydrangeas since they are not immune to freezing temperatures. Your hydrangeas’ old wood and the new growth that is just starting to emerge just below the soil’s surface could be harmed if the temperature falls below 41F (5C).

Your plant’s general growth may be impacted, and it is possible that it won’t grow very much the next growing season. Therefore, if you are aware that your winters are unusually severe, you should provide your Hydrangeas with protection before the cold weather arrives.

How long do hydrangeas take to grow?

I’ll address some of the most typical queries about hydrangea plant care in this section. If you can’t find your response here, post it in the comments section and I’ll respond as soon as possible.

Are hydrangeas easy to care for?

Hydrangeas are indeed quite simple to maintain when given the proper growing conditions. They are resilient plants that require little maintenance and will flourish for many years.

How big do hydrangeas grow?

According to the variety. Dwarf species can grow to only a few feet tall, while larger ones can grow up to 15 feet tall. Always look at the plant tag to see the precise size that your chosen hydrangea will reach.

Can hydrangeas tolerate full sun?

In colder climes, certain hydrangeas may be able to endure a placement in full sun. To achieve the greatest results, it’s better to put them where they will receive some partial shade.

How long does it take for a hydrangea to grow to full size?

Hydrangeas take between two and four years to attain their maximum size, despite the fact that they are fast-growing shrubs. Some people mature more quickly than others.

Hydrangeas are easy to grow and are tolerant of almost any climate. The nicest aspect is that you can have a wide variety of those big, beautiful blooms all summer long because there are so many different species. Your hydrangeas will flourish for many years to come with the right care.

Does hydrangea like shade or the sun?

With the ideal balance of morning sun and afternoon shade, hydrangeas flourish. Even the sun-loving Hydrangea paniculata will thrive in some shade. Some hydrangea cultivars may survive complete shadow, though.

The oakleaf hydrangea, also known as hydrangea quercifolia, is a substantial species of hydrangea that may reach heights of up to eight feet. In a shade garden, this big bush makes a beautiful backdrop. The height will provide excellent midsummer seclusion. Oakleaf hydrangeas are summer bloomers with mostly white blooms, elegant oakleaf-shaped leaves, and lovely peeling bark.

Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris is another choice for full shade. This climbing species, which has lacy, white blossoms in the summer, can reach a height of 50 feet if it is given adequate support. The foliage is a rich shade of green and would look wonderful growing up a tree trunk or covering the face of a building. It would also look lovely covering the roof of a garden shed.

Full shade cultivars require the same upkeep as partial shade. In the deeper shade, it will be especially crucial to keep the plants free of leaf litter and with excellent airflow. Water your plant once a week after it has become established. Keep a watch on the leaves, and if you notice any drooping, especially during the hot summer months, water them right away. The importance of this increases in hotter regions.

These leaves’ unique shape would be a lovely complement to Hosta leaves. The white blossoms would contrast nicely with the lighter hues of your shady blooms and provide some brilliant brightness to your shaded locations.

Shade Varieties

There are a few different hydrangea cultivars that thrive in the shade. Some types can even thrive in zones 3 (which doesn’t warm up until later in the spring), which is one of the coldest growing regions. Let’s examine some of the best shade selections!

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow queen’

The movie “Snow queen” is stunning. The flowers are stunning, as they are with all hydrangeas. These rose blush-colored blossoms appear in the middle of summer. The foliage of this plant is my favorite component. The leaves begin the season in a very deep green, gradually changing to a deep reddish bronze color, and finally finishing in that shade, offering a stunning splash of color to your fall landscape.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’

With a height ranging between 12 and 15 feet, this Oakleaf Hydrangea is one among the biggest. In the summer, this plant blooms with incredibly deep cream-colored flowers. A woodland garden would be a truly lovely place for “Alice.” This cultivar would look especially beautiful if it were grown as a bordering hedge.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

‘Annabelle’ enjoys partial shade and has some of the largest flowers in the hydrangea family (12 inches wide!). These enormous blossoms can be supported all season long by the sturdy stalks. This shrub can grow up to five feet tall and five feet broad, so give it plenty of area to expand. These enormous, all-white blossoms bloom for a long time.

In a mass planting, as a specimen shrub, or as a foundation planting, “Annabelle” would look lovely. These bushes should still be included in your cutting garden. Imagine a bunch of flowers that large! Wow!

Which fertilizer is ideal for hydrangeas?

When purchasing fertilizer, check the labels to see how much nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium are present (K). A general-purpose, balanced fertilizer such a 10-10-10 N-P-K or 12-4-8 N-P-K is typically best for hydrangeas. Consider using a fertilizer with additional phosphorus if you want your hydrangea blossoms to be bigger and more numerous.

Since phosphorus is the middle element, fertilizer with the formula 10-20-10 will do. Choose a slow-release granular fertilizer with the designation “bloom boost” if you’re looking into it because it might also include more phosphorus.

How can I tell if I’ve overwatered my hydrangeas?

The leaves of an overwatered hydrangea may discolor and possibly drop off too soon. Additionally, it will produce fewer and irregularly shaped buds and blooms. Additionally, a hydrangea will develop discolored, withered leaves under extreme overwatering situations.

Why does my hydrangea seem to be going out of style?

When a hydrangea dies, it is typically because the soil is too dry or it is exposed to too much sunshine, which causes the leaves to wilt and turn brown. Frost damage can easily affect springtime new development, turning the leaves and flower buds dark and mushy and giving them a dead aspect.

Here is a reference table listing the symptoms and most frequent causes of hydrangea death:

Continue reading to learn why your hydrangea is dying and how to apply the remedies to save it.