A hydrangea that actually blooms

Written by Doug Oster on .


One of the most asked questions on my Sunday morning radio show is "why doesn't my hydrangea bloom?" Good question, the normal mophead or lacecap hydrangeas are called macrophylla and most bloom on last year’s wood. That means they put buds on right after they bloom. If the plant is pruned in the summer or spring the buds are removed and that means no flowers. If improper pruning isn't the problem, then often the buds freeze out over the winter. I've talked to protecting my plants with a burlap wall erected in September.

The other way to ensure blooms is by growing other varieties and one of my favorites is the oakleaf hydrangea pictured above. Oakleaf quercifola is a wonderful plant that has many seasons of interest. The big oak like leaves emerge in spring followed by pretty white conical blooms that fade to pink. In late fall the leaves turn deep red and after they fall the bark is exfoliating and an orange brown color.

The oakleaf hydrangea blooms every season without fail. Ironically this looks like my best year for the macrophyllas, and it's a good thing for them, I was ready to pull them out. Their pretty blossoms got them a stay of execution.

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