Hydrangeas forum: Pale and near white leaves on my Nikko Blue...

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Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 30, 2015 12:45 PM CST
we have three of these in various places in our yard. the one in question, on the east side of our deck gets full sun first thing in the morning until about 10 am, then dappled sun all day. literally, all day, until about 6 pm. I would think the lighting aspect is pretty well covered. however, im thinking theres a problem with the soil its planted in. the plant is a vigorous grower and its LOADED with flower buds. but patches of leaves are very pale green and some of the innermost leaves are nearly white and dropping off at a fairly quick rate. we fertilized it at the beginning of the growing season with organic "acid loving" fertilizer and its thick and full. its just looks a little ill. I also don't think its a "too much water" issue. we pay really close attention to our watering regimen, especially since the pale leave appeared a few weeks ago. thoughts?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
May 30, 2015 2:19 PM CST
Is it the youngest top leaves on the branches that are white and, if so, are the leaves below that yellowish but the veins still green? If so it is likely iron chlorosis from the pH being too high (do they flower pink?). If it is on leaves most exposed to the sun it could be sun scald but I assume they are not recently planted? A picture close-up and also whole plant would help.
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
Image
riverman123
May 30, 2015 11:31 PM CST
the pale leaves are random it seems. its very difficult in the photo to see any real difference between the pale ones and the "normal" ones. most of the leaves are the deep green that hydrangeas are known for. however, there are quite a few that are not, having a slightly yellow tint to them. seems to be affecting the veins as well. its more or less all over the plant, not just at the top. I don't believe its sun scald, it gets dappled shade all day, and morning sun until 10 am or s. it was planted last year. did great! and no, it doesn't bloom pink.
Thumb of 2015-05-31/riverman123/df4bab

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
May 31, 2015 5:56 AM CST
Thanks for the picture. Did the near white leaves fall off? Iron deficiency is common in hydrangeas and can turn leaves almost white which is why I was going along that train of thought from the initial description, but it doesn't look like iron chlorosis and nor is it likely either given that the plant is flowering blue.

Hard to see a pattern but it looks as though the leaves are yellowing starting at their tips, and that it's the older leaves on a stem that are most affected? With nitrogen deficiency the older leaves would be affected first and the veins would not remain green. Looking at the one branch that is sticking up above the rest towards top right, there does seem to more or less be a progression to paler going down the stem which would be consistent with nitrogen deficiency.

There is a conifer next to the hydrangea that might be competing for nutrients and moisture. Is there any possibility the soil is on the dry side there because of the deck (?) and the conifer?
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 31, 2015 1:17 PM CST
All good points you make and good questions as well. I don't believe its a matter of being too dry. me and my girl are pretty good gardeners and we have a regular watering schedule. now as far as the other shrubs and trees surrounding it are concerned, I suppose they could be competing for nutrients...? although there are plenty of conifers and what not here competing with out five other hydrangeas and they don't appear to be having the same problems this one is having. the white leaves are always on the inside of the plant and they're very difficult to see by just looking at it. they always grow directly off one of the main stems themselves, lower to the ground rather than from an offshoot stem higher up. and yeah, they always fall off before they get any bigger than say, 2 inches across. they're totally white. no green veins left behind or anything.
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 31, 2015 6:42 PM CST
aside from the small areas of slight blotching, its entirely white. theres dozens of them and eventually they all drop.
Thumb of 2015-06-01/riverman123/e91f7b

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jun 2, 2015 2:11 PM CST
It's certainly very white! It doesn't really match a nutrient deficiency - iron chlorosis can turn leaves white but it doesn't seem fit the pattern or the environment of this problem. I really have no idea what's causing it.
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
Image
riverman123
Jun 2, 2015 2:42 PM CST
the white leaves are present on all our big leaf hydrangeas. however, this is the only one displaying the pale green/yellowish leaves also. the rest of the plants are deep green, lush leaves... other than that the plant seems to be fine. flowers are starting to turn blue and open up, stems are strong and upright. im thinking its a soil condition. but im no expert! ha! either something foreign in the soil, or the soil is missing something. several of our clematis plants kinda have the same symptoms, but not nearly as severe.

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