hydrangeas - Knowledgebase Question

New Port Richey, FL (Zone 9B)
Avatar for dj_humenansk
Question by dj_humenansk
May 6, 2007
I've planted several hydranges in a self watering container garden. I am using miracle-gro moisture control potting mix and Peters all purpose dry plant food. I'm using about 1/2 to 0ne cup of plant food in 2cu ft of potting mix for 8 plants. They have all died and I can't figure out why. I did have one that flowered the next day it was all wilted and limp the next day it was dead. The container is in the morning sun till about 10 o'clock then I move it under cover away from afternoon direct sun. Any Idea what I Need to do to get these plants to thrive instead of die.

Answer from NGA
May 6, 2007
I'd try again, this time use a container that is not self-watering. Hydrangea's like moist soil, but it needs to dry out periodically or the roots will suffocate (water drives oxygen out of the soil and roots need to breathe). The moisture control potting mix is okay, just water it thoroughly and then allow the top half-inch of soil to dry out before watering thoroughly again. The wilting you describe indicates over-saturated soil with resulting root rot. As you've discovered, hydrangea leaves wilt in hot sun. They typically recover overnight, or a few hours after you've moved them into a shady spot. You might try filtered morning sun instead of direct morning sun. (Under a tree or arbor, for instance.) Since hydrangeas can be grown indoors, direct sunshine is not absolutely necessary, but bright light. is. Give these suggestions a try. Best wishes with your new hydrangeas!

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