I bought a mophead Hydrangea last year and it was lovely. This year, it looks like a lace cap. What gives? I realize they are basically identical except for the sterility of the flowers, but I would have preferred a mophead. Am I not fertilizing enough? Do I need fewer bees hanging around?
Lacecap v. mophead hydeangeas
Can you post some pictures from last year & this year? Mopheads won't turn into lacecaps (and vice versa) regardless of how you care for them.
Both these plants belong to the same family as you know but they wont turn into other types of Hydrangea as stated above so I would suggest that there are other reasons for the changes and it could be weather conditions like sun, shade, cooler days, lack of water etc, etc, etc.
I grow several different Hydrangea's as I like the colours, the openness of the shrubs and also the spread in width as I have a large garden.
Sometimes I have to look closer to the Mop heads as the flowers as they open look a bit looser in form than they should but as the day's go on and more flowers open, they look normal again and the Lacecap look like old ladies bonnets that used to be worn when the lady was doing her cleaning chores, they also can varry in structure as they begin to open but they always right their appearance and get larger flowers as the years go by.
I like to prune my Hydrangea's early spring once I see the first leaf buds appear, I cut back to about 12-18 inches from ground and add a handful of multi purpose plant feed and a top dressing of compost, this gives the plants a feed to get them through the year and also helps give the foliage a boost which helps them fight bugs etc.
Hope this helps you out and you can worry less sbout your lovely Hydrangea's.
Good Luck, WeeNel.
Weenel, THANK YOU!
At first I suspected too much sun, but the leaves aren't burning. We have had a very cool summer, never reaching much above 70. I did buy some garden lime and plan to work it into the soil this fall (hoping that works). I'll so some more research and see about possibly replacing the hydrangea or moving it if it does this again next year. I will take photos as well, for reference.
Again, thank you!
I think your plant is a lacecap and you're just seeing variability in the amount of fertile vs sterile florets. As far as why the blooms aren't as full this year, it could just be that it's still working a bit on root development (most of my hydrangeas don't bloom really well for the first couple years they're planted...chances are when you bought it last year it already had set buds for the year and bloomed nicely, but this year was a bit slower year). Fertilizing might also help it to bloom better. The other possibility is I've noticed that hydrangeas that have been treated with growth inhibitors by the growers can sometimes have more impressive looking blooms the year you buy them, then the following year they look more like their "normal" appearance. I've found this to be especially prevalent with hydrangeas bought from the floral section of grocery stores, Home Depot, etc. But then again maybe if I fertilized mine a bit more in subsequent years they'd look more like the first year.
Your plant doesn't look unhappy, and since it's blooming and doesn't seem to be burning in the sun I probably wouldn't move it unless you really don't like it in that spot.
GAH! Darn it all. Well, I'll keep it and see how it flourishes for the next couple of years. Thanks for your advice (and yes I did get it at Home Depot). Perhaps they mislabeled it, too. I also bought a couple more for the backyard, and I'll see what strange transformation they perform next year. Thanks!