Hydrangea help?

Discussion in 'Pests, Diseases and Cures' started by RoyP, Jun 27, 2020 at 10:37 AM.

  1. RoyP

    RoyP Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +2
    What has happened to my hydrangea, 2 weeks ago it looked a fit and healthy plant, now it looks like this, any ideas as to what has happened and is there anything I can do to save it?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. southerner

    southerner Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2020
    Messages:
    18
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Carpenter
    Location:
    Surrey Kent border
    Ratings:
    +10
    Just looks massively thirsty to me, needs a real good soak and follow it up with more regular watering. Pot might be a bit small too.
     
  3. flounder

    flounder Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2020
    Messages:
    126
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Service Engineer
    Location:
    Brighton
    Ratings:
    +152
    I had a potted one go like this last year. Blocked drainage holes was the culprit for me so I pretty much drowned it.......turns out they're not liking the aquaticness as it never recovered:cry3:
     
  4. luis_pr

    luis_pr Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA; USDA Zone 7b/8a
    Ratings:
    +19
    If the drainage holes are not stopped up and the potting mix feels dry if you insert a finger to a depth of 5-7cms then it needs more water.

    When potted, if you observe an unusually bad wilting episode, consider extracting the plant from the container and dumping it in a pail full of water until it stops throwing air bubbles (about 1-2 hours). At times, when the root ball dries out too much, it starts to repel water so doing this or putting a slow drip helps the root ball absorb water again. But, if the wilting episode is not extreme, check the soil to see if it feels dry and water only if it dry or almost dry. As long as the soil is moist enough, they will perk up on their own at night.

    Hydrangeas that have been recently purchased (hint: it is the middle of the summer), will show heat stress when they lack water, when it is too windy, when they get too much sun (the pot should get morning sun until 10-11am or dappled sun; no afternoon or evening sun); when temperatures reach or exceed 29C. In the summer, watch out for surfaces that might also reflect sunlight or rocks used as mulch (not recommended). Also, watch out for competition for water by weeds and pot materials that might help the soil dry out in the summer. Finally, if the area is windy, the top 5-7cms is where the roots are located and that area can dry out fast when it is windy. In the worst of the summer, there may be instances where you feel it is necessary to water more than once a day. As long as the potting mix drains well, that is ok but you should not have to do this daily. Doing it too often increases the chances of getting root rot.

    Wilting of the leaves will happen often in the worst of the summer but, if the soil is moist enough, the leaves will recover at night on their own. However, if I see them still wilted in the morning, the soil moisture was not enough so water them right away.

    As the plant develops a larger root system, these wilting episodes will be reduced but will never be completely eliminated (especially in the summer). In year 1, I have resorted things like moving the pot to get even less sun, putting a chair on top of the plant to provide additional shade or using an umbrella to provide additional shade.

    Because it is summer, you should plan to water more or water more often. The hydrangea roots are typically in the top 5-10cms so use the finger method to see if you need to water: insert a finger to a depth of 5-7cms and water if the soil feels dry or almost dry. Never water the leaves. Only water the soil from the crown (where the stems originate from) outwards in all directions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020 at 3:13 PM
  5. RoyP

    RoyP Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +2
    Not sure that it is dehydrated, soil seems damp, have now stood pot in a container of water and a couple of days later it looks worse, really sorry for itself.
     
  6. luis_pr

    luis_pr Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA; USDA Zone 7b/8a
    Ratings:
    +19
    Can you post a new picture (get closer to the leaves this time). Continue watering using the finger method to make sure you water when the leaves need water and to make sure you are watering enough. I concur not to water if the soil feels damp.

    A few questions:

    Do the leaves ever perk up at any time? During the day, when hydrangeas loose moisture through the big leaves faster than the roots can absorb more water, the leaves wilt but they should perk up at night if the soil has enough moisture. Are the leaves perky between 6-8am and then they wilt during the day?

    Or do the leaves remain wilted always, "24/7"? Damage/injury to the roots may display itself as an inability to uptake enough water. The roots are tiny and fibrous, located on the top 10cms usually so, too much water can cause root rot, too much fertilizer can burn the tiny roots and disturbing the soil can accidentally cut the tiny roots.

    Can you describe how the leaves feel if you touch them while they are wilted? Would you say they are pliable or papery?

    What city are you in? I was going to check the current weather there.

    Thanks, RoyP. Luis
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020 at 6:19 PM
  7. RoyP

    RoyP Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +2
    A few questions:

    Do the leaves ever perk up at any time? During the day, when hydrangeas loose moisture through the big leaves faster than the roots can absorb more water, the leaves wilt but they should perk up at night if the soil has enough moisture. Are the leaves perky between 6-8am and then they wilt during the day? No

    Or do the leaves remain wilted always, "24/7"? Damage/injury to the roots may display itself as an inability to uptake enough water. The roots are tiny and fibrous, located on the top 10cms usually so, too much water can cause root rot, too much fertilizer can burn the tiny roots and disturbing the soil can accidentally cut the tiny roots.

