Is your hydrangea not blooming? Pros reveal the 5 reasons why, plus how to fix them

Fix these problems now so you can enjoy beautiful hydrangea blooms in your backyard

Three pictures of hydrangeas blooming - a cluster of green and blue hydrangeas with sunlight shining on them, pink, blue and purple hydrangeas in the middle, and a blue watering can watering purple hydrangeas
(Image credit: Getty Images / Jon Lovette / somnuk krobkum / Catherine Falls Commercial)

You don't need to worry just yet if you're peering into your backyard and can't see your hydrangea blooming.

I've asked gardening experts why it might be failing, and they all agree there are five possible problems. From poor sunlight to weak watering, they're all easy mistakes to make — but are thankfully quick to fix. 

If you're taking care of hydrangeas and can't see any colorful petals or flower heads, it's time to take some action to salvage the season's lost blooms.

The five reasons why hydrangea is not blooming in your backyard

Whether you're wondering why your hydrangeas are drooping or if they just aren't producing flowers, these tips will help you sort the problem out.

My gardening experts have recommended useful buys throughout, which I've curated from trusted retailers, as well as putting together a hydrangea care essentials to help you fix any issues.

The prices below were correct at the time of publication. 

1. Not enough sunlight

A group of green, pink, and purple hydrangeas with a bush and a sky filled with sunlight above them

(Image credit: Getty Images / Jon Lovette)

Typically, the number one reason hydrangeas don't bloom is not enough sunlight. 

“Hydrangeas require at least 6 hours of direct sun to produce flowers,” says Bob Berriz, gardening and landscaping expert at Berriz Design.

He suggests finding a spot with increased light exposure, ideally one with morning sun and afternoon shade.

2. Improper watering

A hand holding a mint green watering can that's watering a row of blue and purple hydrangeas, with a green hedge and lawn behind

(Image credit: Getty Images / Catherine Falls Commercial)

I know it can be tempting to give TLC to your hydrangea, but both over watering and under watering can stress hydrangeas and prevent blooming.

“Hydrangeas need consistent moisture but well-drained soil,” explains Tony O’Neill, gardening expert at Simplify Gardening.

Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on rainfall, and ensure the soil drains well. I recommend finding a colorful watering can, as I find having this makes it easier to spot in the backyard, and serves as a visual reminder to pick up, and water.  

The Pioneer Woman Folk Geo Metal Watering Can from Walmart has a boho pattern and can be used indoors and outdoors, for example. You can also use a soil meter to check whether a plant needs watering or not, such as the Amazon number one bestselling XLUX Soil Moisture Meter.

3. Poor nutrients

A cluster of purple, pink, and light blue hydrangeas outdoors, with dark pink flowers in front of them

(Image credit: Getty Images / somnuk krobkum)

Just like you and me, plants need the right nutrients to thrive, and a lack of these can may be why your hydrangea is not blooming.

“Fertilize your hydrangeas with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring,” Tony suggests. He advises giving high-nitrogen fertilizers a miss, as they promote leaf growth over blooms.

This is why it’s a good idea to choose ones that are flower-specific, such as the Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Bloom Booster from Amazon which gets to work quickly and is safe to use on annuals and perennials.

4. Pests

A green hydrangea flower with a green beetle on top of it and green leaves around it

(Image credit: Getty Images / iam95 / Imazins)

If you’ve learned how to identify pests and have spotted these in your yard, this could be affecting your hydrangeas and stopping them from reaching their full potential.

“Pests like spider mites, aphids, and Japanese beetles can damage new growth and buds,” says Joe Gerrior, gardening and landscaping expert at Gerrior Masonry & Landscape. “Treating the infestation early will prevent damage to buds and new growth.”

I’ve been dealing with aphids while growing vegetables in my backyard and I recommend putting dish soap and water in a spray bottle, spritzing the area, and wiping them away with kitchen towel. It's been brilliantly effective on my veg patch.

5. Incorrect pruning

A hand holding bright pink hydrangeas and a pair of black pruning shears with green leaves around it

(Image credit: Getty Images / Liudmila Chernetska)

Learning when to prune hydrangeas is an important part of making sure they thrive

“Pruning at the wrong time of year can remove the flower buds that develop on old wood,” Tony says. “For bigleaf and oakleaf hydrangeas, prune right after they bloom in the summer, while for panicle and smooth hydrangeas, prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.”

Tony adds that pruning surrounding trees and shrubs can also allow more light to reach the plant. Whenever you need to prune, make sure to use sharp pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant, and give them a clean to avoid introducing microbes or fungus to the delicate freshly-cut area.

I like the look of the Gonicc Professional Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears from Amazon, which have over 20,000 five-star reviews from shoppers who rate the ease of use and quality material and have come highly recommended by many of our gardening writers and experts at Real Homes.

Hydrangea care essentials

Listening to expert-approved advice and tackling why your hydrangea isn’t growing flowers will ensure you see pretty petals soon enough.

“Following these tips has helped many of my clients get their hydrangeas blooming beautifully again,” Joe finishes by saying.

Once you’ve solved this problem, you can start getting creative with this plant by learning how to change the color of hydrangeas.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.