The Q&A Archives: Hydrangeas

Question: I planted 5 hydrangeas (light and dark pink blooms) in a row where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. In spring, they bloom and are gorgeous, by mid-summer blooms are burnt and pale, followed by the leaves, and plants become a blight. If I can't relocate them, I'll have to pull them out. What's happening?

Answer: It sounds to me as though your plants are getting the correct sun exposure (4 hours morning sun, afternoon shade) so I'm not sure what is causing the leaves to appear blighted. It is normal for the flowers to fade as they age, eventually turning a tan color, but the leaves should retain their nice green color all summer long. Wish I could solve the mystery, but without seeing the plant I really can't offer a clue. You might want to cut an affected stem, along with leaves and take it to your local cooperative extension office for professional diagnosis. Helpful folks there can offer some solutions to the problem. Contact Sacramento County Cooperative Extension, 4145 Branch Center Rd, Sacramento, CA 95827-3823, phone (916) 875-6913.

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