Hi. I have a hydrangea tree in my front garden. I live in a zone 5.
There is sun in the afternoon where it’s planted. It did not flower very much this summer. I would like to prepare it well for next summer, hopefully it will bloom more.
Thank you very much
Some hydrangeas can be finicky or inconsistent when it comes to flowering. The most important factor in flowering other than genetics and general health of the plant is; the amount of sunlight, water and proper nutrients it is taking in.
From your description of afternoon sun, if that equates to at least 4 hours, that should be suffucient, less than that then this can result in bloom inconsistency or lower production. If in years past you have seen better results, the rainy weather (and accompanied cloud cover), could have been enough to lessen the sunlight to thwart flower production.
Ensuring proper nutrients can be supported by providing a flowering fertilzer, like a high potash rose food in spring, then follow with a general granular plant food in July.
This type of hydrangea produces flowers on branches that are produced the same spring (known as new wood). That means you can cut the branches back in fall, winter or in early spring. I find it’s easiest to do in spring, when you can see the new buds developing. Cut each branch back to just above a set of buds, without leaving a long stump. If you want the crown of the tree to stay compact, then cut branches back closer to the main trunk (but not all the way). If you want the crown to be larger, cut off less of each branch. Except for removing clearly dead stems or crossing branches that might rub other branches or crowd the crown, you don’t really need to prune H. paniculata at all, and it will still flower.
If you want to retain the tree form, however, do not cut off all the top branches, and avoid damage to the trunk. Occasionally, you’ll get a sprout from the base or side of a tree-pruned hydrangea, too, and these should be removed.
Here’s a link to a very good website, all about hydrangeas.
The Pee-Gee Hydrangeas can be quite spectacular, and wish you much enjoyment from it.