Hydrangea wilting… what can be done?

March 29, 2010

I have 3 endless summer hydrangea in the front of my house (facin ne). they were doing good (coming from last years plant) and were about 1.5 inches wide. I came home from a weekend at the cabin and some of the leaves were wilted and brown. History: I added to acid loving plant spikes to all the flowers 1.5 weeks ago, I water them every other day and they were watered before I left. What happening and what can I do – Thanks in advance!

Wilt and browning are difficult to diagnose, as there are many factors that may be the cause: too much sun, wind, not enough water, to much water, etc. Hydrangeas tend to become especially stressed in hot sunny conditions, they perform best in morning sun or partially shady areas. Although hydrangeas prefer a lot of water they, like many other plants, are prone to root rot when the soil is too moist for too long. When they experience root rot, the plant tends to wilt, and in turn the gardener suspects the plant is dry and it needs to be watered, thus worsening its condition.  If you stick your finger into the surrounding soil and feel that it is damp, they do not need more water. If you suspect root rot, send me another email and I will talk you through proper care techniques. Also take into consideration that your ‘endless summer’ has a new home and its root system hasn’t had time to fully develop. When the root system is not able to supply water to the large leaves at the same pace that they are loosing it to evaporation wilt may result, but not cause browning. When hydrangeas are over watered the leaves will turn yellow followed by black edges. We have also been experiencing extreme winds around this area, if planted in an unprotected area these winds could account for browning and wilt.   Sometimes the tips or sides of the hydrangea leaves will appear to turn brown after it has suffered a dry spell or a period where the roots are not absorbing moisture well and the plant gets a good watering. This browning occurs when the leaves take up water suddenly and cells swell and burst.  Continue to follow your regular watering schedule and keep me posted.

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One Response to “Hydrangea wilting… what can be done?”

  1. Barbara D.May 20, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    If you have no flowers at all on your hydranges, I would suggest cutting them back severely in the fall. Use a nice item like Miracle Grow as soon as the weather warms up in the spring and see to it that all dead wood is removed.Make sure it is dead wood by breaking off a tip and if it is pale green inside–it is NOT dead–Dead wood is dry and brittle and brownish gray inside. Remember hydrangeas flower on OLD wood, so perhaps you cut off all of the the old wood by mistake last season. Good luck. If all else fails, buy some inexpensive new hydrangeas -replant and enjoy. Never overwater-and never overfeed. :)

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