Frustrated by no flowers? While an extra-cold winter could be the culprit, here's how to make sure you'll always have a gorgeous floral display.

By Sheryl Geerts
Updated February 20, 2020

The snowball hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) species of hydrangea is known for its enormous, spherical, white flower heads. These beautiful shrubs often become so covered with 10-inch blooms that it can look like a fresh blanket of snow has fallen on them, hence their common name. But occasionally these shrubs do not bloom the summer after planting, even though they survived the winter. The problem could be your soil, the growing conditions, or how you pruned. Or all of these variables together could be the reason for the lack of blooms. Follow our four steps to ensure your snowball hydrangea survives the winter and blooms in summer.

snowball hydrangea
Credit: Matthew Benson

1. Give Your Snowball Hydrangea Ideal Growing Conditions

To get the most flowers and dark green leaves, you should plant snowball hydrangea in partial sun to partial shade. While it is tolerant of many soil types, this hydrangea prefers rich, well-drained soil that stays consistently moist. This shrub will grow between three and five feet tall and blooms best with morning sun and afternoon shade, or dappled shade all day. The more morning sun it gets, the better it blooms.

2. Know Your Hydrangea's Bloom Time

This shrub usually flowers from June to September. If you have provided your snowball hydrangea with the ideal growing conditions but your plant still did not bloom, it might still be adapting to its new location and putting more energy into root growth than flower production. So be patient, you may see flowers next year. The flowers will be rounded and change from a pale green to an off-white color during the summer. The flower heads will remain attractive all summer and into the fall.

3. Check Your Plant Hardiness Zone

A snowball hydrangea thrives in Hardiness Zones 3–9. This means it can survive winter temperatures down to -40°F. If you aren't sure which Zone you live in, you can refer to the USDA Hardiness Zone map to make sure this type of hydrangea will survive in your area’s weather conditions before you buy.

4. Prune Snowball Hydrangea in Late Winter

Trimming your hydrangea at the wrong time of year can also cause a lack of flowers. Snowball hydrangea blooms on the current season’s growth, also called new wood, so pruning in late spring or early summer will remove potential flower buds. It’s best to prune your snowball hydrangea to the ground in late winter so that strong new stems will be encouraged to grow.


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