Please help me rescue my hydrangeas!

Lilyfinch z7 mid tnSeptember 16, 2009

This is my first year with hydrangeas , i have 2 new ones- limelight and annabelle. Limelight is in full sun, i just love it but it turned from ivory to brown rather quick, and now the leaves have almost all fallen off. Is this shock from being planted? I believe i got it in august.Ive been watering well, i thought. Advice?

Also annabelle is in a lovely shady with a little am sun, she is positivly sulking, flowers dried up, leaves crunchy. She wasnt planted in fabulous soil, its rather clayish. I did add soil from a better part of my garden when planted and today i topped the soil with leftover tree and shrub soil i had to give a little more nutrient. Can i cut it down to a foot to give it a chance to work on its roots? I really hope they come back next year! Ill do whatever it takes! Thank you fabulous garden friends!

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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Also - should i prune my peegee? I just planted that not tooolong ago. Its doing well, had some broken branches from the nursery but its very pretty!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 3:27PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Wow, lilyfinch! All the leaves on Limelight fell off? You mean it has no leaves now? That sounds like a moisture problem. Hydrangeas like consistently moist soil and maybe you got some episodes of moist and some of dry and the plant may have dried out. Too much water could also cause similar symptoms/problems. Can you confirm whether Limelight has some green leaves or not?

To help you develop a watering program, use the finger method to determine when to water. Insert a finger to a depth of 4" at the same of the day for almost two weeks. See if it feels moist, wet or dry. If it feels dry or almost dry, add 1g of water to the soil (not the leaves) early in the morning. If it feels wet, try to determine why it is wet and take appropriate action as long periods of wet soil will cause root rot. If the soil feels moist, do thing.

Every time that you water, make a note on a wall calendar. After 2 weeks, review how often you had to water. Then set your sprinkler or drip irrigation to water 1g on the same frequency (every 3 days/4 days/etc). If the temperatures change 10-15 degrees and stay there, use the finger method again. Keep the plant mulched with 3-4" through the drip line.

Do not fertilize now; plants that are in stress and suffering from transplant shock should not be fertilized.

Hydrangeas normally do not need much fertilizer. You can sometimes forget to fertilize on one year and, unless your soil is defficient on minerals, you would not notice it. Besides, your potting mix probably still has fertilizer pellets.

Fertilize once in June if you live in the northern colder states. A 1/2 cup or 1cup of manure, compost or cottonseed meal is enough. Feedings at the these times will make sure that your plant goes dormant in time for winter.

Do not cut it down either. The plants are too stressed. Monitor them for changes. New plants should not need pruning yet.

Below is a link to a website with lots of hydrangea information. Go over it when you have some time,

Here is a link that might be useful: All about hydrangeas

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 9:03AM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Thanks for being do helpful! I still have some white flowers on my limelight, and there are leaves close to all the flower heads. When i first planted it, i thought i was watering enough but it would sulk every other day. I am going to read the link you provided when i get home from work. I love these plants! Thanks so much for all the help!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 10:27AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

On their first year or two, they will always wilt often but this is just a defense mechanism and most hydrangeas recover on their own by next morning. The trick is to water immediately if the wilting episode looks extreme but otherwise, test the soil with a finger for moisture and do nothing if it feels moist. In future years, wilting will be reduced but it will never go away completely. Consider growing hydrangeas here in Texas as an example. In August and parts of July/September, we are in the 100s so it is common to see then wilting often, regardless of age.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 2:47PM
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