Why Do Hydrangeas Turn Brown

Your hydrangea shrubs’ blossoms appear to be withering or turning brown. No need to worry—this is merely a signal that it’s time to deadhead—remove the blossoms from the plant.

Deadheading hydrangeas doesn’t cause any damage to the plants at all. Flowering shrubs stop producing seeds when the spent blooms are removed, and instead focus their efforts on developing their roots and leaves. You will be doing your hydrangeas a favor by deadheading because this strengthens and makes plants healthier.

When your hydrangeas turn brown, what does that mean?

We hear our clients asking this question in the late summer: “Why are the blossoms on my hydrangeas fading to brown? after that “Should I remove the hydrangea blossoms that are brown? There are numerous varieties of hydrangeas, thus the reason they are browning and the solution aren’t always the same for all plants. Here are some explanations for why different hydrangeas soon turn brown, along with some images of typical (sad!) dried blossoms.

1. Heat from the midday to late afternoon sun is the main cause of the browning of mophead hydrangea flowers like Endless Summer and Nikko Blue. Mophead cultivars will quickly turn brown if they are planted in full sun or an area where they receive intense sunlight at noon. However, the flowers on those plants will continue to bloom into the fall if they are situated where the early morning, late afternoon, and evening sun shines directly on them.

2. If planted in full or midday sun, lacecap hydrangeas also turn brown very rapidly. In general, lacecaps tend to fade more quickly than other hydrangea varieties, even if certain cultivars, like Twist n’ Shout, produce fresh blossoms later in the fall. So put these in morning or evening sun and take use of them while they are still around.

3. White blossoming The hydrangea paniculata kinds develop and maintain their beauty the best in direct sunlight. Variety names like “Grandiflora,” “Limelight,” and “Pinky Winky” will turn pink as they get older, but as long as they receive adequate water during hot weather, the flowers won’t brown out.

4. If hydrangeas wilt excessively in warmer weather, they will all turn brown. In the summer heat, water these shrubs deeply every few days (hand watering is insufficiently deep); also, mulch the area surrounding plants to help soil retain moisture longer.

5. Even though daily watering of hydrangeas can prevent browning, it can still happen. When watering, try to avoid getting the leaves and flowers wet since this encourages the growth of the fungus known as leaf-spot, which will turn the leaves and flowers brown.

What to do if the blossoms on your hydrangeas are brown? Take off those toasted blossoms. Where to cut can be seen in the image below. The appearance of the plant is improved, and for reblooming kinds, it helps to encourage the development of new blooms.

Brown mophead flowers are a sign that the plant is receiving too much sunlight or that the flowers have repeatedly withered due to inadequate watering.

Even under shade, too much sun can turn lacecaps brown, and they may not live as long as other types of flowers.

The paniculata kinds of hydrangea thrive in direct sunlight, although they can turn brown if left dry between waterings or if they receive daily irrigation. In hot weather, newly planted H. paniculata may require watering every three to four days, but mature plants can go longer. Less frequently, deep water.

Cut the stem immediately below the bloom where I am pointing to avoid the flower browning, which will make it unattractive once it has.

Why are the leaves on my hydrangea curling and becoming brown?

The main cause of browning hydrangea leaves and flowers is typically excessive moisture loss from the leaves, which is greater than what the roots can absorb. Excessive wind dries out the leaves, causing them to curl and turn brown. Flowers and leaves turn brown when there is not enough moisture around the roots.

The following are the most typical causes of browning hydrangea blooms and leaves:

  • The soil must be continually moist for hydrangeas. Flowers and foliage wilt and become brown in dry soil.
  • Excessive wind dehydrates plants faster than the roots can absorb it, causing the leaves to curl and turn brown.
  • If the container is too tiny and dries out too rapidly, the blooms and foliage of potted hydrangeas become brown.
  • Hydrangea leaves and blooms can become scorched by too much sun, giving them crispy brown in appearance.
  • The edges of hydrangea leaves turn brown due to fertilizer burn.
  • Spring’s developing leaves and flower buds may become brown and mushy due to a cold spell.
  • Brown patches on hydrangea leaves may be caused by a leaf spot fungus brought on by overhead watering.

