‘Neglected’ hydrangeas ‘spring back to life’ with ‘crucial’ five second task

Alan Titchmarsh shows off his hydrangeas

Hydrangeas typically start to wither as a result of drought, too much sun, frost damage or transplant shock.

Given that the UK is experiencing temperatures with highs of 30 degrees this week, it will be common for many hydrangea owners to notice that their plant is not doing too great, especially if they have transplanted them at this time. 

This is exactly what happened to one gardening enthusiast’s hydrangeas. Taking to the Gardening UK Facebook page, one group member anonymously said: 

“Seriously neglected hydrangea. Is there any saving it, I’d really like to if I can.

“I have repotted today into a big pot and placed in a shady area because of the hot weather, and soaked with plenty of water. Should I cut any of it back or will just daily regular watering help?”

READ MORE: ‘Best time’ to water gardens ‘effectively’ to avoid ‘wreaking havoc’ on plants

The user also shared a picture of their hydrangea which pictured the flower heads and and leaves drooping and looking brown.

Below group members in the comments section claimed that the hydrangea could be in this state as a result of transplanting during this heatwave.

Jane Shipton said: “It’s because you’ve moved the plant and the growing conditions are not the same. Just keep watering it and keep it out of the sun.”

Hydrangeas are generally hardy after establishment but are at more risk of dying in their first season. This can be because they are adapting to their new conditions.

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Transplant shock is more noticeable when there is a greater difference between the growing conditions in which the plant was initially grown and the conditions where it is currently planted.

It can also be problematic if gardeners plant hydrangeas at the height of summer. In summer the higher temperatures can dry out the hydrangea so that the roots cannot draw up water at the same rate that water is lost through the large abundant leaves causing the hydrangea to wilt and turn brown.

The best time to plant or transplant hydrangeas is in spring or autumn as this gives the hydrangea time for its roots to establish and adapt to the soil, so it can draw up moisture effectively before the intense heat of summer.

Mark Green commented: “For your hydrangea to spring back to life it is crucial to give them attention when it’s hot, which means watering them well. This won’t take long, five seconds and you’re done.”

Martin Caner warned: “Planting in summer with high temperatures and intense sunlight can result in dying hydrangeas. Try to give your hydrangea the same conditions it had when it was previously planted.”

Rachel Corden advised: “The best thing you can do is protect the plant from the sun and water them frequently, making sure the soil is moist at all times.”

When it comes to watering, Margaret Fell noted: “Although hydrangeas like ‘wet feet’, if the leaves are dying it may not be able to take up as much water as a healthy plant. 

“I overwatered and killed a hydrangea like yours! So yes, keep the soil moist but don’t over water or the roots can rot.”

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