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Hydrangeas: Hydrangeas not blooming and leaves are brown-help!

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Forum: HydrangeasReplies: 29, Views: 171
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edhjennifer
El Dorado Hills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 14, 2009
9:57 PM

Post #6819630

HELP! My hydrangeas aren't blooming and the leaves have turned brown. There are about 5 different hydrangea plants that had flowers and were doing very well until it started getting very hot (over 100 degrees). They're in a spot that gets direct morning sun-until 2:00pm. The leaves look like they burned on several of the plants and one plant has a few leaves that are almost white. I don't understand the reason all of these were doing well in late spring and now look dead...I also put black wood chips around them about 2 months ago.
The other side of my garden also has hydrangeas but the leaves are fine. The problem with these hydrangeas is that they aren't blooming. These get filtered sunlight (they aren't in direct sunlight like the hydrangeas on the other side). The ground around all of them feels moist-not too wet & not too dry.
Can anyone help? I'm nervous that these are going to die. If anyone can provide any suggestions I'd appreciate it. Thank you!
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 15, 2009
1:22 AM

Post #6820398

Sounds like too much sun, they need a fair amount of shade if you're going to have hot temperatures like that. Your symptoms sound exactly like what happens when you have them in a location that's too sunny and then the weather gets hot. They can fool you into thinking they're OK there by looking great during the spring when the weather's nice, but then they shrivel up and die during the summer. I have a very similar location where I decided to experiment with a couple of them this year since I really don't have enough shady areas in my garden, and they did exactly the same thing.

For the ones that are shadier but not blooming--how many years have they been in the ground and when do you prune them? Hydrangeas that are in shade that's too deep won't bloom well, but I have one that gets no direct sun at all, just bright filtered light for a few hours in the morning and it blooms just fine. If they're fairly new (just planted this year or even last year) then that could be why they haven't bloomed. It's not at all unusual for shrubs to not bloom the year you plant them and some are even a little slower than that. As far as pruning--if they're ones that bloom on old wood and you're pruning them in the fall/winter/early spring then you're cutting off the branches that would have had blooms.
bookreader451
Troy, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 15, 2009
10:53 AM

Post #6821566

I have a hydrangea in my front yard that gets direct afternoon sun and it does wilt in the summer. I used the suggestion from another thread and leave 2 gallons of water to slow drip daily. When I get home from work I water again and it perks up again. Hydrangea in direct sun need a lot of water.

I have the rest in morning sun and they never get heat wilt.

Just to give you encouragment I have 4 new hydrangea planted this year theat have not budded or bloomed. They are healthy in every other way so I am not worried. I could have bought budded plants but I think that it is healthier for the plant to get established then bloom.

Feed the hydrangea this fall and then again in the spring (I use hollytone) and they should be fine next year. As long as you are getting new growth and the leaves are healthy the plant is not stressed just taking its time.

Lily_love

Lily_love
Central, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 15, 2009
1:23 PM

Post #6821889

The keys to success with hydrangeas, the macrophylla types especially, are; 1. dappled shade. 2. Acidic soil. And the 3rd element time. The longer they're established the better they become. Mine macrophylla hydrangeas bloomed in early spring and were most beautiful this year.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 15, 2009
1:41 PM

Post #6821939

There's a big difference between hydrangeas that wilt in the sun and ones that are actually crisping up and getting sunburned and frying in the sun. If they're just wilting it's usually a manageable issue and you can leave them where they are, but when they are crispy and frying then they need to be moved to an area with more shade. The hotter your summers, the less sun they can handle, so in the northeast there are people who can grow them in full sun, but in the south & west they can't handle nearly that much. They can't handle sun until 2 PM where I am, and summers in El Dorado Hills are a bit warmer than they are here so I think they definitely need to be moved to a new spot.
edhjennifer
El Dorado Hills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 15, 2009
8:42 PM

Post #6823653

Thank you to all for the suggestions! I think I'm going to move these hydrangeas- I just don't know when to do it? Do I wait until it's cooler?

Thanks, Jennifer
edhjennifer
El Dorado Hills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 15, 2009
9:05 PM

Post #6823760

I forgot to ask one more question: is there any way that I can provide shade for the hydrangeas that are getting too much sun? Is there some sort of 'shade' screen that can provide shade for a plant? Thank you in advance for any recommendations.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 16, 2009
12:56 AM

Post #6824605

When you have a choice in the matter, planting and transplanting are always best off done during cooler seasons. But there's a very good chance your hydrangeas won't survive the summer where they are now, so you either need to move them now or rig up some shade for them. For shade you can use a patio umbrella or rig up some sort of trellis type thing with some fabric/shade cloth attached. I'd take a look at what you have around the house and chances are you can rig something up without having to spend a lot of money.

