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Why is my Hydrangea Wilting? [Causes & Fixes]

Although Hydrangeas are not particularly vulnerable to diseases, they are pretty sensitive to extreme growing conditions, only to wilt. 

Hydrangeas may wilt from moisture stress when exposed to full sun for long hours. Similarly, plants will wilt from inadequate watering, temperature fluctuation, and insufficient lighting.

Although short-term wilting is usual with drought-stressed plants, occasional wilting will do more harm to the plant.

Also, prolonged drought will dry the plant, only to cause the wilting, pushing back growth, and eventually even dying. 

How to Revive Wilted Hydrangea Plant? [Causes & Fixes]

It is not natural for these temperate plants to display wilting blooms until the aging the plants. 

The Bigleaf Hydrangeas are the worst defenders to stressing condition including wilting.

Though Smooth Hydrangeas and Oakleaf Hydrangeas can tolerate a bit, Panicle hydrangeas are the real winner to confront the drooping and wilting condition. 

wilted blooming hydrangea plant
Hydrangea plant under full sun for long hours and lack of moisture can cause it to wilt.

Since the heavy Hydrangea flower loads let tender branches touch the ground only to destroy the plants, care to look at these possible causes to fix them.

1. Heat Stress or Drought

Drooping stems and wilted blooms are the tell-tale signs of a dry plant that will return to its perky self after watering.

Heat stress is one of the primary reasons for a wilting plant, but if your plant fails to return to its natural state, you should know it suffers from heat stress.

A drought encourages Hydrangea to open the Stomata (the tiny openings or pores in the plant to let in carbon dioxide) to absorb moisture from the air.

However, instead of gaining moisture, the plant starts losing more water.

Without water for days, the Hydrangea will lose water exponentially, causing it to dry out sooner.

Practical Solutions

  • As an immediate solution, deep water your plant, move it to a shaded area, and wait for it to revive.
  • Keep the soil moist until it comes back to life.
  • Install a drip irrigation system to keep the potting mix moist and prevent drought problems in the future.
  • Most plants will thrive after a few hours, but if they fail to come back to life even after a few days, consider them dead.
Are you worried if your Hydrangea is dead, here are a few tips to find out if your plant is dead or only dormant.

2. Insufficient Lighting

Hydrangea loves sunny locations that receive at least 6-8 hours of indirect sunlight each day.

They grow best in partial shade with a bit of direct morning sun.

Without proper lighting, your plant will struggle with photosynthesis to keep the blooms looking healthy and use up nutrients to produce new blossoms.

wilting hydrangea outside
A weak stem with wilted blooms is often the primary sign of insufficient lighting.

Moreover, insufficient lighting over long periods may affect its ability to convert light, oxygen, and water into carbon dioxide; thus, impacting healthy growth.

Practical Solutions

  • Do not move your plant to full sun to compensate for insufficient lighting as it may burn the blooms instead.
  • Moving to a location that receives enough indirect sunlight at least six hours a day may help to revive the plant.
  • Place them in an east or west-facing window that receives mild direct sunlight.
  • Move them to the south-facing window during the day that receives partial sunlight throughout the day.
If sunlight seems scarce during monsoon and winter, consider moving them indoors under the growing LED light for around 12 hours a day.

3. Dehydrated Plant

An improper watering schedule in the growing season is a significant culprit for plant dehydration.

However, watering alone does not ensure plant hydration; you should look into the weather and soil conditions equally.

Dry weather and compact soil encourage plants to stop retaining enough water, causing plant saps to dry out pretty sooner.

A potting mix that contains a significant amount of sand and inorganic materials will dry out quickly compared to a composted, aerated mix.

Over time the potting mix will loosen the nutrients and microorganisms that will turn the soil compact and stale, requiring repotting.

Practical Solutions

  • Introduce organic matter into the soil to improve moisture retention. Organic matters like compost, perlite, and wood chirps assist the soil in retaining more moisture.
  • Use regular soil with perlite or pumice for a potting mix to keep the soil aerated. An aerated soil lets out excess moisture and prevents soil from compacting.
  • Prevent excessive water transpiration by balancing the sun and shade and moving the plant to a shaded location in the day and direct sunlight in the morning.
  • The soil requires changing after it loses the drainage ability after a year or two. Repot the plant in a fresh mix if the soil seems stale and compacted.
  • Introduce mulch when repotting to conserve moisture. Spread mulch 2 to 4″ but keep them 2″ away from the base of the plants. 
Water your Hydrangeas about one inch per week or 3 times a week during spring and summer and once a month during winter. 

4. Over Fertilization

The first rule of Hydrangea care is to not over-fertilize the plant.

Over-fertilizing Hydrangea will primarily burn the root system of the Hydrangea bushes and stunt its growth.

