Why Is My Potted Hydrangea Dying

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.

Can hydrangeas in pots be revived?

Hydrangeas produce beautiful, vividly colored blossoms on globe-shaped flower heads, and they are frequently presented as gifts during the spring holidays. The United States National Arboretum claims that Hydrangea macrophylla is the most widely cultivated species in the country. Hydrangeas make excellent indoor plants and may be grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6 through 8. If you received a potted hydrangea as a present, it was probably already in bloom. After the petals first fade, many people throw away their hydrangeas, but with the right care, the plant will bloom once more.

Why is the hydrangea in my planter going brown?

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 do my hydrangeas seem to be going out of style?

When a hydrangea dies, it is typically because the soil is too dry or it is exposed to too much sunshine, which causes the leaves to wilt and turn brown. Frost damage can easily affect springtime new development, turning the leaves and flower buds dark and mushy and giving them a dead aspect.

Here is a reference table listing the symptoms and most frequent causes of hydrangea death:

Continue reading to learn why your hydrangea is dying and how to apply the remedies to save it.

How can a potted hydrangea be revitalized?

The best conditions for hydrangeas to keep hydrated come from good soil preparation before planting, which includes using plenty of compost, leaf mould, or well-rotted manure to increase the soil’s ability to retain moisture before planting.

The best course of action, however, is to soak the surrounding soil with a hose for at least 10 minutes if your hydrangea is established and withering, and then cover the soil with a 1 inch layer of mulch.

Compost, leaf mold, and well-rotted manure are excellent water-holding materials for mulching, retaining soil moisture while maintaining the soil’s porous, friable structure, which is ideal for producing hydrangeas.

The plant should recover in a day or two with a good soak and liberal amount of mulch applied around it.

Hydrangeas prefer partial shade with some diffused light throughout the day because they naturally grow beneath the shade of trees.

Your hydrangea’s roots may be contending with the roots of nearby shallow-rooted species, such pine trees, for moisture.

As a remedy, you can either transplant the hydrangea or mulch it twice a year (in the spring and the fall). You can also give your hydrangea a nice soak once a week to keep it from withering.

(Read my post to find out how to cultivate hydrangeas under pine trees successfully.)

It’s crucial to place your plant in some shade or to provide the hydrangea shade after planting because they tend to wilt in broad light.

For the best combination of enough sun to stimulate flowers but not too much sun that the hydrangea is at risk of wilting, place your hydrangea in an area with morning sun followed by afternoon shade or beneath a tree for dappled light throughout the day.

(Read my article Why are my hydrangeas not flowering for solutions to a few causes of hydrangeas not showing flowers.)

To stop your hydrangea from drooping and to create better flowering circumstances, think about putting some tall trees or bushes around it to offer protection from wind, cold, and harsh light.

How frequently should you water a hydrangea in a pot?

To help maintain moisture when planting in a container outside, choose a light-colored ceramic pot. Dark colors heat up more quickly. Make sure a drainage hole is present! At least three times every week, the hydrangea needs to be thoroughly watered. Never simply water the plant in one spot; always water it all the way around the container. The pot’s bottom ought to leak water. Never leave it submerged in water because the roots will rot away.

How can I make my dead hydrangea bloom again?

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.

How can I tell if I’ve overwatered my hydrangeas?

The leaves of an overwatered hydrangea may discolor and possibly drop off too soon. Additionally, it will produce fewer and irregularly shaped buds and blooms. Additionally, a hydrangea will develop discolored, withered leaves under extreme overwatering situations.

Can you overwater a hydrangea plant in a pot?

For an additional pleasure, submerge the hydrangea once a week. Avoid overwatering the plant since if there is still water in the pot or dish, the roots could perish. Your hydrangea’s petals and leaves will start to hang carelessly.

Should I remove my hydrangea’s dark leaves?

A leaf-spot fungus may possibly be the cause of any black spots that are appearing on your hydrangea leaves. These often appear under rainy conditions, but they can also appear following excessive irrigation. Although the fungus has ugly patches, it doesn’t harm the plant or spread to neighboring plants. Adjust your irrigation to keep water off the leaves and remove the most ugly ones.