    Can you describe how the leaves feel if you touch them while they are wilted? Would you say they are pliable or papery feel both some a dry/papery others the greener areas flexible.

    What city are you in? I was going to check the current weather there.
    Exeter, Devon, UK weather today, light rain moderate breeze, temp 18 degrees C.

    IMG_0593.JPGIMG_0594.JPG
     
  8. Sheal

    Sheal Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    30,806
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Beauly, Inverness-shire
    Ratings:
    +37,363
    Watering often will wash all the nutrients out of the soil. Has the plant been fed recently?
     
  9. Mike Allen

    Mike Allen Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,995
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired.
    Location:
    Eltham. SE. London
    Ratings:
    +3,761
    This is the plant scientist, pathologist nightmare. Unless hands on examination can be made. In so many instances it is difficult to determine, over waterer or under-watered. Added to this dilemma, your plant has a pithy core construction. Now the situation becomes even more confusing. All plants have an internal structual difference. To most gardeners this is a no go area. For most of us. The plant grows or it doesnt. How can I explain this. Plants with a pithy inner construction, are perhaps more sensitive to moisture changes, similar to a sponge. I'm afraid that for growers of such plants, treatment remains much a game of chance.

    If you can. Take a few soil samples from the soil supporting the plant. This is very important, and actually applies to watering.

    Many gardeners will get the hose out and water. Some wave the hose all over the place. This is most important. Take account of the above ground spread area. To a great extent. This will relate to the root spread, so water accordingly.

    If I may add. The misconception that a plant needs feeding. Please please cast this from your mind. A sich plant. The last thing it needs is feeding. Plants are so very much like us. So little Johnny is sick, off his food. The worst thing you can do is. Stuff him up with a sirloin steak or a steak and kidney pud. Sorry friends, but I find that fare too much emphasis is given over to plant feeding.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • luis_pr

      luis_pr Apprentice Gardener

      Joined:
      Jun 3, 2019
      Messages:
      27
      Gender:
      Male
      Location:
      Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA; USDA Zone 7b/8a
      Ratings:
      +19
      If the leaves are wilted 24/7, either the leaves received some injury or the roots have been injured (for example, they have root rot; they were "disturbed" too much when transplanted; etc) such that they cannot easily absorb and-or send water to the leaves. Since you do not think the plants have been overwatered or the roots have been disturbed, maybe something happened to the leaves.

      Looking at what can affect the leaves, I reviewed your weather in Exeter, which is typically very mild/cool. During the month of May (on the 12th or before), there were several days when it was cold enough at night to have very late frosts.

      I tend to suspect this type of injury caused the problem unless the potted plant was inside or any other place that would provide shelter from the low temperatures (greenhouse, etc). The reddish leaf color -with some green- in the leaves suggests that, while higher levels of sunlight + carbon dioxide were helping the leaves get water from the roots and send glucose back, the leaves were not producing much chlorophyll yet. The levels of anthocyanins pigments were still high enough that frost damage made some leaves turn reddish. Note: Chlorophyll eventually overpowers anthocyanins and you get those nice dark green leaf colors.

      Frost damage can also appear with a plethora of different colors... like greens, oranges and yellows indicating high levels of chlorophyll (a green pigment), xanthophylls pigments (yellow pigments) and carotenoid pigments (orange pigments).

      If chlorophyll production has "kicked in" in large enough numbers, the leaf lesions can appear dark green, almost black.

      I considered if the plant would have been injured in this way by too much fertilizer but fertilizer burn usually appears as dark brown tips on the leaves and this symptom is not present.

      To proceed, you need to continue giving the plant TLC in the form of maintaining the soil as evenly moist as you can; morning sun (until 10-11am); etc. Continue your fertilizer program as usual but remember to acidify the soil every now and then. A fertilizer for ericaceous plants like azaleas, camellias, roses, blueberries should be useful. As the plant "decides" to brown out some of these leaves (or not), you will then get a chance to remove those browned out leaves. There may be opportunistic fungal leaf infections as a result of the lesions so water the soil and never the blooms and never the leaves.

      Leaves that feel papery are desiccated and you can either cut the petiole (the string that connects the leaf to the stem) or just crush them with your hand. Leaves that brown out can also be similarly removed. Blooms can also be cut: cut the peduncle, the string that connects the bloom to the stem. Leaves that are not brown yet may be sending some food to the roots so I would wait to see if the plant browns out the leaf first.

      In the future, if late frosts are announced by the weather service, consider bringing the plant temporarily indoors or covering it with protective fabric whose weight will not cause the stem to bend or break.

      Depending on the warranty rules that the plant nursery has, you could return the plant too.

      If you want to see if the roots are ok, you will need to very carefully extricate the plant out and visually review what conditions the roots are in (do they look rotted or smell rotted for example?). But this may be rather stressful -even deathyl stressful- on the plant as you are "disturbing" the roots. When done, put the plant back in the pot.
       
      Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 1:30 AM
    Loading...

    Share This Page

    1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
      By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
      Dismiss Notice