davidchanty
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Location: Boston, MA

Help, is my new hydrangea dead?

Hi,
I'm new to this forum and newbie for gardening. This is my first time planting hydrangea. I leave in Boston area. I brought a 3 Gal blue hydrangea from a local garden store and planted under my big blackberry tree. The spot has a lot of sun in the early morning, and is total under the shadow in the afternoon. The plant looks great in the first 2 days, then the flower looks dead in the next afternoon. After that, the leaf does not look healthy at all. I watering 3 times per day only one min each time. I don't know what went wrong.

BTW, this is my first time buying from this highly rated local gardening store (not much choice in my town, either this or Home Depot). I also brought 2 other small plants together, they start showing the same problem. Is it the problem from transplant or how the store kept the flowers?

I attached the pictures I took this morning.
Thanks for any advice.
David the new gardener
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IMG_0779.JPG
IMG_0778.JPG

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Help, is my new hydrangea dead?

No probably not dead (yet). I think the wilting is probably a combination of transplant shock (common when plants are uprooted from one spot and moved to another spot, where they don't have roots out into the soil yet) and under watering.

Watering 1 minute three times a day sounds all wrong to me. That kind of watering encourages lots of shallow surface roots that readily dry out again. I suggest you start by watering the same one minute you have been doing. Then get your trowel out and dig down a little. See how deep the soil has been moistened. I'd be surprised if it was much more than an inch. What you want to be doing is deep watering less frequently, to encourage deeper rooting. Do your one minute of watering, let the water soak in for a minute and then repeat twice more. Now dig down and see how deep the soil is moistened. You want moist soil at least 4 - 6" down.

Summer is not the best time to be planting things anyway, especially if your weather is still hot and dry. You may still need to do your deep watering once a day, every day you don't get rain, until the plant starts putting out new roots. But check this, by doing your soil moisture test before you water. If the soil is still moist a few inches down, wait another day before watering.

Best wishes; let us know how your hydrangea fares! :)
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ButterflyLady29
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Re: Help, is my new hydrangea dead?

Was the plant outside in the garden center or inside the store or some sort of shelter? It could be a combination of not being hardened off and lack of water. And no, 1 minute 3x a day is not enough water. You're not giving it enough water to get the root zone soaked. Water longer with a gentle stream.

luis_pr
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Re: Help, is my new hydrangea dead?

You need to water it manually on Year 0, especially if you plant it in the middle of the summer.

In the plant nurseries, they water these guys daily but once you put them in the ground, they suffer from transplant shock. Their small roots cannot absorb soil moisture as fast as the large leaves loose moisture. So, monitor the soil often in the Summer & water the plant if the soil feels dry or almost dry when you insert a finger into the ground to a depth of 4". In the summer, give it 1.5 gallons of water per watering (50% more than that if the soil is sandy) or 1gallon in Spring/Fall. Once the plant goes dormant, water it weekly or every two weeks but stop if your soil freezes.

Due to the small root system, it is critical that you water it at least once a week manually; do it early in the morning and water the soil (never the leaves) from all sides of the root ball outwards.

davidchanty
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:52 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Help, is my new hydrangea dead?

Thanks everyone. I start watering more as suggested and checked the soil after each time. Now the plant is start growing again. Although there are still some dry leave and flower, but it's much healthier than before. Thanks, you guys saved a life.
This is how it looks this morning
Attachments
Some leaves still looks dry
Some leaves still looks dry
medium flowerhead looks good
medium flowerhead looks good
large flowerhead starts to grow again
large flowerhead starts to grow again
there are also new flowerhead
there are also new flowerhead

luis_pr
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Re: Help, is my new hydrangea dead?

Some of the leaves may not "recover" and would brown out. You can cut them at the petiole (not at the stem). The blooms may also start turning colors as they fade. Usually it progresses thru several ones ending in brown. In future years, as the roots extend past the potting soil into your ground soil, the blooms' color will reflect the acidity of your soil and the amount of aluminum in your soil. This will make the blooms shades of pink in alkaline soils and shades of blue in acidic soils. For neutral soils, a combination of colors including purple may happen.

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