The Q&A Archives: Transplanted Hydrangea Wilting

Question: I recently received 2 Nikko Blue Hydrangeas and
one Forever Pink Hydrangea that I had ordered
through the mail. I planted them in well-drained (sandy) soil. They started wilting later in the week and now, a month later, there are nothing but sticks in the ground. I trimmed off the damaged tops as the leaves had already fallen off. The stems are still supple. Is there anything I can do to save these plants?

Answer: It sounds as though the hydrangea is suffering from stress due to transplant shock. Hydrangeas prefer a partial afternoon shade or morning sun situation in evenly moist soil well-enriched with organic matter. (A rule of thumb is about an inch of water a week from either the sky or the gardener, and it is best applied as a deep soaking rather than frequent light sprinklings.) They also appreciate a mulch. It is possible that your shrubs are receiving either too much sun or too little water (sandy soil drains fast) and perhaps the soil isn't rich enough. Newly planted shrubs are particularly prone to this type of stress because they have not yet developed a full root system. I'd scratch the surface of the main trunk to see if it's green. If so, try to increase the organic matter of your sandy soil with compost. Don't fertilize as that may be too much for them at this point. I hope this information helps. Good luck!

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