Hydrangea Lime Light deformed flowers

Asked September 17, 2018, 10:28 AM EDT

Hello, My name is Liz . I have a small landscape design and maintenance business. One of my clients has some issues with their Lime Light Hydrangeas. They did not bloom on schedule. Usually, its late July/early August. There are some flowers now but they look different.

I've pruned them early spring, in April, for the past 4 years. There are about 10 of them, in a part-shade location. The one located in the most sun has some normal flowers and some deformed flowers.

I've also noticed more and more dead wood, each season, when I've come to prune, as well as some roots becoming exposed, on top of soil.

Have fertilized with 10-20-10 garden fertilizer, in the spring. Have added dirt, in the past, when I see roots coming up to surface. I'm not sure if that has helped much. Maybe there is some annual frost-heave going on there? There is bark mulch down. No barriers under mulch. Client has a hose/drip irrigation system around plants.

I've been advised to hold off pruning for a season and add a slow-release fertilizer, instead. Any ideas as to why flowers are deformed? Leaves look healthy.

Not sure if this is a disease, insect problem or a soil issue. Maybe they are getting too much shade from overhead trees?

Thank you for your time,

Dakota County Minnesota

1 Response

Your hydrangea really requires much more sun in our climate. It is trying to bloom but lacking the sunlight it needs. The soil could also be a problem. This extremely durable, long-lived plant is easy to grow. It likes full sun in cold climates, afternoon shade in warmer ones, but it does require well-drained soils that do not remain soggy for any amount of time.

To prune, simply cut back by one-third its total height every spring. If you wish, you can apply a granular fertilizer formulated for woody plants (like a rose fertilizer) at that time as well.