Hydrangeas forum: Hydrangea leaves turning brown and dry, what's going on?

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alexakaran
Jul 17, 2016 9:41 AM CST
I have two Endless Summer hydrangeas and they were doing great for about 2 months after I got them. In the last couple of months, it seems like every leaf is turning brown/black at the tip which then slowly moves through the rest of the leaf and it becomes dry. It's rare to find a leaf on them that isn't doing this. There is new growth from the root that looks okay, but any new growth from existing stems turns brown/black almost immediately. I tried pruning off some of the dead leaves, but then the remaining stems turned brown/black at the tip which then moved all the way down to the root.

I fertilized once when I planted them about 4 months ago with a slow-release fertilizer. A couple of months ago, I tried one application of a bloom boosting fertilizer. Once I saw how the leaves were turning and drying out, I haven't given them any more fertilizer since I wasn't sure if the fertilizer was the cause of the leaf issue.

I check these plants for water every day and they need water about every 2 or 3 days as they are on a covered patio so they get indirect sun/shade all day. Here in central Texas, it gets far too hot in the summer to keep them in the sun.

I've tried researching what could be going on, but I'm totally out of ideas at this point. They look like they're dying, but then there is new growth at the root which is confusing me even more. Any ideas you guys might have would be greatly appreciated!!

PS - The plants look a little dusty. That's just construction dust so not mildew or anything.

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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Jul 17, 2016 9:49 AM CST
Are you sure the water is actually getting to the roots? Do you have a moisture meter? That planter appears to be considerably larger than the pot they probably came in, and sometimes the root ball can just sit there and the water just run right past. Just a thought...
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Jul 17, 2016 9:58 AM CST
You have prob already seen these tips, its from the Endless Summer group:

Hydrangea Planting in Containers
In addition to following the general care tips for Endless Summer hydrangea, there are a few pointers to help you be successful:

Soil Preparation & Fertilizer
To prepare for these plants, use a bagged potting mix instead of garden soil. Some bagged mixes have slow release fertilizer mixed in, which help the shrubs in their first year. If you buy one that doesn’t already contain fertilizer, mix in a slow-release fertilizer with a NPK ratio of 10-30-10. Leave approximately 3 inches of space between the top of the soil and the rim of the container so you have enough space to water properly. As the season progresses, you can sparingly apply a diluted liquid fertilizer up to 2 times per month to encourage bloom production. We recommend a bloom-booster formula with a NPK ratio of 10-30-20.

Are you in zone 7/8 or 9? noticed in 8 or 9 you can plant them outside with about 2 hours of morning sun.

Watering Hydrangeas
When watering your plants, fill the container to the rim and let it drain fully through the bottom drainage holes then repeat. (If your container does not have drainage holes, drill holes or find a different container that does have holes in the bottom at your local nursery.) This is important so that you can ensure the roots are getting enough water deeper in the container. During the growing season, and especially on hot and windy days, check the soil moisture daily. Hydrangeas require more water than other varieties because of their large blooms, so thoroughly watering potted plants is highly important.

Overwintering
Bring the entire container into your garage or basement for the winter months, and follow the same steps as garden-planted hydrangeas. Potted plants will not require as much mulch, but should be lightly watered throughout the winter months since they will not receive moisture from snow and rain.


alexakaran
Jul 17, 2016 10:08 AM CST
Thank you both for your suggestions!

I do use a moisture meter to make sure the root ball is moist which has been extremely helpful.

I have also seen those tips and followed them when I planted and water. I'm in zone 8, but it's been crazy hot and sunny which is why they're on the covered patio. They were doing just great until a couple of months ago so I wondered if perhaps they have a fungus issue or something.

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