Hydrangeas are generally hardy throughout most of the United States and make great additions to any yard. However, they can be finicky when things aren’t exactly how they want them to be.
Hydrangeas will wilt when the environment is not ideally suited to their needs, such as when the temperature is too hot. In this case, they will usually recover by the evening. Other reasons they will wilt include receiving incorrect sunlight or water and over-fertilization.
This article will explore the leading causes of wilting in hydrangeas. I will also discuss the methods for reviving a wilted hydrangea and the steps you can take to prevent wilting before it starts.
There are many different reasons why your hydrangeas might look wilted. While this plant is not known for suffering from many diseases or pests, it is sensitive to environmental stimuli. Whether it’s the temperature, the amount of water you are providing, the sunlight exposure it’s receiving, or the amount of fertilizer being applied, if something is not beneficial to your hydrangea, you’ll likely see wilting or drooping.
In the heat of the summer, it is not uncommon for hydrangeas to wilt in the daytime. Typically, the plants have perked back up when the evening hours come around. So, don’t be surprised if you know your plants have had enough water and they flop over during the day. It’s completely natural.
In the northern United States, hydrangeas can be planted in areas of full sun because of the number of overcast days. They will not be overly affected by too many hours in direct sunlight. This is not the case in the southern states, such as Georgia.
You must avoid planting in exposed sites that will become excessively hot. Otherwise, they will suffer heat shock and wilt, which is not something the plants will just bounce back from in the evening.
Most hydrangeas prefer to grow in partly shady locations; however, they still require a minimum of at least five hours of sunlight a day. They grow better and produce more abundant flowers with warm morning sun and cool afternoon shade.
The exception to this rule is the panicle hydrangea which prefers even more sunlight. When your hydrangeas do not receive enough sunlight, they will begin to wilt.
The hydrangea is a thirsty plant and requires regular watering. It prefers moist soil to grow well, so you cannot let it completely dry between waterings. An irregular watering schedule can also wreak havoc on your plant.
Most species of hydrangeas require at least one inch (2.54 cm) of water per week from a combination of manual watering and rainfall.
At the same time, too much water can harm your plant’s well-being. If the soil cannot correctly drain because it is overly irrigated, it can lead to problems, such as root rot, which will also cause your hydrangea to wilt.
It is essential to check the soil’s moisture content when you notice midday wilting during the hottest months. You do not want to mistakenly assume that your plant is suffering from dehydration when it wilts when it actually has enough water.
Many plant owners make this simple error because they do not verify that the soil is dry before giving the hydrangeas more water.
If you have applied too much fertilizer to your hydrangeas, you could have caused excessive growth. This leads to the spindly growth of stems and the massive development of flower heads. The flower heads are so large that the stems cannot support the weight, and they droop over.
With the significant causes of wilting explained, it’s time to dive into the methods of reviving your hydrangeas.
Wilted hydrangeas can be revived by reestablishing the ideal environment. You can do this by applying mulch to prevent the soil from drying out, transplanting the hydrangeas to a more ideal location, replacing the potting soil, and deep soaking the root system while wrapping the plant in plastic.
If your soil is drying out quickly, applying two inches (5.0 cm) of mulch around the base of your hydrangeas will help hold the moisture in longer. It’s also a means of preventing the sunlight from shining directly on the soil and speeding up evaporation.
Keeping the moisture in longer, it is less likely that your hydrangeas will want water, decreasing the likelihood that they will wilt.
If your hydrangeas are not getting the correct amount of sun, whether it’s too much or not enough, you can always transplant them to a more optimal location. Remember, most hydrangeas prefer warm morning sun and cool afternoon shade.
Avoid open areas that will receive hot, burning sunlight all day, severely damaging your plants. The best time for transplantation is in the spring or fall to avoid complications from the summer heat.
If you were growing your hydrangea in a pot and discovered the soil type is wrong, it’s straightforward to change it. Find soil that is well-draining but still moist. You want to ensure it will hold enough moisture to satisfy your hydrangea without staying so soggy that it causes other problems. Loam is a good choice.
As I previously mentioned, if your hydrangea has gone too long without water, it can cause it to go into a drought shock in which it collapses or wilts heavily. To combat this problem, you must thoroughly soak the roots to bring life back into the plant.
Be cautious that you do not create a soggy situation where your plant sits in standing water when you are done.
Additionally, to help move the process, you can place a tomato cage around the hydrangea and cover it with an opaque-to-transparent plastic bag. Spritz the inside of the bag with water. Leave the bag in place for approximately ten days to allow the wilted plant to return to its full self.
On the other hand, if you have overwatered your hydrangeas, stop watering them until the soil has time to dry out. You may have to examine the roots for root rot and remove any damage to ensure the plant survives.
Now that you know how to revive your hydrangea if it starts to wilt, let’s find out how to prevent the wilting before it starts.
While it’s great to know that you can revive a wilted hydrangea, learning how to prevent wilting is also essential. From your hardiness location in the United States to fertilizing at the right time, there are several considerations you can make to help ensure your hydrangeas do not wilt.
While most hydrangea types are hardy throughout the United States, some do better than others in each zone. For example, in Florida, you will get better results from bigleaf, oakleaf, and panicle hydrangeas than from smooth hydrangeas. In this case, you need heat-hardy plants that can stand up to the climate in the state.
To ensure the best results for growing hydrangeas, it’s a good idea to research which ones thrive in your hardiness zone. You want to ensure that you pick one ideal for your climate, or else you may battle wilting the entire time you have the plant.
Ensure you only plant during the appropriate seasons to prevent shock and heat stress to your hydrangeas. Ideally, you will plant in the fall, allowing your plant to prepare for the next growing season.
The second best time to plant is in the spring. Planting during the summer is less than ideal because you will expose the roots to the summer heat.
If you fertilize your hydrangeas too early, you risk developing too large flower heads that your plants’ stems cannot support. The best practice is to let the stems grow enough to support larger flowers before providing a full amount of fertilizer regularly.
When you fertilize, choose a well-balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10. When your plants are physically able to support larger blooms, you can increase the phosphorus and choose a 10-20-10.
While hydrangeas can add beautiful color to your garden, they can be finicky residents, wilting at the first sign of discomfort. It is crucial to maintain an adequate water supply while giving them the correct sun exposure.
When you have wilting problems, they are generally easy to correct through mulching, checking your watering routine, and creating a makeshift greenhouse. An even easier method is preventing wilting before it starts.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.