Question: What happened to the color on the hydrangea tree blossoms?

green blooms Sept 28 2014 on hydrangea tree in WNY
Green blooms on hydrangea tree on Sept. 28, 2014. Photo courtesy Nancy

Here’s a question from a reader:

Hi!  I have another hydrangea tree question.

My H. Paniculata Limelight is now three years old. The first two years I had large blooms that started out slightly green, changed to a bright white, then turned pink. (See the bright white blooms here.)

This year there were many smaller blooms. Some stayed green from August to the present (Oct. 7), and a few went from green to white and back to green.  I missed the bright white and pink colors.

Does anyone know why this happened?  I fertilized three times as I had done the first two years– Could that be too much nitrogen?  Perhaps I was overzealous with the fertilizer trying to make the branches more sturdy (they sagged under the weight of the blooms last year). I don’t want to make the same mistake next year.


Well, readers, can you help Nancy? If so, please leave a comment below.

half-green blooms Aug 14 2014 on hydrangea tree in WNY
Half-green blooms on hydrangea tree on Aug. 14, 2014. Photo courtesy Nancy


Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession. I interview knowledgeable people in order to provide you with great articles on

So when someone asks a question I can’t answer, I post the question and rely on my readers to share their expertise. If you have advice for Nancy, please leave a comment below. If you want to know the answer to these questions, check back later to read the comments.

Sending a question to me to post can be helpful if you’re looking for a wide range of opinions and don’t mind waiting for the answer. If you want to try this route, email the question to me at and I’ll pose it to my readers in an upcoming issue.

A more efficient route for getting your questions answered is to turn to Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension or to turn to your local garden center.

For Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, call (716) 652-5400 from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays or email them at For Chautauqua County, email your question to; call the Helpline at (716) 664-9502, ext 224, or stop in to the Ag Center, 3542 Turner Rd., Jamestown,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

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3 Comments on “Question: What happened to the color on the hydrangea tree blossoms?

  1. Hi Carol, thanks for your input! To answer your question re: fertilizer, I was hoping it would encourage stronger branches this year since last year the blooms were so heavy the whole tree sagged. The tree itself IS bigger this year, but the blooms were smaller and didn’t change color. Do you happen to know if pruning the branches back by a foot or so would create thicker, stronger branches? Thanks so much for your help!

  2. I have heard several comments from other gardeners that this year was a problem year for hydrangeas. My Little Lime was glorious. A deep pink variety I bought last year with huge blooms just had green leaves this year and didn’t bloom at all. A friend had the same thing happen. Are any varieties bi-annual? The plant is healthy, but didn’t have a bud on it.

  3. I believe that you are correct when you mentioned too much fertilizing of your hydrangeas. The only real time hydrangeas might need any fertilizer at all is if they are growing in sandy soil which doesn’t hold onto nutrients. Even then hydrangeas should be fertilized only in late winter or early spring. Why are you fertilizing them? It shouldn’t be necessary if they were planted in rich well drained soil.

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