Continue reading to learn the causes of your hydrangea’s browning leaves and blossoms and how to apply the fixes.

How can a brown hydrangea be revived?

A hydrangea’s roots can be burned if too much fertilizer is used, which will likely result in the plant dying, turning brown, and drooping.

As such, hydrangeas are not heavy feeders and do not require annual feeding in the same manner as roses do, and doing so can actually be detrimental.

Hydrangeas frequently develop and flower to their full potential if they are planted in healthy soil or the soil has been modified with compost prior to planting.

The hydrangea should flourish if a 1-inch-thick layer of mulch is applied around it to assist retain moisture and supply nutrients to the soil (compost and leaf mould are ideal options).

Only in the following circumstances should fertilizer be used:

  • Planting the hydrangea in sandy soil (which is nutrient poor).
  • The hydrangea is in a pot or other container where the roots have used up all the nutrients in the soil.

In these two situations, it is recommended to use an all-purpose fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) that is applied once in the spring and is generally well-balanced.

The roots of your hydrangea can be burned by well-rotted manure, especially if it is added to the soil after planting. However, if the manure is made from poultry manure, it may contain a lot of nitrogen.

To prevent issues, I advise putting compost to the soil as a soil amendment (fresh manure is particularly harmful, always allow it to rot for a year or so before using manure on your garden).

If your hydrangea is exhibiting indications of stress as a result of being recently planted in soil that has been altered with manure, move it to a location with soil and compost, and it should recover.

Reduce the amount of fertilizer used and remove any discolored leaves or blossoms. To assist the hydrangea recover, thoroughly water it in an effort to dilute the soil’s water-soluble nitrogen.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most frequently, hydrangea deaths are caused by the soil’s lack of moisture. Because they need their soil to be continually moist, hydrangeas will droop or even die in a dry environment.
  • Drought, transplant shock, frost damage, and too much sun can all cause hydrangeas to perish.
  • If the pot base doesn’t have drainage holes, potted hydrangeas may succumb to root rot. Small containers may dry out too rapidly and limit root expansion.
  • Water hydrangeas liberally, cover them with compost mulch, and keep them out of the sun and wind to help them recover. To encourage healthy growth, remove any growth that has been sunburned or damaged by frost.

How are hydrangeas revived?

Greek words “hydor,” which means “water,” and “angos,” which means jar or vessel, combine to form the term “hydrangea.” Translation: a barrel of water! These lovely flowers that resemble pom poms require water to survive, and if they don’t get it, they wilt.

The woody stem of hydrangeas can make it challenging for the flower to obtain the water it requires. A small slice cut into the stem and an angled trim with a sharp knife help the plant absorb more water.

I used to use scissors to trim the ends of my flowers, but I’ve since moved to using a sharp knife on the advice of my friends at Byland’s. Apparently, using scissors causes the stems to be pinched, harming them and limiting their ability to absorb water.

While they were beautiful to look at when we originally built the floral arrangement for our Mother’s Day Frache Table, it didn’t take long for them to start to look very melancholy. I was able to keep them from being thrown away thanks to this simple approach, and the flowers still looked new and fresh!

Keep in mind that hydrangeas might wilt to a certain extent after which they cannot recover. The good news is that this hack is really easy to use and doesn’t call for anything complicated, so why not give it a shot?


  • A kettle or pot of water should be heated up and then left to cool gradually. It ought to be really hot right now. Fill the vase with water.
  • Cut the ends of the hydrangeas at a 45-degree angle with the sharp knife after setting them on the cutting board. Then, on the newly trimmed stem, make a tiny vertical slit running up the middle.

Do I need to remove the burned hydrangea leaves?

It’s best to wait occasionally. Waiting before pruning plants is advised since it encourages new growth from lower down on the stem.

Fresh, young growth is brittle and prone to being burned or even killed by extreme heat and a lack of water.

Even without pruning, plants will continue to grow as they attempt to recover.

Burnt leaves on trees and shrubs will be removed over the next weeks. It will appear like fall has already arrived.

Shrubs, annuals, and vegetables can all be removed fully if they are absolutely dead.

Remove a plant, and then spread a layer of organic mulch over the bare spot that is left. Replanting can be done in the fall when it will be colder and the days will be shorter.

How frequently should hydrangeas be watered?

