The Q&A Archives: Heat Wave - Hydrangeas

Question: During the recent heat wave, my hydrangeas were scorched to the extent that some of theleaves were fried. The first thing I did was to water them when I came home in the evening. They perked up a short time after and regained strength but the leaves look so horrible. Should I remove the leaves or let them remain on the plant? I know that I should also remove the dead globes of flowers to encourage reblooming.

Thanks for your advice.

Nicolette, Pickering

Answer: Hydrangeas will sometimes wilt during the afternoon in hot weather, even if they do not need watering. Then they will perk up when it cools off in the evening. It is important to water so that the soil stays evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet/saturated and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, do not water yet. When you do wate,r water slowly and thoroughly soaks it soaks down deep to the roots. After watering, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went, sometimes it can be surprising.

It is better to do a deep watering less often than to water lightly every day. Using an organic mulch over the root area will also help to keep the soil cool and moist.

If the leaves are still green in part, it is better to leave them on the plant so the can contribute to photosynthesis. If they are more than half brown, you can remove them.

If this is a new plant that is not yet fully rooted and it is in sun all day, you may want to provide it with afternoon shade. This will help reduce the heat stress.

Deadheading is recommended on hydrangeas such as Endless Summer that bloom on both old and new growth. For those that bloom on only old wood, it is optional.

Enjoy your hydrangea!

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