The Q&A Archives: Wilting Leaves On Unique Hydrangea

Question: I purchased an unique hydrangea last week, and didn't get a chance to plant it before we went away for the weekend. I gave it a big drink and but it in a sheltered shady area. When we got home it was wilted and all the flowers had died. I gave it a big drink and placed it in the sun and then planted it. It still looks terrible. What should I do?

Answer: When plants are badly stressed, it can take some time for them to recover. The lack of water, the summer heat, and it being the worst time of year for transplanting all combined to give the plant a shock. If the plant tissues were too badly damaged, the leaves may turn crispy and possibly fall off, and the stems may even die back. With luck and careful watering, the plant will recover.

At this point, continue to make sure the soil is evenly moist yet not sopping wet. Use your finger to check the soil and see if and when you need to water. Check both the potting mix and the surrounding soil because they can dry out at different rates. Use several inches of organic mulch over the root zone (but not up against the stems) to help keep the soil more evenly moist.

If possible, provide light shade for the plant temporarily to help reduce the amount of moisture it loses through its leaves due to heat stress.

Do not fertilize it, the last thing a stressed plant needs is feeding.

Try to be patient and good luck with your hydrangea!

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