Roger Benson
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:34 pm
Location: Minnesota

Faded Leaf Color

I have a question about our Endless Summer Hydrangea we received as a gift a few years ago. It seems to be growing well enough each year and produces flowers. It gets plenty of morning sun, light, afternoon shade, and water (we have to baby it along all summer though). The problem that I see is that its leaves are two shades of green. The darkest green areas seem to be nearest the veins within the leaves, as a very definate branching pattern of dark green color is visible. The rest of the leaf surface is a much lighter green. I don't recall the leaves looking like this during the first year or two. Is this normal or am I missing something?

TheLorax
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

Hello and welcome to The Helpful Gardener.

I'll try my best to answer your question. I believe 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas are the same thing as hydrangeas sold as David Ramsey. I have two David Ramsey hydrangeas. Without a photo of the leaves, I'm going to take a guess you are describing mild chlorosis. Not a big deal.

I buy Hi-Yield Soil Sulfur for my hydrangeas. There are other brands but that's the one I prefer. About a half a cup every month should help this situation. Water the plant well after you apply the sulfur. Re-apply once every four weeks for the next 3 or 4 months. You won't begin to notice improvement over night but the leaves should begin improving within a month or so.

I don't know that you can test your pH but if you can, you'd want it to be around 6 ish. If it starts dropping below 5 ish, stop applying the sulfur.

Just out of curiosity, did you notice the discolored leaves toward the bottom of the plant or toward the top of the plant first before it spread to other areas of your hydrangea?

Best wishes to you.

Toms92gp
Senior Member
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:46 pm
Location: Louisburg, NC zone 7b

If your soil ph is good and there is not a lack of iron in the soil, To much water can cause what you are describing too from what I read on a book I just finished reading. If its wilting when the soil is still fairly damp its probably getting to much water. My general rule for watering is a good soaking once a week in hot weather, less in cooler weather, If I get 3/4" of rain or more in a week I won't water. To much water can promote root rot and its much harder for a plant to recover from over watering verses not enough water. I guess the best thing to do it to do a soil test near the hydrangia to see what the condition of the soil is. You local Ag department in most states will give you a kit to get samples and test the soil for you for free.

TheLorax
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

Minnesota hasn't been hammered with rains. Only the Midwest. He also indicated the plant seemed to be growing well enough each year and producing blooms. A plant that has a failing root system from water issues may very well bloom as a last ditch effort to reproduce under stressful conditions but it won't generally put out any new growth after that. At least that's been my experience and I'm in the Midwest where we have been forced to deal with heavy rains and severe flooding the past few years. Although over-watering and too much rain can certainly cause issues, I don't believe that's what's going on here.

Photos of the plant and leaves are always best if available however I think Roger Benson described classic iron chlorosis, "The problem that I see is that its leaves are two shades of green. The darkest green areas seem to be nearest the veins within the leaves, as a very definate branching pattern of dark green color is visible. The rest of the leaf surface is a much lighter green."

I think based on the above it's probably safe to skip a drive to the county extension office to test the soil because hydrangea leaves depicting iron chlorosis routinely retain green veins as described by Roger Benson.

Here's a link that helps describe differences in leaves associated with chlorosis-
https://msucares.com/newsletters/pests/infobytes/19990128.htm

The above article recommends the use of chelated iron or ferrous iron sulfate for immediate results. The application of either would be a quick fix. I still believe the sulfur is the way to go because it corrects the deficiencies for the long haul so this doesn't happen again next year. I suspect this problem began last year as the plant began establishing itself and maturing. If your leaves green up in a month or so, next year you might want to begin using sulfur on this particular plant starting in April.

Toms92gp
Senior Member
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 2:46 pm
Location: Louisburg, NC zone 7b

Yeah from what I heard Most of MN has been missed by the flooding rains, but Iowa to Wisconsin down to Missouri and IL has been hit hard. You are getting all the rain up there, Around here we have been in a reoccuring drought since around 2000. It will subside for a few months at a time then comes right back. I'm hopping we will get a good weak tropical system to dump some good heavy soaking rains here. I don't really have experince with Iron problems, the soild down here has alot of clay that is high in iron content. I had some friends down from the the midwest and one of the things they asked me was what all the red dirt was.

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