Lily_love

Lily_love
Central, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 16, 2009
12:59 AM

Post #6824619

Agreed with above suggestions. While providing shade, remember to keep the plant well irrigated. Misting them at interval helps also. Good lucks, and enjoy.
Tex68
Long Branch, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 16, 2009
3:20 AM

Post #6825187

I'm in the Northeast so I'm lucky my hydrangeas can tolerate full sun.
I made a division from a huge matured clump last spring as they were getting crowded and planted it in direct sun also. The division is also a huge clump by itself and I was not able to get a good root ball. I used cheap BURLAP to shade the plant as we were having 90 degrees days last spring.

This is what it looks like now:

Thumbnail by Tex68
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Tex68
Long Branch, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 16, 2009
9:08 PM

Post #6827899

By the way, you mentioned leaves turning brown AND WHITE. Could it be you have brown spots and WHITE MILDEW on that particular hydrangea. Mildew can cause discoloration on leaves. If it looks whitish and grayish then you definitely have mildew problem.

Brown FUNGAL spots on leaves can also be mistaken as leaves being burnt by too much sun. If they are brown spots or halos all over the leaves, then it's a fungal infection.
Jiny
Tokyo
Japan
(Zone 10a)

July 17, 2009
12:13 AM

Post #6828524

My Tex that's a real nice one, I'm going to divide one of mine. Is spring the best time? I was thinking of doing it in October, Good point about fungal spots, the treatment would be rather different than for scorching.
edhjenifer, could you post a photo?

pajonica
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 17, 2009
12:26 AM

Post #6828590

My hydrangea leaves get white patches when they're sunburned from being in too much sun, so that's what I figured the white was. Should be easy to tell though from looking at the leaves whether it's that or mildew.
Tex68
Long Branch, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 17, 2009
12:32 AM

Post #6828600

Pajonica - you can always divide in Spring or Fall. But I think it will be less stressful for the plant to be divided while it's stll dormant. In my opinion, spring is a better time to do it and let the plant get established the whole growing season for the winter.

Yeah - I think she have a fungal and mildew problem on her (edhjennifer) hydrangea(s) rather than too much sun exposure. She said they only get morning sun exposure and she didn't mentioned they were wilting. Water/rain on leaves against the sun on a hot - humid day can cause fungal infections.

A photo will help to identify the problem.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 17, 2009
12:52 AM

Post #6828666

My money is still very much on it being too much sun. She said in her first post that they get direct sun until 2 PM, and I know from personal experience in my slightly cooler but otherwise pretty similar climate that is too much sun and leads to symptoms exactly as described. We also don't have much humidity here, so fungal problems like that are not nearly as much of a problem here as they are in many other areas. And she mentioned that the ones that are in a shadier area are doing fine...if fungal issues were the problem, they would likely be affected too. A picture would confirm of course, but I am very certain that too much sun is at least a large portion of the problem, although of course it's possible there's a secondary problem going on as well.
Jiny
Tokyo
Japan
(Zone 10a)

July 17, 2009
1:45 AM

Post #6828883

Surly with sun exposure until 2pm most of the scorching would be to one side and top of the plant, leaving
the shaded side healthy. Assuming it's a mature hydrangea, how did it get to maturity if it's position is unsuitable?

pajonica
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 17, 2009
1:53 AM

Post #6828928

I was assuming they were newer since edhjennifer only mentioned they were doing well earlier in the spring and didn't mention anywhere that they had done fine during last year's hot summer. But you're right, if they've been in the ground for a few years then sun issues are less likely.
Tex68
Long Branch, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 17, 2009
2:03 AM

Post #6828981

Well, unless there's a photo then we can really tell what the problem is.

We have hedges on the side of our property. About two months ago I decided to replace them with hydrangeas.
Total of 6. One division from what I already have, one I bought from a local nursery and 4 I bought from Lowe's.
The 4 I bought from Lowe's - 2 were mophead macrophyllas and the other 2 were Forever & Ever Red Sensation freshly delivered to the store. Everything went fine, and all were putting in new growths. Not until a month later I noticed the 2 Red Sensations were getting brown spots on the older leaves and whitish coloration on the new growth. At first I thought the problem was with the way I handle the plants. They were not wilting nor dying, in fact very vigorous BUT the leaves were just ugly. The two Red Sensations were just UGLY looking because of the brown spots all over.

Few days after, I was in Lowe's for something and went to check their hydrangeas again. They have a whole table display of Forever & Ever under a canopy (SHADED) in different colors. All MIXED in one display table. And what did I notice. Everything got blooms BUT the Red Sensations with BROWN spots and whitish discoloration on their leaves. All the other colors were just fine.
Needless to say I dug up my two Red Sensations and returned them to Lowe's.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 17, 2009
2:12 AM

Post #6829017

That's a shame about your Red Sensations--good thing Lowe's has a nice return policy! I've found things are sort of hit or miss with their plants, I've gotten some nice bargains there but also some things that have turned out to be sickly like that. As a matter of fact, I have a hydrangea that I got there this spring (no name on the tag, but the flowers were beautiful and I couldn't resist!) and it hasn't done very well for me. I'm hoping it'll perk up and do better next year.
Tex68
Long Branch, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 17, 2009
2:34 AM

Post #6829088

Yeah, I know I was looking forward to the Red Sensations since I never had 'Red' hydrangeas. Actually I lost the receipt since I didn't had the intention of returning them. But luckily I kept the original pots and tags for reference.
They gave me a store gift card.

