Leaves on F&E Hydrangea turning yellow

maxsamJune 4, 2012

I have two F&E hydrangeas that were planted three years ago. The plants have always been healthy, but very slow growing and did not bloom after the first year. They are planted in an area that gets almost full sun. The soil is pretty heavy, but I amended it when I planted them.

This past week, I have noticed that the leaves are yellow with green veins. From doing a little research I see that this can be due to an iron deficiency. I also saw that heavy soils or sometimes too alkaline soil can cause this. I have not had my soil tested. I do have some azaleas in another bed that are suffering from the same thing. I have many other hydrangeas in the same bed as the hydrangeas with the leaf issue that do not have the yellowing, but it is a very large bed. Almost all the hydrangeas (about 20) in this bed are slow growing actually.

With the information provided, do you think it could be an iron deficiency or that I could do any harm in treating it as such if I'm not 100% sure? I am seriously considering digging up the poorest growers and reamending the soil to see if that helps with their growth. (Sorry, I am going on a tangent and talking about two different issues now)

Any thoughts?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

If the leaves are starting to resemble the example on the link below, you should treat it as a case of iron chlorosis.


You can amend the soil with any of the following: iron-chelated liquid compounds sold at many nurseries, garden Sulphur, green sand and iron sulfate. You can also amend with aluminum sulfate but only on the hydrangeas because aluminum sulfate is toxic to azaleas and rhododendrons. Apply in the amounts recommended and as often as recommended. The liquids correct the problem faster but it may still take 2 weeks or more. You can apply the liquids with your regular waterings if you water manually.

Tap water can also be alkaline so try using rain water if you collect rain in tanks.

I amend my alkaline soil in Spring and again in July-ish.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:35AM
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Thanks, Luis!
Yes, I think my leaves do resemble the picture you linked. I just looked at my others and they are looking the same. The only ones that aren't turning yellow are my Incrediballs and the hydrangeas that I've treated with acid in the past (which are also bigger, BTW). Do you think the alkaline soil is the cause of my other F&E's being slow growers?
Hydrangea with yellowing leaves:
A hydrangea that has been treated in the past with acid and that is growing:

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:59AM
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