Why is my Hydrangea Dying? Garden Tips 2024

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Hydrangeas are gorgeous perennials that can brighten any garden. So, if your hydrangea suddenly looks ill, it can be quite disappointing. Here are a few common reasons why your hydrangea is dying.

Why is my hydrangea dying: Hydrangeas can become sick for a number of reasons. Their roots may not have enough space to grow or the soil is too moist and root rot can set in. There may be too much sun or not enough. If your hydrangea starts to show signs of dying, such as wilted leaves, discoloration, or stunted growth, this means there is a problem. However, most problems are easily remedied once you have a proper diagnosis.

Reasons Why Hydrangea is Dying or Wilting

Pot space

Hydrangeas make for great gifts and it is common to find these brilliant plants in the spring, just in time for Easter or Mother’s Day. While it’s fine to leave them in the pot they come in, you should be aware that they will need to be transplanted at some time.

As a plant grows in height, its roots also grow in volume and they need enough space to remain healthy. If the pot they are in is too small, there isn’t enough soil and therefore not enough nutrients for the plant to absorb.

A sign that your hydrangea is in a pot that is too small is if the roots are visible above the soil. The plant itself can have a droopy look as if it isn’t getting enough nutrients.

Root Rot

Root rot is when a fungus attaches itself to the root of a plant, thus cutting off an important source of nutrients. If the roots become too rotted, they will slowly die out and your whole plant will die with it.

One of the most common reasons for root rot is over-watering. Hydrangeas like soil that is nice and moist so it’s a fine balance between over-watering and watering just enough.

If your hydrangea has leaves that are discolored, this is a sign of root rot. The leaves may also wilt and your whole plant may look stunted.

Usually, if you catch root rot early enough, you can stop it from taking hold. Ease back on the watering and see if this makes a difference in your plant.

Too much sun

Hydrangeas have some specific needs when it comes to sunlight. While they love the morning sun, if they are in a place with bright full sun in the afternoon, they can quickly start to droop.

In temperament areas, your hydrangea will probably be ok. But in other areas where the summers are extremely hot, your hydrangea will quickly wilt.

If this is the case, your hydrangea leaves will droop and look withered. If this is happening because of an unseasonal heatwave, you can give your hydrangea more water and let them be.

However, if this is a common occurrence, you should dig your plant up in the fall and transplant it to an area that is a better mixture of sun and shade.

Powdery Mildew

One of the most common fungal diseases that affect plants is powdery mildew. It is largely airborne but thrives in moist conditions.

The most obvious sign your hydrangea is affected with powdery mildew is a fine white texture to the leaves. It can start on one leaf but quickly spread throughout the plant.

If you aren’t sure how severe the powdery mildew is, be sure to check the underside of the leaves as this is a common space for it.

How to Revive a Dying Hydrangea

Step 1 – Diagnose the problem

If you start to notice signs your hydrangea is looking unhealthy, the first step is to diagnose the issue. Look at the leaves for signs of wilting, fungus, or discoloring.

Also, check the root system. If the plant is in the ground, you may have to dig the soil a bit to test the structure of the roots.

Finally, you can try to tell if your hydrangea looks smaller than the previous year, less full, or just altogether different.

Step 2 – Fix the problem

Now that you know what the problem is, it’s time to fix it. You may need to move your hydrangea, either to a different location in your garden or to a larger pot.

If your hydrangea has a fungal problem, such as powdery mildew, be sure to remove any affected leaves or branches. You can also apply a natural spray to get rid of the fungus.

Step 3 – Prevent future problems

Once your hydrangea is looking healthy again, it’s time to make sure the problems don’t resurface.

Make sure your hydrangea has the right amount of sun and shade. If you need to move it to a better location, wait until the plant is dormant, in the fall, and then move it. Aim for full sun in the morning and a mixture of sun and shade in the afternoon.

As for watering, while your hydrangea should have moist soil, it shouldn’t be too wet. You may need to change the soil construction and add more gravel to allow the water to properly drain.

You should also try to water the base of the plant and not the leaves. This will prevent fungus from attaching to the leaves as they won’t be so moist.

How do you help a struggling hydrangea?

Hydrangeas are gorgeous and sometimes they just need a bit of love. Try to self-diagnose the problem and use some common sense to fix the problems.

If you are still stumped, take a few pictures of your plant and bring them with you to your local garden center. You can also find online gardening groups that can help you diagnose the problem as well as provide easy solutions.


Like all plants, hydrangeas have a certain set of criteria to thrive. They need moist soil that drains well, enough room for their roots to grow, and a mixture of sun and shade. If these criteria are not met, your hydrangea will become ill and may even start to die.

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