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How Can I Get My Climbing Hydrangea to Bloom?

I planted a climbing hydrangea about five years ago and it has climbed nicely up a wooden fence but refuses to bloom. It is in a spot which receives morning sun. Last year I tried pruning some of it back in an effort to force it to bloom. I've seen them grown with lovely blooms, which is what prompted me to try it. If it doesn't bloom soon it will hit the compost pile!! I've noticed that Japanese beetles seem to love it in late summer. Any help from you would be most appreciated!

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Climbing hydrangeas are something of a patience plant -- they're notorious for taking their time in getting established. I've known some gardeners who have given their plants perfect care, and it still took seven years to bloom for the first time. The good news is that once a climbing hydrangea is established, it makes up for it. 

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The vines put on wonderful growth and bloom beautifully once they get settled in your garden -- and most gardeners agree that they're worth the wait. That said, the one thing I can recommend is that if you prune it, wait until late June or early July to do so. The plants develop their flowers on last year's branches, so if you prune in fall, winter, or spring, you could cut off the buds before they have a chance to open.

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