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Why Is My Hydrangea Dying and How Can I Save It?

Flamboyant flowerheads! Remember?

These vivid, unique, and eye-catching hydrangeas are one of the greatest flowering houseplants of all time.

But sometimes, these resilient, moisture-loving plants can suddenly start to wilt and leave you thinking, “Why is my hydrangea dying?

Why is my hydrangea dying?
“Hydrangea drying and dying.” Image via Reddit.

If you are in the same situation, I must tell you not to worry because hydrangeas are one of the hardiest plants out there in the game.

You can quickly get them back to life if you provide them with the proper care.

Why is my hydrangea dying, you say? In today’s article, you’ll see why your hydrangea is dying and how you can save it in a few easy ways.

So, stay with me as I dive into the article.

Why Is My Hydrangea Dying? – Reasons

The main reasons for a dying hydrangea plant are:

  • Underwatering hydrangea plants.
  • Exposing hydrangea to harsh sunlight.
  • Frost damage.
  • Excessive use of fertilizers.

Why Is My Hydrangea Dying? – Solutions

Let us start with the most common mistake responsible for a dying hydrangea plant.

Underwatering Hydrangea Plants

Underwatering your potted hydrangeas might be the primary cause of why they are dying.

To ensure that your hydrangeas are not disposed to drought conditions, you must constantly check the soil moisture levels.

You can check the soil’s moisture levels using a moisture meter or a probe. Or you can feel the dampness by sticking your finger into the soil.

If you think you’ve been underwatering your hydrangea for some time and the soil remains dry most of the time — probably due to fast drainage or less frequent watering — it can be the reason why your hydrangea looks sad and droopy.

How to Fix Underwatered Hydrangea?

Most people will go straight bumping loads and loads of water to save an underwatered hydrangea, but that’s not the ideal way to do so.

“Because when your potting/soil mix is dehydrated for a long time, the soil media becomes compact and unable to absorb and retain water — which just flows through the soil — and it remains dry while you think you have watered your plant.”

On the other hand, overwatering due to waterlogging and poorly-draining soil can cause Root rot.

Check out this article to know how to diagnose and treat root rot.

So, what can you do to revive your dying hydrangea?

The best way to fix drought-stressed dying hydrangea is immersion.

You can follow these easy steps to immerse your hydrangea plants:

  • First, fill up a tub or a water saucer with 2-3 inches of water.
  • Now, place your potted plant in it.

This method works if the pot containing the plant has drainage holes through which the plant will absorb the water.

  • Leave your plant in water until it drinks all that’s available.

After that, check the soil moisture levels; the mix should be moist.

Following this method, properly water your hydrangeas because they love to be in constant moisture.

You can also watch this excellent YouTube tutorial on saving a wilted hydrangea plant.

How to bring a wilted plant back to life just in 2 hours! – YouTube

Exposing Hydrangeas to Harsh Sunlight

Your hydrangea plant can die if you place it right under direct sunlight.

Hydrangeas are plants that need bright lighting conditions to grow and bloom perfectly. But it doesn’t mean you can place them under direct and harsh sun rays — especially if it’s summer.

In summer, along with the higher rates of transpiration and lower humidity levels (resulting in decreased plant growth), direct sunlight can also burn the leaves of your hydrangea plant. Thus, giving it a dying look.

Best Lighting Conditions for Hydrangeas

In the native areas, hydrangeas grow in partial shade. It is best to provide your potted hydrangeas with bright and indirect sunlight.

“They need at least 5-6 hours of daily filtered sunlight. Morning and evening sunlight is the safest because it is naturally diffused sunlight. Therefore, make sure to use a sunshade to protect your plant from the midday sun.”

On the other hand, if you place your hydrangeas indoors, east and west-facing windows are the best choices.

You can also place your hydrangea near a south-facing window. Just move it a little away so that direct rays do not touch the foliage.

Indeed, hydrangeas can also thrive in slightly shaded areas, but if you keep them in complete shade, it can affect the flowering.

Frost Damage

An answer to “why is my hydrangea dying?” can be frost damage.

Hydrangeas are pretty cold-hardy plants, but in some areas, the night temperature usually falls below 0°C. These long and cold nights cause the plants to suffer.

According to NC State Extension, you can identify frost stress if you see leaves growing from the lower/lateral buds instead of growing on the branch tips.

How to Prevent Frost Damage

The ideal temperature range for any plant can be guessed by looking at its native regions. Wild hydrangeas are most commonly found in the mesic habitats of North Carolina.

If we look at the stats,

Temperature graph of Mesic North Carolina. - Why is my hydrangea dying?
Yearly temperature range Mesic, North Carolina. – Image via en.climate-data.org.

“We see that the temperature range is quite interesting, and we can get an idea that hydrangeas can effortlessly survive temperatures ranging from 5°C to 25°C.”

Therefore, temperatures less than 5°C (or greater than 30°C) for extended periods can have detrimental effects on your hydrangeas.

  • To prevent your plant from frost damage, you may want to move it indoors, if you currently have it outside.
  • The other thing you can do is use blankets or sheets to protect your plant from colder environments.
  • You can also apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch to prevent your hydrangea from dying due to frost.

Excessive Use of Fertilizers

Another reason for a dying hydrangea is excessive use of fertilizers and it might be an answer to “why is my hydrangea dying?”

If you excessively fertilize your hydrangea, a large number of toxic salts would build up in the soil, burning the roots and the foliage. It results in restricted growth, browning of leaf edges, and the presence of white “stuff” on the top surface of the soil.

Therefore, you must refrain from over-fertilization.

How to Fix

First, let’s talk about the fix.

“The best way to fix an ‘intoxicated’ plant is to repot it into a fresh potting mix.”

But there is another way called leaching.

You can follow these simple steps:

  • Take your plant to a place where you can pour large quantities of water.
  • Now start pouring water into the pot containing your plant.
  • Allow the water to thoroughly flow and entirely drain out of the pot.
  • Repeat the process until you don’t see any white “salts” on the soil surface.

After that, avoid fertilizing your hydrangea for 3-5 months.

“Only fertilize your hydrangea with a slow-releasing, well-balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer during spring or early summer. Fertilizing once a year is enough.”


Conclusion

With all that said, I hope you got the answer to “why is my hydrangea is dying?” If yes, let us know how if your hydrangea is getting better after the process.

To conclude the talk, I must say, you should enhance the look of your homes, offices, or gardens with the enchanting beauty of these gorgeous hydrangea plants.

It doesn’t matter where you have them; they just effortlessly steal the show and can fluently become the center of everybody’s attention.

If you liked today’s article, consider sharing it with your friends and family.

Stay safe!

Regards,

Mahad H.