Anthracnose, a much worse problem that can really kill the shrub, may be the cause of leaves with brown or yellowish patches. Pay close attention to the stems and branches for cankers. Their appearance verifies the anthracnose infection on your hydrangea. However, keep calm. As you go, disinfect your pruners with a solution of bleach and water, and remove any diseased or dead plant parts. Mulch should also be removed and disposed of since it may contain fungus spores. Finally, employ a fungicide created especially for anthracnose.

How do you handle hydrangea leaves that have turned brown?

Whether the hydrangea is in a pot or the ground, thoroughly rinse the soil with water. Most of the salts in the soil should be eliminated as a result. Once the soil is just beginning to dry out on the surface, wait a day or two before watering the hydrangea again. After that, water the plant normally. Make sure the water drains out the bottom of the container where the hydrangea is being cultivated if necessary. This will ensure that the salts are regularly washed out (this applies to houseplants, too). After root-burn, wait until the plant looks healthy and shows signs of having a strong root system before fertilizing it again.

When do hydrangeas bloom?

The type, cultivar, planting zone, and hydrangea blooming season all affect when they bloom. The majority of hydrangeas with new growth form buds in the early summer in preparation for blooming the next spring, summer, and early fall. Hydrangeas may stop flowering in the heat of the summer in hot locations, but they will blossom again in the fall.

How do you cut back hydrangeas?

Hydrangea plants don’t require pruning if they are allowed plenty of room to develop in the garden. Only the periodic clearance of dead wood is necessary.

Do you need to deadhead hydrangeas?

Your hydrangeas will continue to bloom into the fall if you deadhead them. Hydrangeas make wonderful cut flowers, so there’s no need to wait until the flower wilts. Leave the early fall blossoms alone so they can fade naturally. In the days leading up to your freeze date, you don’t want to promote new growth.

How do you control hydrangea color?

The distinction of hydrangeas is that you can modify their color. But keep in mind that not all hydrangea varieties can change their color. H. macrophylla, a species of bigleaf hydrangea, responds to changes in soil pH. Hydrangeas can absorb aluminum thanks to a low soil pH, which gives the blossoms a lovely blue hue. Reduce the pH of your soil by mixing in sulfur or peat moss to enhance the number of blue hydrangea flowers. Throughout the growth season, you can keep amending your soil with extra aluminum sulfate. When you add ground limestone to boost the pH, pink and red blooms shine.

You may precisely modify your hydrangea color using a soil pH test. To avoid the plant from being harmed, keep the pH level below 7.5. In the fall, all hydrangeas will naturally fade regardless of the modifications you’ve made. Don’t worry, the plant will display vibrant, new blossoms once more in the spring.

Can hydrangeas grow in shade?

Although they won’t blossom in complete shade, hydrangeas prefer dappled or infrequent shade. How much sun do hydrangeas need is more important to consider than whether they love the sun or the shade. Your hydrangeas require more sunlight the further north in your garden you are. A general guideline is six hours of sunlight each day. However, southern hydrangeas can thrive with just three hours of sunlight per day.

Can hydrangeas grow in full sun?

While hydrangeas prefer morning sun, they struggle in the hot, afternoon sun. For these gorgeous creatures, partial shade in the later hours of the day is optimal.

Can you grow hydrangeas in pots?

Even if you don’t have enough room in your garden to cultivate hydrangeas, you can still enjoy these lovely blossoms by learning how to grow hydrangea in a pot. As long as you follow the fundamentals of caring for hydrangeas, the procedure is rather straightforward. Select a pot with at least an 18-inch diameter to accommodate the mature size of the particular hydrangea you are growing. In order to maintain the constant moisture level that hydrangeas demand, look for non-porous containers. Excess water will be able to adequately drain thanks to drainage holes. Consider growing dwarf hydrangeas like Buttons ‘n Bows, Mini Penny, and Little Lime.

How do you keep hydrangeas from wilting?

Morning irrigation on a regular basis can assist stop withering. Some hydrangea cultivars simply can’t stand the heat. No matter how much water you give them, they will begin to wilt in the afternoon heat. Mulch applied in layers can help soil retain moisture and stay cool. You shouldn’t be concerned if your hydrangeas bloom again once the day cools. A little midday wilting is preferable to overwatering and drowning your hydrangeas.