On one of the hydrangea plants the flower is blooming as expected whereas with the other plant only some of the buds are blooming or not blooming at the same time to give it a nice pretty look. I have attached both pictures. What is wrong with the one that is not blooming simultaneously?

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3 Answers 3


Hello: I have lots of hydrangea in my gardens and this issue was fascinating to me. The bottom photo is absolutely a lacecap flower, not a mophead, so I did some research and found this on ask.extension.org

Hydrangeas are usually propagated by cuttings so the only way they would change from mophead would be via mutation and it would be unusual for several bushes to change at the same time and all of the bushes to completely change. If you had a grafted plant that would be more likely to revert if the top were killed by cold/disease etc. then the understock could be lacecap. Soil pH and fertility shouldn't affect bloom formation but without seeing the blooms it wouldn't hurt to have a soil test done and see how you can improve the health of your plants.

  • Hi Judy, you should copy the interesting par of the content here, because links may become dead.
    – J. Chomel
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 7:06

These are two different varieties of Hydrangea - they're both H. macrophylla, but the second picture shows a lacecap variety, whereas the first shows a 'mophead' type. Lacecaps flower exactly as shown in your picture, and don't develop the full head of open flowers you see in the first picture. Guidance and images on types of hydrangea here http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/identify.html

  • They are all the same variety because I planted them. Last year they all bloomed as expected. This year is different. Not sure why.
    – JStorage
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 18:51
  • Well, whatever you think you planted last year, what you've got this year is exactly what I've said in my answer.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 21:33
  • Are you sure when you planted them last year all of the second ones flowers wernt already out ?. As if it's like mine the flowers stay on it quite a while before they start to dry out. Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 22:40
  • @bamboo I find a lot of your answers very helpful. On this one you may be factually accurate but It does not help me practically speaking. I planted these 6 years back and have been getting mopheads every year except this one and hence the question.
    – JStorage
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 4:50
  • Well that is strange, and usually, when this sort of thing happens, the explanation is genetic in some way; mutation, chimerism or the presence of two plants in one pot, one of which becomes the 'leader' so to speak, over time, with perhaps the other one dying out, without your ever realising. Does this whole plant produce lacecap flowers, all over, with no other type of flowering head?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 11:49

J. Storage, you need to check the pH. Pink means more alkaline. Blues and purples mean the correct amount of acidity this plant loves. If pH is off then you will see deficiencies in chemicals/nutrients the plant needs for normal functions. Looks like the pH is way off by the color of the flowers...pretty amazing huh! Not to mention the leaves are showing deficiency. If the pH is off some chemicals will not be available to the plant loving a different pH. Check the pH and tell us what you've used for fertilizer. Too high nitrogen coming in from possibly your lawn fertilizing could be a culprit in low reproductive growth. The leaves are saying they are unable to take up proper chemistry. When plants gets stressed? Plants will put all of their energy into reproductive growth. Lots of flowers, sickly vegetative growth. changing pink to blue Don't take the entire article as gospel okay?

And those flowers are not on the same shrub as Bamboo indicated. Those are two different hydrangeas both needing a more acidic soil. No way could they be from the same shrub, yes??

  • 3
    This does not answer my question Reg the flower formation. My question is not about the color. I have been getting pink flowers from day one and happy with that.
    – JStorage
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 20:49
  • My information is about why your hydrangeas are anemic for one and two, why so few flowers: Not enough chemistry to produce lots of flowers, that pink is a sign of improper pH making any chemicals necessary for photosynthesis to support flowers minuscule. As obvious by the pink color. And there is no way those two flowers are on the same shrub, yet they are both suffering from too high of a pH. Does that help with my answer? I don't care about the color except that that color tells me the chemistry your soil for these hydrangeas is off. We are still on the same page!
    – stormy
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 21:07
  • Can you see the leaves of your hydrangeas? They are saying the same thing as those flowers indicate.
    – stormy
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 21:08
  • 1
    @stormy At least in the UK, pink hydrangeas are certainly not "improper" or "anemic". In fact attempts at growing blue ones often turn into a mess because the flowers are a mixture of pink and blue. For the most trouble free results, you just need to choose cultivars that grow best in the soil pH that you have - pink for alkaline, blue for acid. The OP's pink ones look perfectly healthy to me - just two different varieties, whatever the OP thought he/she had planted. It's not the first time that similar looking plants have the wrong labels on them!
    – alephzero
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 23:09
  • @alephzero Bit of miscommunication here. I was talking about the leaves, the leaves of those shrubs! That shows a deficiency or a pH problem that causes deficiency. My goodness, it is true that I hate pink! My baby sister always got pink I got yellow. Yup I admit, I hate pink to this day. Crazy huh? Of course one can plant 2 different shrubs because of mislabeling! Those two shrubs make an incredible combination. My point is totally aside from aesthetics is the color tells us what the pH is doing. We know that Hydrangeas love acidity. When the color is pink that says the soil is...
    – stormy
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 1:12

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