My hydrangeas have only 1 or 2 flowers on them this year, and have been late to flower. They are 4 year old plants and I haven’t treated them differently than other years. Any advice?
Firstly, have you been regularly pruning your hydrangeas at the end of the season? Pruning is critical to the health of hydrangeas and promotes new growth that is more vigorous and produces better blooms. Prune your plants back hard at the end of the season, and each successive year remove some of the older wood completely. By removing enough of the old canes, you enable new young and healthy canes to grow. When pruning, do not cut any new green shoots as they will provide the new season flowers.
Ensure you are giving your hydrangeas a deep watering 1-2 times a week, this is especially important during the summer months - don’t let them dry out. You can always tell when hydrangeas need a drink when their leaves start to droop. Give them a boost with regular mulching with compost around the base of the plant, try Daltons Compost. Finish with a good layer of Daltons Mulch & Grow on top to help maintain soil moisture and temperature. Feed your hydrangea with Daltons Premium Rose & Flower Fertiliser in early spring once the buds begin to open, and apply again a month later.
Finally, although you have had limited blooms this year, have your hydrangeas been free flowering well in previous years? If the numbers of blooms have been declining, then it may be time to look at planting new young plants. The best time to plant hydrangeas is late winter/early spring when new plants are available from plant centres. Always carefully select the best available plants, and choose ones that are young and healthy looking, with vigorous new shoots. Avoid any root bound plants.