Hydrangeas Stop Blooming & Pruning Roses Severely Now

Question:

My hydrangeas grow into beautiful plants each year but they do not flower. What do I need to do to encourage them to bloom? I’ve tried 0-10-10 in the past with no success and my gardener has no answers. 

Answer:

  The failure of Hydrangeas to bloom is not a fertilizer issue. For those plants planted before 2000, the primary suspect is pruning.
  • Hydrangeas bloom on the second year wood. When the bushes are pruned severely, all the flowering wood is removed. With these varieties, you only want to prune off the flowering stems each year. They are removed as far down to the ground as you can go. The rest of the plant is just shaped. It may be too late for flowers this year. Many time this is the result of an inexperienced gardening or gardener service. They can maintain grass well but their horticulture is a bit shaky. So, I’d  tell the gardener not to prune the Hydrangeas and do it yourself. In addition, the plants should flower next year, even if you trim the plants lightly this year.
  • The Endless Summer series of Hydrangeas were introduced this century. The Endless Summer Hydrangeas bloom on both old and new wood so you avoid the pruning problem with the Endless Summer series or similar series.
    • You get the wonderful flowers every year whether or not your gardener trims it at the wrong time or too vigorously. The series features both the traditional shaped Hydrangeas as well as a Lace Cap variety.

Question:

 I didn't prune my roses well enough during the winter months. I've now got some gangly stems that are being blown around in the wind. Is it safe to drastically prune the roses once the first sets of flowers are finished? 

Answer:

Sure, you can drastically cut roses back after the first, second or third blooming cycle, but you’ll need to take special precaution with the bare or naked canes after they are pruned.
  • The newer canes or growth are green in color while the mature canes are a brown color. They are very susceptible to sunburn from the direct sun. One of the purposes of the leaves is to shade the immature growth from the heat.
  • Sunburn causes the canes to turn black and they may die from it. This is not a problem during the winter months as the days are shorter, the temperatures are much cooler and on many days there is cloud cover with moisture in the air.
  • You shade the naked canes for four to six weeks by covering or draping shade cloth over the plants. Be sure to feed the roses with Rose Food to encourage the new growth. The shade cloth is removed once the new growth shades the bare canes.
  • If there is lots of foliage left after pruning, it will not be necessary to cover the plants. In addition, unseasonably cool temperatures,  plants that in the afternoon shade may reduce the need for a covering. This is a judgment call on your part.

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