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Hydrangeas in the tropics

Selangor, Malaysia

Last year ,I bought a pot of hydrangeas from a town on top of a hill which has an average temperature of 18-20 degrees Celsius daily, and planted it into my garden in the tropical lowlands which has an average temp of 25-30 degrees Celsius . It was flowering beautifully and when the flowers dried up, I deadheaded it.new stems grew but It has not been blooming for a year now.... Anyone knows how to force it to bloom in the tropical heat ?

Keaau, HI

Instead of trying to force it bloom, treat it well. Either place it in a much larger pot or plant it in the ground.

The biggest problem I have had with growing Hydrangea is keeping them in a pot, rootbound and causing them stress.
Too expect the plant to flower by stressing it won't work. To give the plant good conditions will work better to make it happy and want to flower.

Thumbnail by Metrosideros
Selangor, Malaysia

Thanks for the advise
, but what kind of conditions exactly ?

noonamah, Australia

Some plants grow but don't flower in lowland tropics. Often flowering is initiated by temperature changes or spikes. In lowland tropics the temperature stays evenly too high. I've never seen hydrangea grown here or even sold in any nursery. I have, however, heard of a plant referred to as "tropical hydrangea" but it is a totally different plant to what's commonly called hydrangea. Can't remember it's correct name though.

Selangor, Malaysia

Awwww :( ... Are there any ways That make hydrangeas flower here ? I don't prefer tropical hydrangeas for their blooms are very small. Does putting ice on the ground under the plant tricks it that it's cool enough to flower ?

Keaau, HI

Hydrangea macrophylla, grows well for me here at my farm at 900 ft elevation. It grows well well at my plant nursery up the hill at 1500 ft elevation. It grows well in Volcano 3000 ft elevation. It grows well down at the war memorial in Hilo at 10 ft. elevation. It flowers at any elevation. There is no trick to making them flower. Instead of trying to force them to flower in a pot, plant it in the ground and treat it well. Easy!

noonamah, Australia

But there is a big difference between lowland tropics in Selangor Malaysia and Hawaii. I tried refrigerating some plants that needed a chill to flower but it never worked. They were left in the fridge over night and back out in the light during the day. Try asking around in the local nurseries, they often know about all sorts of things people have attempted to do.

Keaau, HI

Hilo is Zone 11. Where I live is Zone 10a. Volcano is Zone 10b. Hydrangea macrophylla grows well in every Zone in Hawai'I during my 35 years of living here. It does well in a cool tropical environment. It does well in a hot tropical environment. It does not like being rootbound in a pot. This is pretty simple. Instead of trying to hold the plant in a pot, (which it doesn't like) put it in a larger pot or put it in the ground.
Hydrangea macrophylla does well in the tropics at 80 degrees F or at 60 degrees F. It does not like to be rootbound in a pot. Easy!

Selangor, Malaysia

Thanks !! , hopefully mine will bloom as soon as possible .

Keaau, HI

You're very welcome!

I feed my plants Miracle Grow, which they react to well. Not sure what might be in your area, but regular feeding with an all purpose fertilizer will give you good results.

Aloha!

noonamah, Australia

Zone 11 is barely tropical, not the hot tropics as in lowland Malaysia.

Titusville, FL(Zone 9b)

Hydrangeas are acid, shade and water loving plants.
I find when my soil is not acid enough they bloom very small, bloom green or not at all.
Try having the PH tested on your soil you may need to get the area a bit more acid to get them blooming. If there in clay, concrete, cement containers or planted to close to structures made of these materials like walls, sidewalks and the like your acidity may be to sweet since those materials leach lye into the ground.
Just a thought I would give ya

Selangor, Malaysia

Thanks for the advices :)

Selangor, Malaysia

Hi again ,
Will my hydrangea eventually bloom ,because the stems are always growing very long but not a single bloom, so I always have to prune it back to maintain its shape . Should I just let it grow long, or should I continue pruning it back ?

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

You may be cutting off the blooming branches. Try letting it go for a year without pruning.

Keaau, HI

OCCAROL is right. The bloom will form on the end of the branch. After blooming the plantwill branch out naturally.

The plant likes chicken manure, and you might try giving it a bloom promoting fertilizer.

(Zone 9a)

Your statement about the stems "growing very long" might indicate there is not enough light. Hydrangeas do not like full sun in the warmer climates but they will not bloom well in full shade either. They need dappled light or the stems will elongate reaching for the sun.

We don't know which variety of Hydrangea Lsp has; so many of the newer varieties bloom on new wood which makes them ever blooming in the right conditions and they can be pruned any time. Maybe you can identify which variety you have by checking with a nursery.

Make sure there is plenty of air circulation, they get fungal diseases easily in our humidity so it might be an issue in Malaysia also.

Which zones we live in only seems to serve as a guideline. I am in the same zone as the Pacific Northwest yet our climates and growing conditions could not be more different.

