Zoom2Shefali
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Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:53 pm

Newbie post... My Hydrangea is dying...please help

Hi All,

I am a newbie Gardner starting with a few container plants on patio. I bought this beautiful healthy Hydrangea 2 months back.
First the leaves started curling, now most of older leaves that came with plant have curled and dried. It does have lots of new small leaves and shoots but some of them have also started drying.

I live in Arizona (zone 9). Temperature these days is between 105-110 so I keep it in partial shade and water everyday.

Please help. I don't want it to die :(

Thanks in advance !
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Algida
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Re: Newbie post... My Hydrangea is dying...please help

Hi,
Does the soil in the pot dry during the day (before watering)?

luis_pr
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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

Re: Newbie post... My Hydrangea is dying...please help

I feel your pain. This is a bad end of the week... from Indianapolis to Denver to Montana to Minneapolis and Chicago. Very hot. Weird too because Texas is usually included and we are just going to hit a measly 93 or 94.

The plant seems to be having trouble with the weather and also with uneven watering. It is not used to be in your/mine hot environments and it will take 1-3 years to become established in the garden. Specidically, it is used to being in a protected plant nursery where it gets little sun and water as needed. Its root system has been pruned to fir into the pot so it cannot absorb as much water as needed when needed.

Place the plant where it gets morning sun until 11am-ish. You can also place it in full shade if it is bright shade. Try to maintain the soil as evenly dry as possible. That means prevent having times where the soil is dry then wet then dry again, etc. Below are some general guidelines:

* in the ground, make sure the plants have 3-4 inches of organic mulch up to the drip line so the soil moisture will last longer and the roots will be protected from extreme heat and cold. I also sprinkle mulch in pots.

* consider watering 1.5 gallons of water per plant per watering when in the ground. In potted plants, water until you see water coming from the bottom; pause; water again.

* windy days and thigh temps will cause wilting of leaves and faster drying of the soil so place the pot where it is not windy. A minor wind of 5-10mph can dry them out quickly when the temps are above 100. You may even need to water more than once a day.

* to tell if you need to water, use the finger method: insert a finger into the potting soil to a depth of 3-4" and see if it feels dry, moist or wet. Water if it feels dry or almost dry. If feels wet or moist, it is fine and no extra water is needed at that time. Again, you may even need to water more than once a day during the worst time of the summer.

* if the soil is moist when wilting happens, the plant will recover on its own by night or next morning. Wilting happens when the big leaves loose water via evaporation faster than the roots can absorb water. It is a plant defense mechanism but they sure can look like they are hurting when you add a sunny location, high temps and winds.

* Wilting episodes run the course at night and by next morning if the soil is moist so when I see mine suffering, I use the finger method to check and leave them alone if the soil is moist. Again, remember winds will make wilting worse so if you can, water the night before the weather service says there will be wind advisories.

* if you see an extreme wilting episode then give it half a gallon of water immediately. Next time, check to see if the soil really needs water and water only then.

* probably not a good idea to add high nitrogen fertilizers during hot weather. But a low N fertilizer might be ok. Continue fertilizing potted plants if it is time to fertilize but, again, a lower N fert might be better.

* consider permanently moving sensitive plants in pots and containers to less windy and more shaded locations.

Zoom2Shefali
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Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: Newbie post... My Hydrangea is dying...please help

Thank you so much for your reply. It's is very detailed and informative...I feel a little hope for my plant now :)
I will follow all above points. My patio doesn't get morning sun, so I am keeping it in evening sun and in shade during afternoon.

Thank you so so much !!

Zoom2Shefali
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Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: Newbie post... My Hydrangea is dying...please help

Hi Algida...yes I let it dry before watering. But it's very dry and hot in Arizona these days.

luis_pr
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Posts: 814
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Hurst, TX USA Zone 7b/8a

Re: Newbie post... My Hydrangea is dying...please help

Well, you and I live in very hot summer locations so to answer your question, IN THE SUMMER, I would not wait for it to dry out before watering.

Instead, I would use the finger method (or you can also try moisture meters although I do not like them because they do not appear to be very accurate) and develop a feel for what "almost dry soil" feels like. Then water when the soil feels almost dry. You should use the finger method in the mornings, at about the same time (6-8am perhaps), so you can compare how the soil feels from one day to the other.

In the Spring and in the Fall, when it rains here, I can be more restrictive with the water. The reason for limiting the waterings is to prevent root rot in plants that sit in wet soil IN THE GROUND. The chances of that happening where you and I live in the summer, and on a potted plant, is usually negligible so again, in the summer, you can water again as a precaution if the soil feels "almost dry". If not sure, in the summer when temps are over 95 or so, water. As long as the exit holes in the pots are not clogged in the summer, the chances of getting root rot in pots are low.

Signs of trouble: the leaves begin to brown out from the edges inwards (needs water). Or the blooms brown out first without going thru their normal plethora of color changes first (say from pink/blue to a mix of greens and other shades of pinks, ending at some point in brown): needs water and in general, it is too hot and gets too much sun. Leaves wilting 24/7 and does not recover at night after you water it...indicates root rot.

Evening sun can also be bad so monitor the plant. Our normal summer temperatures have very high temps at night, like from 5pm (highest temp) until sun down (9pm-ish) when temps come down to 100. So also consider doing what some people also do, which is to use pots for the plants and then enclose a pot within another pot (say, use a squarish wooden and bigger pot to enclose a wide pot where the plant resides). That way, the plant's pot does not receive the hot direct sun and the sun does not start to bake/harm the roots.

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