It may also leave toxins in the soil, making it difficult for feeder roots to take up water and nutrients; thus, causing wilted blooms and weaker stems.

Although too much nitrogen may inhibit bloom production, it may also lead to droopy flower heads caused by spindly growth.

Practical Solutions

  • Flush the soil with as much water as the pot will hold over a few days to remove excess fertilizer.
  • If the plant seems to be severely stressed, your only solution is to repot the plant in fresh potting soil.
  • Always use a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength when feeding Hydrangea plants.
  • Switch to all-purpose fertilizer like Miracle-Gro Plant Food or balanced 10-10-10 granular fertilizer.
  • Feed your plant just before spring when it begins to leaf out and the second time in the monsoon to boost foliage growth.
  • If new blooms look heavier than the stem and overall plant, it means the plant is getting too much nitrogen.
  • Switch to the fertilizer with phosphorus and potassium with less nitrogen so your plant can grow evenly.
Provide Hydrangeas with a slow-release fertilizer twice a year in spring and early fall. 

5. Wrong Sized Container

Too big a container means more water will be available in the soil, and too small a pot means the water will dry up quickly.

However, neither big nor small containers are appropriate for Hydrangea plants because they do not fare well with waterlogging or drought conditions.

hydrangea in pot
When the soil dries out, there will be less moisture available to Hydrangea plant.

Hydrangea is a rapidly growing plant that spreads its roots quickly; thus, engulfing the pot pretty quickly.

Practical Solutions

  • Choose an appropriately sized pot for mature Hydrangeas. A large container at least 18 to 20 inches in diameter should be enough.
  • When repotting the plant, choose a pot 2 inches larger than the previous pot to give enough space for the root growth.
  • Choose containers made from clay, ceramic, or terracotta to encourage air circulation and expel excess moisture. Alternatively, you can use plastic pots with enough drainage holes.

Here are a few recommendations for you.

Classis Planter (Plastic)They are durable and lightweight. The drainage holes lie at the bottom
LE TAUCI Ceramic Plant Pots4+5+6 inch, Set of 3, Planters with holes in the bottom
Plastic Planter, HOMENOTEComes in five different sizes 7/6/5.5/4.8/4.5 Inch

6. Damaged Roots

Although rare, damaged roots during transplanting may cause wilted blooms. Especially, newly planted Hydrangea face this. 

If your Hydrangea blooms start wilting and dying immediately after transplanting, you should know that their roots are damaged from transplanting.

Here are a few causes of transplant stress.

  • Excessive pruning of feeder roots may damage the root system, preventing them from absorbing water and oxygen from the soil.
  • Using unsterilized pruning shear may infect the root, inviting bacterial infections that eat up healthy feeder roots.
  • Transplanting at the wrong time of the year, especially in winter, may also invite plant stress.
  • Overwatering the plant invites waterlogging problems that cause root rot. With the roots unable to suck up oxygen, the plant will start wilting.

Practical Solutions

  • Avoid under or overwatering your plant to prevent the waterlogging and drought conditions.
  • Transplant your Hydrangea either in spring or early fall to avoid plant stress.
  • Repot the Hyadrangeas every year or two. 
  • Use rubbing alcohol to sterilizer the pruning shear before and after trimming plant roots.
  • Do not excessively prune feeder roots when transplanting as it may set back the root growth. As per the rule of thumb, cut only about half an inch of roots.
Are you Supposed to Cut Back Hydrangeas? Learn Why!

7. Pests and Disease Infestation

Some plant pests and diseases may also cause wilting of Hydrangea.

Mainly Fusarium and Verticillium fungi in the soil may infect the plant through the roots and prevent water from reaching the flowers and leaves.

They may infest healthy Hydrangeas from infected transplants or contaminated equipment.

Likewise, pests like aphids and scale suck juices from plant leaves, flowers, and stems, leaving them dry and wilted.

Nematode worms, on the other hand, infest roots that cause wilting of plants.

Practical Solutions

  • Stop bringing fresh cuts from the garden inside your home.
  • Avoid keeping outdoor plants close to the Hydrangea bushes.
  • Sterilize the equipment and container before repotting the plant.
  • Use insecticidal soap or Neem oil to treat aphid, scale, and nematode infestation.
  • Apply fungicide containing amphotericin B, vorionazole and posaconazole to treat fusarium and verticillium fungi.

If your Hydrangea has yellow leaves, learn tips to treat and prevent them

From Editorial Team


Hydrangea plants are a fantastic addition to your home, where they produce showy blooms that last throughout the year.

However, neglecting their watering schedule, lighting needs, and other growing conditions will quickly wilt their blooms.

Therefore, be extra careful about caring for these sensitive plants by providing the best possible growing conditions at all times.

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