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Did your hydrangea get too much water? Helpful tips on how to save your beautiful plant!

Hydrangeas are a wonderful plant for your garden. With their many different colors from pink to blue and purple to bright white, they are a great addition to any garden and are easy to care for with the right tools and knowledge. Hydrangeas, like all other plants, need water. Although this shrub can tolerate more moisture than other related shrubs, overwatering can cause the entire plant to wilt and eventually die. If your hydrangea has gotten too much water, discover tips on how to save it here!

Water requirements of hydrangeas

Hydrangea too much watered - what to do

Hydrangeas thrive in a semi-shaded area with cool, moist, well-drained soil. They are sensitive to water problems, but primarily it is lack of water, not overwatering. These shrubs are among the plants that most quickly show signs of underwatering, such as wilting in the hottest part of the day. The soil in which they are planted should remain moist, but never become too soggy or have so much water that it stagnates. If you maintain this delicate moisture balance, your hydrangeas can thrive.

Hydrangea too much water: visible symptoms.

Root rot as a result of overwatering.

This symptom is not as noticeable as the others because the roots are hidden underground. It would be difficult to tell if the roots are rotting until you see other symptoms on the surface. However, the first part of the hydrangea to suffer from overwatering is the roots. Root rot is a common result. Drowned roots are brown and slimy when you touch them. They also smell awful.

Browning and wilting of leaves.

Browning and withering of leaves - Hydrangea too much watering

Also associated with the problem of root rot are changes in the color of the foliage. Especially plants that have received too much water usually develop brown leaves that turn mushy when touched. This is caused by too much water in the plant cells.

Yellowing of the leaves

Another consequence of overwatering is yellowing of hydrangea leaves. Yellow leaves are caused by the lack of essential nutrients, such as iron, available to the plant. There are many factors that can cause this problem, but one of them is damage to the roots.

Dropping of the leaves

Browning and wilting of leaves - Hydrangea overwatering

One sign that your hydrangea has received too much water is when the leaves fall off. In this case, both the old and new leaves fall off the stems. Too much water causes the plant cells to burst and die, and the petioles to lose their strength. As a result, the leaves begin to separate from the stem. If you notice that your hydrangea’s leaves look limp and weak, it’s probably overwatered.

Hydrangea too much water: mold as a result.

Moist conditions encourage the activity of pathogens in the soil, which then trigger a fungal infection in one part of the plant that spreads to the other parts.

Hydrangea watered too much: What to do?

Water requirements of hydrangea shrubs - watering correctly


If no more than 75% of the plant is severely damaged and dying, the plant will likely make a full recovery. In cases where the damage is too severe, you may need to take cuttings from the healthiest parts of the plant for propagation and discard the rest.

Pruning and uprooting when overwatering.

Hydrangea too much water - visible symptoms

The first thing you need to do is remove the worst visible damage. This includes brown or blackened leaves and removing wilted or faded flowers. You do not need to remove yellowed but not brown leaves, as this is often due to an inability to produce chlorophyll and the affected leaves will usually recover. Once you have removed any serious damage, it is time to uproot the plant. For potted plants, this can be done by pulling the plant out of the pot. For hydrangeas in the garden, however, a little more work is required.

Here’s what you need to do:

Take a shovel or garden fork and stick it straight into the soil around the plant so that the handle of the tool does not push into the plant. This way you can make sure you get the entire root ball. Continue making these vertical cuts around the plant and then carefully lift the hydrangea out of the ground with the tool.

Once the roots are exposed, remove as much soil as possible by gently rinsing or brushing it off with your bare hands. Examine the roots and look for dark brown to black roots, muddy spots or a foul odor. These are signs of root rot, which means the soil (and any containers the plant may have been in) should be completely discarded due to contamination. If you find no signs of root rot, you can proceed with transplanting.

If hydrangea gets too much water: treat root rot.

Use a sharp, sterile knife or scissors to remove any root with obvious signs of root rot. Be sure to sterilize between each cut. Since either fungi or bacteria can cause root rot, it is best to use an irrigation that can kill both. The most common method is to soak the root ball in a solution of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water for 30 minutes.

Regardless of whether you had to fight root rot, you should let the plant air dry for 2-3 days and protect it from direct sunlight.