Although the hydrangea’s leaves and flowers seem delicate, little careful care is actually needed for them. Everything you need to know about caring for hydrangeas is provided in these recommendations.

  • Over the course of the growing season, water at a rate of 1 inch per week. To promote root growth, deeply water three times each week. All varieties of hydrangeas benefit from constant moisture, but bigleaf and smooth hydrangeas need more water. To water thoroughly while keeping moisture off the flowers and leaves, use a soaker hose. Hydrangeas won’t wilt as much if they are watered early in the day on hot days.
  • To keep the soil around your hydrangeas cool and moist, add mulch. Over time, an organic mulch decomposes, supplying nutrients and enhancing soil texture.
  • Apply fertilizer according to the type of hydrangeas you have. Every variety has varied requirements and will profit from applying fertilizer at various times. A soil test is the most effective tool for determining your fertility requirements.
  • In March, May, and June, bigleaf hydrangeas require numerous mild fertilizer applications.
  • Two applications in April and June work best for oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas.
  • The only time smooth hydrangea plants require fertilizing is in the late winter.
  • By selecting cultivars with resistant characteristics, you can avoid pests and diseases. Hydrangeas can have leaf spots, bight, wilt, and powdery mildew. Although they are uncommon on hydrangeas, pests might arise when the plants are under stress. Aphids, leaf tiers, and red spider mites are examples of potential pests. Your best line of defense is to properly care for hydrangeas.

Do hydrangeas like shade or the sun?

With the ideal balance of morning sun and afternoon shade, hydrangeas flourish. Even the sun-loving Hydrangea paniculata will thrive in some shade. However, there are certain types of hydrangea that can endure complete shade.

The oakleaf hydrangea, also known as hydrangea quercifolia, is a substantial species of hydrangea that may reach heights of up to eight feet. In a shade garden, this big bush makes a beautiful backdrop. The height will provide excellent midsummer seclusion. Oakleaf hydrangeas are summer bloomers with mostly white blooms, elegant oakleaf-shaped leaves, and lovely peeling bark.

Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris is another choice for full shade. This climbing species, which has lacy, white blossoms in the summer, can reach a height of 50 feet if it is given adequate support. The foliage is a rich shade of green and would look wonderful growing up a tree trunk or covering the face of a building. It would also look lovely covering the roof of a garden shed.

Full shade cultivars require the same upkeep as partial shade. In the deeper shade, it will be especially crucial to keep the plants free of leaf litter and with excellent airflow. Water your plant once a week after it has become established. Keep a watch on the leaves, and if you notice any drooping, especially during the hot summer months, water them right away. The importance of this increases in hotter regions.

These leaves’ unique shape would be a lovely complement to Hosta leaves. The white blossoms would contrast nicely with the lighter hues of your shady blooms and provide some brilliant brightness to your shaded locations.

Shade Varieties

There are a few different hydrangea cultivars that thrive in the shade. Some types can even thrive in zones 3 (which doesn’t warm up until later in the spring), which is one of the coldest growing regions. Let’s examine some of the best shade selections!

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow queen’

The movie “Snow queen” is stunning. The flowers are stunning, as they are with all hydrangeas. These rose blush-colored blossoms appear in the middle of summer. The foliage of this plant is my favorite component. The leaves begin the season in a very deep green, gradually changing to a deep reddish bronze color, and finally finishing in that shade, offering a stunning splash of color to your fall landscape.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’

With a height ranging between 12 and 15 feet, this Oakleaf Hydrangea is one among the biggest. In the summer, this plant blooms with incredibly deep cream-colored flowers. A woodland garden would be a truly lovely place for “Alice.” This cultivar would look especially beautiful if it were grown as a bordering hedge.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

‘Annabelle’ enjoys partial shade and has some of the largest flowers in the hydrangea family (12 inches wide!). These enormous blossoms can be supported all season long by the sturdy stalks. This shrub can grow up to five feet tall and five feet broad, so give it plenty of area to expand. These enormous, all-white blossoms bloom for a long time.

In a mass planting, as a specimen shrub, or as a foundation planting, “Annabelle” would look lovely. These bushes should still be included in your cutting garden. Imagine a bunch of flowers that large! Wow!