The Q&A Archives: Hydrangea turning brown

Question: My hydrangea plant leaves are turning brown and appear to be dying. They bloomed beautifully this spring/summer. It's been really hot here (La Mesa, CA) but have been watering consistantly. Are they dying? Should I trim them back? They look horrible. THANK YOU!

Answer: I think the browning leaves are a result of excessively hot weather and over watering. It's natural for gardeners to want to water more often during hot spells, but hydrangeas tend to wilt and slow their growth when dealing with hot afternoon sunshine. The wilting is a reaction to the intense sun, not a sign that it needs water. By watering daily, you can be keeping the soil too moist and driving out oxygen, which is needed by the roots. Prune away the damaged stems and put your plant on a weekly deep soaking rather than a daily watering regime. It should respond positively by producing healthy new growth.

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