The Q&A Archives: Hydrangea color

Question: My white hydrangea flowers are turning tan and light green...not attractive. They're young, and I just planted them about 4-6 weeks ago. They're big leaf hydrangeas, and they're in full sun. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: White flowers sometimes have a greenish tinge when they first open, but this generally disappears with maturity. If the flowers are turning tan, it indicates they've finished their display and are on the decline. Both conditions are normal and natural. If you've had rain (or the flowers got wet when you watered), the tan color could be a result of wet petals that were hit by strong sunlight. Again, it's a natural reaction to the elements. Because your shrubs are so newly planted, they may also be struggling to become established while they're expending energy to bloom. The combination may have encouraged the premature failing of the blossoms. Hydrangeas bloom on last year's wood so cut back the stems that have finished flowering to promote the growth of new stems, which will develop new flower buds. Next season they should look spectacular!

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