My Hydrangea is drooping

olivia_2010June 23, 2010

I just planted my hydrangea in my south facing garden. It gets full sun and it is drooping after 2 days. I live in BC, Canada so it doesn't get as hot as in other zones. Please help. I have been watering it quite a bit. There seems to be conflicting information about how much sun a hydrangea needs.

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Newly planted hydrangeas suffer from wilting episodes as part of transplant shock or the weather. These episodes start with the arrival of higher temperatures and occur because the plant loses water faster thru the leaves than it can replace it thru the roots. Watering often because of this can be bad for the roots so try to water when necessary. By the way, most hydrangeas will recover on their own by the next morning or even earlier. But on year one, monitor them closely for wilting episodes.

If the wilting episode looks unusually bad, immediately water. Otherwise, insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 10cm in order to determine if the soil is dry, moist or wet. If the soil feels almost dry or dry then water it. Otherwise, do not water and wait until next morning (water it then if still wilted).

To determine when to water, use the finger method daily for two weeks. Water when the soil feels almost dry or dry. Write a note on a wall calendar each time that you water. After two weeks, determine how often you had to water (every 3/4/5/etc days). Then set the sprinkler or drip irrigation to water on that same frequency (every 3/4/5/etc days). As temperatures increase or decrease & stay there and as plants get bigger, use the finger method again to see if you need to water more or water often.

Keeping the soil well mulched can lengthen the number of times that you have to water and can reduce the number of wilting episodes. If the area is windy, this promotes wilting episodes so consider a wind break or transplanting elsewhere. If your weather service issues wind advisories for the next day, water the soil early in the morning.

I understand the confusion about the amount of sun. It is a function of the type of hydrangea variety as well as one's geographical location. The further South one is located -like me- the more protection they need from the sun. For example, over here I have to provide shade by 11am or 12pm. If I do not do that, the leaves in direct contact with the sun turn all yellow (including the leaf veins). But the more one goes north, the less protection they need. A relative of mine who leaves in Massachusetts, has a Nikko Blue in full sun.

Obviously, you can never go wrong with some shade protection at the worst part of the day. If unsure, drive around and see where hydrangeas are planted by others in your neighborhood, city gardens, etc.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 6:09AM
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Excellent advice luis.

I just planted a few Hydrangeas as well and mine are suffering from the intense heat weve been having. Its always tougher after 1st planting, from what I understand. I built a few temporary shades for them while they are adjusting to their location and trying to grow out a root base.
These allow full sun at the early and later parts of the day when its not as bad, and greatly reduced exposure when the sun is at its hottest point in the sky.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 12:31PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Olivia, what kind of hydrangea, mophead/lacecap, pee gee...?

Most will take full sun once established though in the PNW given our number of cloudy days. The closer to the water you are, the more sun they can manage. For now, can you provide some temporary shade during mid day while it is so newly planted. I've used everything from a lawn chair, cardboard box, to the wheelbarrow on end to cast a shadow...and I've seen my neighbor tie an umbrella to a stake! Don't try this if it's windy :)

Planted earlier or later in the season wilting during mid-day wouldn't likely be a problem, but planted now it may need some temporary protection during the strongest hours of sun.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 1:58PM
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My hydrangea is a mophead...thank you for all of the advice, it appears the issue was lack of water. We just had a lot of rain here in BC and I have been holding the hose to the soil for several minutes and it has made a comeback...I just hope it keeps growing!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 2:28PM
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