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What''s wrong with my hydrangea?

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oobiecoo

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Admittedly, I''ve not been good with plants lately but I have been trying REALLY hard to care for this hydrangea I bought a couple of weeks ago. It had 3 blooms and I noticed yesterday that one''s stem was kind of limp and leaning over so I cut it back. Today, the other two blooms aren''t looking so hot either. The tiny little flowers aren''t as close together as they were and the tiny stems to them all are kind of limp. I water it everyday but not too much. It''s on my covered, fenced in patio so I don''t *think* its getting too much sunlight. Is it getting too little maybe? I''ve put some lime juice into its water because I found a website saying that would help it turn blue from the pink it is right now. I didn''t want to burn the roots so I mixed it into the water really well. Is this all normal and am I just worrying for nothing? I would hate to kill this hydrangea.
 

neatfreak

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Might be watering them too much. Only water when you put a finger in the soil a few inches down and it feels dry. Moist is what you want, not wet.
 

oobiecoo

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Date: 3/18/2009 5:06:50 PM
Author: neatfreak
Might be watering them too much. Only water when you put a finger in the soil a few inches down and it feels dry. Moist is what you want, not wet.
Moist is what the little label thingie said... I didn''t know I should be sticking my finger in the dirt though. I was just looking at whether or not the top looked dry. I''ll start doing that... thanks!
 

soocool

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Couple of questions:

You are keeping it outside. Where do you live (climate?)
When you bought the plant was it outside to begin with? If not, you need to acclimate it to the outdoors. (Difference in indoor vs outdoor temps)

Is your covered patio shady enough? Hydrangea doesn''t link direct light (no southern exposure). Eastern, western or northwestern are fine. I have my in a southern exposure but they are in an area where there are lots of trees so it does not get any direcr sunlight.

Also, what most likely happened is that you overwatered it. Stick a pencil, straw, finger deep into the soil and see if it is moist. If so the roots are fine,so step away from the pot...it doesn''t need any more water. As for the lime juice???? When the plant is big enough buy some Miracid (ferlizer with an acidifier) if you want blue blooms. I assume you want to eventually plant it outdoors?? or do you want to keep it potted?

Will the place where you bought the plant replace it free of charge if it''s dead? Some places will replace it if it dies after a few weeks. Sometimes you just get a bad plant.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I got spots on mine last summer and did research on a hygrangea site and they said I over watered it. They have pictures to help you determine the problem. They are more fragile.
 

oobiecoo

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Date: 3/18/2009 7:34:58 PM
Author: soocool
Couple of questions:


You are keeping it outside. Where do you live (climate?)

When you bought the plant was it outside to begin with? If not, you need to acclimate it to the outdoors. (Difference in indoor vs outdoor temps)


Is your covered patio shady enough? Hydrangea doesn''t link direct light (no southern exposure). Eastern, western or northwestern are fine. I have my in a southern exposure but they are in an area where there are lots of trees so it does not get any direcr sunlight.


Also, what most likely happened is that you overwatered it. Stick a pencil, straw, finger deep into the soil and see if it is moist. If so the roots are fine,so step away from the pot...it doesn''t need any more water. As for the lime juice???? When the plant is big enough buy some Miracid (ferlizer with an acidifier) if you want blue blooms. I assume you want to eventually plant it outdoors?? or do you want to keep it potted?


Will the place where you bought the plant replace it free of charge if it''s dead? Some places will replace it if it dies after a few weeks. Sometimes you just get a bad plant.

I live in Texas... I purchased the plant from Lowes and they had it sitting outside, not shaded. I''ve alternated it between inside and outside because it nearly froze here for a couple of nights. The patio is covered and the wooden fence is tall so there is only like a 2-3 feet opening where sunlight can come in. Does that seem like enough or too much? I think my patio faces east. I added the lime juice because I wasn''t sure I could keep this thing alive and didn''t want to spend any extra $$ trying to get it to change colors. I will if it stays alive though. I plan on keeping it potted for a while since we don''t have a yard.


tacori- Do you remember the website you used? I''ve looked at some but haven''t seen many pictures of plants with problems.
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
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I buy plants from Lowes and Home Depot and they are good about replacing them if they die. If you kept you receipt you may be able to get another one.
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
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20,038
oob, I do not remember the website but it was devoted to my fav. flower...hydrangeas. They remind me of my wedding. Also a mistake I made was watering it mid day when it was the hottest. Keep in mind this was during the summer but that can burn the leaves/blooms. I just googled hydrangea help (or something like that) and there it was.
 

Gailey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2008
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3,778
Date: 3/18/2009 5:02:54 PM
Author:oobiecoo
Admittedly, I''ve not been good with plants lately but I have been trying REALLY hard to care for this hydrangea I bought a couple of weeks ago. It had 3 blooms and I noticed yesterday that one''s stem was kind of limp and leaning over so I cut it back. Today, the other two blooms aren''t looking so hot either. The tiny little flowers aren''t as close together as they were and the tiny stems to them all are kind of limp. I water it everyday but not too much. It''s on my covered, fenced in patio so I don''t *think* its getting too much sunlight. Is it getting too little maybe? I''ve put some lime juice into its water because I found a website saying that would help it turn blue from the pink it is right now. I didn''t want to burn the roots so I mixed it into the water really well. Is this all normal and am I just worrying for nothing? I would hate to kill this hydrangea.
Oobiecoo

You''ve got a couple of things going on here with your hydrangea. By the sound of it you bought a beautiful plant that was already in bloom when you bought it. These plants are specifically bred for the floristry trade in highly artificial conditions, so your chances of success at maintaining the plant the same way is very low, but not your fault. That doesn''t mean you won''t be able to get it to grow, it''s probably in total shock right now and has expended the reserves it had to keep it looking the way you bought it.

