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Save withered hydrangea: What are the most common causes and how you can revive the plant

The most common cause of hydrangea dieback is dry soil. Find out what else can cause your plant to wilt and how to save a dried out hydrangea in this article.

The most common reasons for wilting hydrangeas

Save dried up hydrangea - What are the most common causes of it.

  • Drought: Hydrangeas need consistently moist soil around the roots. They will wilt quickly if the soil is dry, either because they have not been watered enough or because the soil dries out too quickly.
  • Too much sun: hydrangeas prefer morning sun, followed by afternoon shade or dim light during the day. Too much sun will cause the leaves to wilt and turn brown.
  • Small pots: small pots heat up too quickly, preventing the hydrangea’s roots from absorbing moisture.
  • Hydrangea in a pot without drainage holes in the bottom: Hydrangeas need evenly moist soil, but will not tolerate saturated soil, which causes root rot.
  • Planting: Hydrangeas often wilt after planting due to transfer shock. The contrast between sun, soil, air flow and temperature can cause hydrangea leaves to wilt . Roots need time to establish themselves before they can absorb moisture.
  • Competing roots from other plants: Roots from nearby plants can compete with your hydrangea for water and nutrients, which can contribute to your plant’s wilting.
  • Too much fertilizer: fertilizing too often or in too high a concentration can cause your plant to grow limp and bear fewer flowers.
  • Too much wind: Hydrangeas naturally grow in wooded areas that are protected from wind. When too much wind blows, it deprives large hydrangea leaves of moisture and causes them to wilt.

How to save a withered hydrangea.

The most common cause of hydrangea death is dry soil

  • Plant, transplant, or place the hydrangea (if it’s in a pot) in a spot with morning sun followed by afternoon shade (or dim light during the day). Morning sun ensures that the plant gets enough sunlight to develop its flowers, and afternoon shade protects the hydrangea from the hottest part of the day so that the leaves don’t scorch and wilt.
  • The best time to transplant hydrangeas is in the spring or fall, rather than summer, so that the hydrangea’s root system can become established in the soil without being exposed to the high temperatures of summer. If your plant wilts in the summer, we advise you to temporarily shade it in the afternoon.
  • If your soil is sandy, stony and drains quickly, it is best to plant the plant elsewhere in the garden. The soil should be prepared with plenty of compost, leaves or well-rotted manure to a depth of 45 cm (to accommodate the hydrangea’s root system).
  • If it is too difficult to remove your wilting hydrangea, then water it generously with a hose to ensure that the soil is evenly moist. Then apply a 5-inch layer of mulch to the surface of the soil around it to conserve moisture.
  • Make hydrangeas last – The best mulches are compost, leaf mold or well-rotted manure. This is because all three retain moisture, add nutrients and improve soil structure. Put down a layer of mulch each year in early spring after watering the soil. However, make sure the mulch layer doesn’t come in contact with the above-ground portion of the plant.

More tips to revive your plant

Save your plant with these tips

  • Save Dried Hydrangea – Water your plant as often as necessary to keep the soil moist (but not too saturated). How often you should water your plants depends on a variety of factors, so there is no universal advice on how often you should water your hydrangeas. Make sure the soil is moist by a finger’s width. If you feel the soil is beginning to dry out, water the hydrangea generously.
  • Always water hydrangeas thoroughly. If you water too little, the roots will be encouraged to grow near the surface, which can make hydrangeas more susceptible to drought. Thorough watering helps anchor the roots in the soil, which increases the hydrangea’s resistance to drought.
  • If you restore the hydrangea’s preferred growing conditions and ensure that the surrounding soil is consistently moist, the plant should recover from its wilted appearance.

How to save a hydrangea that has withered in a pot

How to save a hydrangea that has dried up in the pot


  • Always plant hydrangeas in a large pot with a diameter of at least 30 cm and the same depth. A pot this size can hold enough soil to retain moisture. However, depending on the size of the plant, you may need to repot. It’s worth checking to see if your plant’s roots are tied up in the pot. If they are, replant them in a much larger pot.
  • We recommend adding some leaf moss to the potting mix. This is because it has the exceptional ability to retain moisture and reproduce the typical soil conditions in the plant’s natural environment. This will help maintain the optimal moisture balance for the plant and prevent wilting.
  • Water plants in pots as often as necessary to ensure that the soil is moist but not saturated. Pots naturally dry out much faster than if the plant were planted in the garden. So be careful when watering. Once the soil has dried out to your fingers, water the pot generously to revive the wilting hydrangea.
  • Plant these plants in clay, ceramic or terra cotta pots. These are usually thicker and do not get as hot as plastic or metal pots.
  • Always plant in pots with drainage holes in the bottom. While hydrangeas prefer evenly moist soil, they do not tolerate saturated, boggy soil. Therefore, good drainage at the bottom of the pot is important. Transplant your hydrangea to a pot with holes in the bottom as soon as possible. Make sure that excess water does not collect under the pot.

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