Hydrangeas forum→Hydrangeas don't look right

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GardenTO
May 23, 2020 5:18 PM CST
Hi everyone, I'm new to gardening and was looking for some help/guidance. I bought an Everlasting Revolution (big leaf) hydrangea a couple of weeks ago and planted it. When I bought it, the blooms were brown and wilted and the leaves the same. But the stems were green with brown spots. I assumed the flowers would just fall off and new blooms would start. I am starting to see some buds (I think) right above where the leaves were and more leaves have fallen off. And now some stems are turning brown. I'm not sure if there's some issue with the plant or how it's planted or if it's too early to tell. Please see attached photos. Any feedback would help. Thanks!
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[Last edited by GardenTO - May 24, 2020 7:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 23, 2020 5:40 PM CST
welcome to NGA, GardenTO. Where are you located (city, state, country)? It sounds strange to hear you bought the hydrangea with brown blooms.

GardenTO
May 23, 2020 7:57 PM CST
I bought them at a Home Depot in the northeast area.
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 24, 2020 12:17 AM CST
It is rare for a hydrangea to be in bloom this early. A few as you get closer to the southern states but not too many yet in the northeast. To hear that the blooms have browned out makes me think that it was left outside just as a hard freeze or a late frost passed by. That would have killed the blooms and leaves. Even a few stems. But it might be ok as long as the roots were not hurt. In that case, the plant would produce new foliage anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Maybe a few new stems too but hard to say.

The stems are just fine. Hydrangeas have pores called lenticels along the stems. Some varieties have hardly any. Others have more. Some have red ones and others like Lady In Red or Nigra have purple/black colored ones.

Once hydrangea flowers fall, they stay attached but eventually fall down. However, it may be many months, not days before they fall. A mophead that blooms at its normal time (let us say in late April or May) might lose the blooms in March of the next year for example.

If you want to deadhead the blooms, you can deadhead at any time. Just cut the string that connects the bloom to the stem. It is not a good idea to cut the stem when deadheading as hydrangeas sometimes have already developed invisible flower buds at the ends of old or new stems.

If your hydrangea is a remontant hydrangea, these invisible flower buds may open in late Summer. Or in Spring 2021 if this hydrangea blooms only once a year.

The stems should not be turning brown at this early part of the growing season. They do that normally at the end of the growing season but it would now require a late frost or freeze to kill some stems. To make sure they are not browning out due to lack of water, make sure to test the soil often and water if the soil is dry. For example, early in the morning, insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4" and water if the soil feels dry or almost dry.

Greenhouses where hydrangeas are planted tend to make them bloom early so the plants arrive in bloom. If they awakened it too early, it is possible this plant may now be trying to go dormant. But that would be a big goof on the part of the wholesaler. I would expect that winter damage cause the blooms/leaves/stems to brown out early.

In the meantime, give it some TLC. Maintain the plant well mulched with 2-4" of organic mulch past the drip line. Maintain the soil as evenly moist as you can (no periods of dry soil, wet soil, dry soil again). Always water the soil and never the leaves. Start watering near the root ball and move outwards in all directions. A single watering should get the water down to a depth of 8" or so. Then do not water again until the soil feels almost dry to a depth of 4". That is where hydrangea roots are located.

If the stems that are browning out do not leaf out again, you might consider leaving them there until next year to see if the leaf out then. That suggestion is based on one plant of mine that lost all foliage after a particularly bad thunderstorm caused some branches to fall down on it. All leaves browned out and the plant put new foliage the following Spring. On a normal plant that has not been awakened early, stems should leaf out by the end of May or early June; if not, they can pruned all the way down.
[Last edited by luis_pr - May 24, 2020 12:35 AM (+)]
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GardenTO
May 24, 2020 3:50 PM CST
Thank you! All great tips

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