But no need to give up on it. Hydrangeas don''t like direct sunlight, but they don''t want to be in dark shade either. Dappled sunlight is best and early morning sun is also ok. Part of the reason they don''t like the sun is because they are very thirsty. If your plant is getting too dried out, the leaves would be dull and limp, as opposed to firm with a sheen on them. By the sound of it that''s probably not the issue, but don''t over water it and don''t leave it standing in water either.

It is more than likely that you will lose the top growth anyway, whatever you do, as the plant acclimatises to its new surroundings and conditions. I would stop giving the plant lime juice straight away. Turning a hydrangea from pink to blue is not an instantaneous or simple process. First of all you need to know the pH of the water you are giving it. Chances are if it''s tap water (out of a faucet) then it may well be on the alkaline side. In which case you will need to dilute the water with aluminium sulphate, which you should be able to buy in a garden centre. But in all honesty, if you want to keep this plant, I would concentrate on getting it healthy first and worry about the colour issue later.

Consider the size of the pot that it is in. I would gently tap the pot off and take a look at the roots. Is the bottom of the pot a mass of roots? If so, re-pot it into a larger pot. If you do have a floristry grown hydrangea it may well be in a 6"-8" pot which is not big enough to support long term growth.

A hydrangea is a flowering shrub that in nature only flowers once a year and as such will do best if planted in the garden. That''s not to say that they don''t do well in planters, but getting this one back to it''s original glory is probably going to take you a year or so.

Floristry hydrangeas generally don''t make good long term plants. It may be simpler to go to a garden centre and buy one that has been bred and grown for the long term.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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10,541
Gailey I may need your guidance once the weather changes here in the NE US. I''ve got 3 hydrangeas outside right now (1 two seasons-old and 2 1-season old) and the older one had some issues last year (very slow to grow back/flower). I''m hoping it was just the plant getting acclimated, but who knows.

Oobie-I have the opposite problem as you. I WANT mauve flowers, but my soil is acidic so they turn blueish. You might want to consider just buying a blue hydrangea if you end up replacing your current one.
 

Gailey

Ideal_Rock
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Date: 3/19/2009 2:02:35 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
Gailey I may need your guidance once the weather changes here in the NE US. I''ve got 3 hydrangeas outside right now (1 two seasons-old and 2 1-season old) and the older one had some issues last year (very slow to grow back/flower). I''m hoping it was just the plant getting acclimated, but who knows.

Oobie-I have the opposite problem as you. I WANT mauve flowers, but my soil is acidic so they turn blueish. You might want to consider just buying a blue hydrangea if you end up replacing your current one.
Hi Hawk

Ancient chinese garden proverb say: "1st year it creeps, 2nd year it sleeps, 3rd year it leaps". I''ve no idea where I''ve heard that but I seem to have known it forever. If your hydrangea was just slow, I wouldn''t worry about it just yet, so long as you have it opimumly placed (bright dappled shade, bit of early morning sun, moist soil). I would give them a good top dressing with a rich organic compost and see what this year brings. Do you know which varieties you have? If you know the names I could do some reasearch and see if there are any known or reported issues.

Off the top of my head, I would think adding a bit of garden lime might help with the colour issue, but I''ll see what I can find out and report back.
 

Gailey

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
3,778
Date: 3/19/2009 2:02:35 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
Gailey I may need your guidance once the weather changes here in the NE US. I''ve got 3 hydrangeas outside right now (1 two seasons-old and 2 1-season old) and the older one had some issues last year (very slow to grow back/flower). I''m hoping it was just the plant getting acclimated, but who knows.

Oobie-I have the opposite problem as you. I WANT mauve flowers, but my soil is acidic so they turn blueish. You might want to consider just buying a blue hydrangea if you end up replacing your current one.
A blue one won''t stay blue unless you give it the acidic, ericaceous conditions it wants. Maybe Oobie and H. Hawk should consider a house swap!
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
Yep any blue hydrangea will turn pink with the wrong soil, and vice versa. Sometimes if I don't monitor my soil, I'll get greenish blue blooms, which are kind of fun. I am not a fan of the pink.

My hydreangea hates too much sun. It also hates too little water. When the stems get limp and flowers separate typically mine needs more water. It will dry out in a day from too much sun.

Also if you got a plant from like a shopping center or something, it was probably artifically forced to flower out of it's season, and the plant is most likely quite stressed out because of it. If you want it to live and flourish, I'd cut the blooms off. Then, plant it in the ground or a much larger pot, with the right kind of soil, with lots of mulch and manure and let it do it's thing. Mine only flowers once a year, sometimes twice (spring and fall) in our California climate. Partial sun would be best in a hot climate or a very dry hot climate then only morning sun and maybe for an hour or so max.

They are pretty sturdy though, if they have water and the right environment. I have 'almost killed' mine about 6 times since I have had it in the 10 years, it has always been in a pot, but this year I am so excited about getting it into the ground and letting it go crazy!
 
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