I went to one of my favorite local nursery and I got a 3-gallon-sized Big Daddy hydrangea (sun and humidity tolerant) on sale for just $12.99. Did I mention it's a 3 gallon pot? LOL! Regular price was 29.99.

You can see it in this picture:

Thumbnail by Tex68
Click the image for an enlarged view.

ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 17, 2009
2:45 AM

Post #6829125

That's a great deal! And a pretty plant too! If it's sun tolerant I may have to look into getting one of those--I've run out of shady spots in the garden so one that's more sun tolerant would be perfect.
Jiny
Tokyo
Japan
(Zone 10a)

July 17, 2009
2:48 AM

Post #6829133

That's a really nice photo Tex. What camera and settings did you use? I can almost smell the flowers!
Shame about the red sensations.

pajonica
Tex68
Long Branch, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 17, 2009
3:09 AM

Post #6829247

Pajonica - Believe it or not it's my phone. Samsung Innov8 (model i8510). It's a slide phone and look's like a phone in the front, then at the back it's an 8 megapixel digital camera with flash and video cam. And it's smaller than iPhone. Go figure. Japanese technology! LOL! You're in Japan so it should be widely available over there. It's not commercially available here in the US. But I got an unlock version so I can just insert any SIM card.
Jiny
Tokyo
Japan
(Zone 10a)

July 17, 2009
5:53 AM

Post #6829661

And here's me using an expensive Nikon. lol. Ahem, I think the Samsung is Korean, wer'e slipping!

Jon
bookreader451
Troy, NY
(Zone 5b)

July 17, 2009
10:23 AM

Post #6829837

Sorry to hear about red sensation. It has turned out to be one of my favorites. I purchased mine at a local garden center.

Don't give up one the plant. It is worth trying again.

This is mine

Thumbnail by bookreader451
Click the image for an enlarged view.

edhjennifer
El Dorado Hills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 18, 2009
6:39 PM

Post #6835020

It's been a few days since I checked messages. Wow!! Thank you for all of the advice.

I've attached a picture of some of the hydrangeas. They are not mature hydrangeas- I planted them this past spring. I think I mentioned that they did very well (lots of flowers and green leaves) until the weather changed into the high 90's. The leaves started to turn brown and dry and 2 of the other hydrangeas have the 'white leaves' growing. All of the hydrangeas that are in the sun until 1:30-2pm have stopped blooming. By the way, the white leaves aren't mold.
I've also attached another picture of the other side of the courtyard. This is the side that has filtered sun & a lot of shade. You'll notice the side that get's the shade has some flowers but not a lot. Also, I just planted these 3 hydrangeas in late spring.

This picture below is the hydrangea w/ white leaves.

Thumbnail by edhjennifer
Click the image for an enlarged view.

edhjennifer
El Dorado Hills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 18, 2009
6:41 PM

Post #6835026

Here's a picture of the hydrangea's w/ brown, dry leaves.

Thumbnail by edhjennifer
Click the image for an enlarged view.

edhjennifer
El Dorado Hills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 18, 2009
6:43 PM

Post #6835033

Picture of the other side that doesn't get direct sun.

Thumbnail by edhjennifer
Click the image for an enlarged view.

ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

July 18, 2009
9:27 PM

Post #6835568

That looks like the same sort of symptoms I've had on my hydrangeas that were in too much sun. Mine also seemed fine until the weather got hot, then they started showing symptoms. (which is exactly why people with cooler summers can grow them in sunnier areas than people with hotter summers)

Are they looking worse now than they did when you first started having trouble? The other possibility is since we had a relatively cool spring and lots of cloudy weather in June it could be the heat & sun just caught them a bit off guard and did some damage, but if the damage isn't getting any worse then maybe in the long term once they're established they could do OK there. It doesn't look like they're about to die in those pics. Particularly the one with just the white areas on the leaves--that can happen to any plant that all of a sudden gets more sun than it's used to, but if those symptoms haven't progressed then that one in particular may be OK where it is (the sunburned leaves themselves may eventually turn brown and die off--I'd look at whether any new growth you're getting is showing any symptoms)
Jiny
Tokyo
Japan
(Zone 10a)

July 18, 2009
10:09 PM

Post #6835674

Yes sunburn for sure. Early summer planting in your zone could be part of the problem here as they've not had time to get their roots down, also harden off. They can and will survive in your zone but some shade will certainly
be required.

Jon

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