wife and I have a large hydrangea which used to flower well. For
the last two years it hasn't flowered at all. We feed it and cut
it back but still no flowers. Secondly, we have potted geraniums
with leaves that turn yellow and drop off, again we have fed and
sprayed them. Any ideas?
can usually rely on hydrangeas to flower each year with little trouble.
It could be because you've been cutting the plant back.
The best time to prune
the common hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is in late winter.
Cut out any dead, weak or thin shoots close to the base of the plant.
Of the strong healthy ones that are left, look for those that flowered
last year - they'll probably still have old dead flowerheads at
their tips. Prune these back to a pair of the fattest buds you can
find close to the top of the shoot. Don't cut them back too hard
or you may get no flowers the next summer. You should still have
some shoots left uncut - those that didn't flower at all last year.
Leave them well alone as they'll produce the new season's first
flowers - if you cut them back they simply won't flower.
Yellowing and dropping
of geranium leaves can be caused by any one of a variety of problems,
including rust, leaf spot, root disease or lack of nutrients.
To encourage healthy
growth, repot your plants each spring or early summer using a good
quality general potting mix. Cut the top growth back by at least
half and prune the root system when repotting.
Feed them regularly during
the growing season and, if any spotting occurs on the leaves, spray
with a fungicide such as Bravo or fungus and mildew spray. Give
them plenty of light and fresh air and don't keep the mix constantly
wet - allow it to dry out somewhat between waterings.
Gardener, Issue 139, 2004, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.