Fertilizing Hydrangeas and evergreens:
What people are asking about, RIGHT NOW!
"I love them but I kill them." OR "They won’t bloom for me."
Hydrangeas are picky- they need compost rich soil, adequate moisture (but not too much) and the correct amount of sun. They love morning sun and afternoon shade. If you are curious about pruning your hydrangea, please determine your variety (this will tell us whether it blooms on old wood or new wood) and then call the extension or US and we will give you guidance!
No blooms usually happen when there is a late freeze (which kills buds on old wood varieties) or when someone pruned too much (this depends on variety and is TMI for right now!).
Not enough sun: 3-5 hours a day is good.
Fertilizer- high nitrogen fertilizers= lots of green leaves but no blooms. Lay off the fertilizer and do natural fish emulsion or just compost and you should get something eventually. Some people love bloom boosters with high phosphate BUT this is ecologically irresponsible as much of it washes off and into our watershed!
Favorite Hydrangea varieties: Annabelle hydrangeas, Oakleaf hydrangeas. Annabelle grow from the ground each year, so they are totally herbaceous. They form 4' tall groups. Oakleaf hydrangeas have a more woody stem and are a shrub, 5-7' H. Amazing fall color, amazing bloom. A MUST HAVE!
Do I need to fertilize my evergreens?
Fertilize now if: they are new (in the last couple years) or the new growth is small, slow. Or if you think your evergreen may be in an adverse situation (Clay soil for Blue Spruces).
Fertilize now- early April until midsummer is the ideal time to fertilize. Whenever the plant is pushing new green growth is time to fertilize. Not later… new growth won’t have time to harden off before cold weather hits.
What kind? Go for a fertilizer with higher N (Nitrogen) amounts. N P K (Nitrogen for green growth), Phosphorus (for roots and bloom) and K for potassium (for generating and processing nutrients).
How? Get granular (time release capsules). They are more efficient than spikes.
How much? Figure, generally how much ground (square feet) your shrub or tree covers. Length multiplied by width (a 5’ wide shrub would cover 25 square feet). Read the directions carefully for the amount for your square footage.