Hydrangeas hate me

They do. They really, really do. I’ve mentioned this a few times over the years and this year I am determined to do something about it.

Oh yes.

Hydrangeas, of course, are one of my very favorite flowers. And of course, I can’t grow them to save my life.

Of. course.

This is the primary reason I love Trader Joes. Cheap, fluffy hydrangeas. And their salads. I like their salads too.

But I digress. I can grow some things. Cukes and tomatoes like mad. Lilies love me. Azaleas and I are likethis.


pink azaleas 

I actually need to replant or split the lilies because they are being eaten alive by the azaleas. I don’t prune my azaleas – haven’t wanted to. The one on the end there is five feet wide and at least three feet tall.

I LOVE THEM. And they love me, which is funny because I’ve heard they can be very hard to grow.  So look at me, not touching them and they are awesome. Of course.

So I can grow plants, it’s just the hydrangea bush that hates me. I’ve now tried three versions and only one has done fairly (and fairly is subjective) well. I dream of bushes like this:

blue and purple hydrangeas

Or holy cats, pick me up off the floor, these:

hydrangea garden

I have six hydrangea bushes planted around our house. I’ve tried them in all different areas over the years because I can’t find the right mix of sun/shade to make them thrive.

I have three Endless Summer varieties and most should look like this by now:

blue hydrangea bush


But instead they look like this:

 sad sad hydrangeas  

SEE? Pathetic I tell you!!

(And sorry about the weeds, we’re addressing this soon. I prefer to call them ground cover.)

The first one has been there for YEARS. Yes. Years people. It’s about five inches wide. It’s in afternoon and late afternoon sun which obviously is the worst for them.

The second one is in morning sun and I got it last year. It never bloomed but was a bit bigger than this.

The third one is doing the best, actually all the sudden. It’s been there for years as well, and has never bloomed. It’s in afternoon sun.

Do I need to mention that every. single. one. of these was a beautiful, full plant when I put it in the ground???

So I’ve tried everything but shade, and nothing has worked well for this variety.

Next up are the PeeGee trees that I got at the end of the season last year. They should look like this:


Well. Eventually.

They were blooming when I put them in the ground and did OK last fall.


Sad sad SAD. One is doing OK, I guess. One barely has any leaves on it.

They look like they need to be pruned? Do I prune them?


The only version that has done OK is the only one I’m not as excited about.

Of course.

I got a Limelight variety late last summer on HUGE clearance and it did better than the others. I got a few cuttings off of it, but it wasn’t anything to write home about:

Now this one is coming back really well, and although there are no signs of blooms yet, I’m OK with it because that just means it will get bigger:

That big plant behind it is a sunflower that came up last year (I’m assuming from our bird seed) and it’s coming back. I LOVE it so it’s staying there. :)

The Limelights are beautiful for sure, just not my favorite hydrangea:

limelight hydrangea


I prefer the blue or purpley blooms and I’ve heard the color will depend on the soil ph. I can’t even determine that because I’ve yet to get ONE bloom from my Endless Summer bushes. After at least five years of trying.

Sooo…you know I need your help. :) We are in Indiana and yes, hydrangea can grow like MAD here. I see them do well all over the place, just not at my house. I swear, last summer I went through the Arby’s drive through near us and about lost it cause they had a bajillion gorgeous fluffy hydrangea bushes that were amazing.


I see them in front of businesses, in all day sun, and they are fantastic. I see them at friend’s houses in complete shade and they are FANTASTIC.

What gives? Any suggestions? Hydrangea tricks I don’t know about? I’m trying the shady areas next. Should I prune them, cut down the old stalks? Do I prune the PeeGee trees as well?

What am I doing to make them hate me so? I am determined to make them work this summer. I will conquer the hydrangea and make them like me. Even if they hate me for it.