Thumbnail by ardesia
Titusville, FL(Zone 9b)

(QUOTE) Which zones we live in only seems to serve as a guideline. I am in the same zone as the Pacific Northwest yet our climates and growing conditions could not be more different.

I agree I am also in zone 9a not Miami as it states, we never get them to look like that here in Central Florida...NEVER! Fantastic pic! (green with envy) ^_^


This message was edited Mar 27, 2014 6:34 PM

(Zone 9a)

I confess, we rarely do either. For several years it was just too hot during the winter and they did not perform well at all. This year is another story and they may do very well but right now, after the freezes we had, they look terrible. .

Selangor, Malaysia

Hi ardesia,
Yes, I did say that my hydrangea stems gets long , but the location that I planted it in gets full sun in the late morning (10-11 a.m sun ) and some dappled afternoon sun . One thing about malaysian nursery owners is that they know the name of the plant, but they don't know the variety. It looked EXACTLY like the one in the pic when I first bought it when it was in bloom , but I don't know the variety ... And there was also something that I noticed, when I first bought it at cameron highlands, it was in full bloom, the leaves were glossy and dark green and all the leaves were also growing upright , but now the plant is flower less, the leaves are not glossy AT ALL and slightly lighter green and also most of the leaves are growing sideways now instead of upwards
...

Thumbnail by Lsp12345
Titusville, FL(Zone 9b)

Quote from Lsp12345 :
Hi ardesia,
Yes, I did say that my hydrangea stems gets long , but the location that I planted it in gets full sun in the late morning (10-11 a.m sun ) and some dappled afternoon sun . One thing about malaysian nursery owners is that they know the name of the plant, but they don't know the variety. It looked EXACTLY like the one in the pic when I first bought it when it was in bloom , but I don't know the variety ... And there was also something that I noticed, when I first bought it at cameron highlands, it was in full bloom, the leaves were glossy and dark green and all the leaves were also growing upright , but now the plant is flower less, the leaves are not glossy AT ALL and slightly lighter green and also most of the leaves are growing sideways now instead of upwards
...


There is a major difference in Greenhouse conditions that also include growth hormones to make it do things it normally wouldn't do and your yards growing conditions that aren't exactly premium, don't take that personal...I don't know anyone who runs around with growth hormones and keeps there plants in exact light conditions and fans if needed with regulated heating or cooling and drip irrigation or fine misters with very specific liquid foliar fertilizers on a timed basis...Not to mention the plants that you are purchasing new, are new tip cuttings recently rooted. I recently picked up plants from a hydrangea growing farm, they are grown in VERY diffused 40% light, very tall greenhouse with dry air and drip irrigation (no over head) so with all that diffused light yes the leaves would tend to grow more upward to the light and the new foliage growth you get on tip cuttings is very shiny. So see your not doing so bad. ^_^

Selangor, Malaysia

Hi FlaFlower,
Thank you very much for the advice, but when I was in the highlands of malaysia, I saw hydrangeas growing everywhere from neighborhoods to school compounds and they were full of blooms and the leaves were all dark green and glossy , could it be due to the temperature? And I also worry about the size of my hydrangrea's blooms since the size of the flowers of my other flowering plants that I purchased from the highlands is starting to get smaller ...

(Zone 9a)

Is there a local agricultural agency where you could have your soil tested? Here in the US we have extension agencies in most states where we can take a pint of soil and they will run an analysis of the nutrients and condition of the soil. There must be something similar in Malaysia. They could also offer advice on what could be causing your plant problems.

Titusville, FL(Zone 9b)

It may be the difference in growing conditions, the type of hydrangeas you purchased...there are so many variations, I do know that I purchased mine several years ago before I worked in the horticulture field as I do now and mine don't look anything like they did when I first purchased them. Mine get morning sun and not near enough acid in there diet from our florida sandy soil no matter how much I amend. When my nursery recently purchased 50 in several colors from the grower all the stems are held up by a ring on the pot to keep them standing tall, if it were not for the ring the stems would flop to the sides with the weight of the flower heads. You probably do need a good PH test to determine if you are indeed acid enough, if not it limits your acid loving plants to uptake certain nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus both are building blocks for your acid loving plants

Fredericksburg, TX

That looks like a macrophylla type hydrangea. Your temp and sun exposure sound fine. Those hydrangeas grow here in Panama in similar conditions.
I would just give it time to settle in. Keep feeding it. Plants from greenhouses are pushed to bloom. It may just need time to rest and recover.
Don't prune it. Many hydrangeas bloom on old wood, that is branches that are older.

Keaau, HI

Thanks for that carefree, I agree, be patient. I've got bushes that are 20 years old. They flower every year. They just need weeding & patience. Because of the volcanic soil, they don't need any adjustments to turn blue.

Johor, Malaysia

I cut a branch of this hydrangea from my aunt's garden in New York and brought it back to plant in the courtyard of my house in Malaysia. It grew well in a pot with nice green foliage in a shaded area with some afternoon sun. However it's been more than 2 years now and it just refuses to bloom. What can I do?

Thumbnail by Chasl77

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