Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

My Hydrangeas Are Sad

Posted on | July 14, 2009 | 10 Comments

Sad Hydrangeas in Mid-July

Sad Hydrangeas in Mid-July

My hydrangeas are sad. They’re just not growing and they seem to be wilting this past week. I know hydrangeas do wilt in the hot weather but we’ve only hit 75, maybe? I think their just not getting enough sun. Greg took down a few tree branches to let in more light but it’s still too shady. I want to move them over to my patio but I’m afraid it’s too late? Will the heat (it could get hot) zap them? One of the bushes has some major bite marks. We’ve had an extremely wet spring and summer in New England. It could be slugs? Any advice? Should I just move them or wait till the fall?

Below two of my favorite photos of hydrangeas I just discovered over at marthastewart.com.

Display your hydrangeas in painted tin cans.

A gorgeous perennial border featuring a hydrangea.

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10 Responses to “My Hydrangeas Are Sad”

  1. Erica
    July 14th, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

    I love the GardenWeb site, it's very helpful for new gardeners or gardeners who just have odd questions. I would suggest going to the hydrangea forum and asking your questions… photos help!

    Here's a link:



  2. the Preppy Princess
    July 14th, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

    Love this post, probably because we love hydrangeas so much! Ours have a little bit of the leaf infestation, surprisingly no slug attacks despite the incredibly wet weather. We're thinking it is the Japanese beetle thing on ours. :(

    Yours are still pretty though, Miss Katie!



  3. Lisa
    July 14th, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

    Hi Katie:

    I am a new reader/subscriber/lurker. I also happen to work at a garden center and am a master gardener in NH. So, it looks to me as though there isn't nearly enough soil for hydrangeas there. They should tolerate fairly dense shade – water is their biggest requirement. You should be able to move them, just get as big a root ball as you can and make sure to keep them watered. Looks like we are getting rain on Thursday, so maybe move them tomorrow. They are definitely getting eaten as well. With the wet we have had, look for slugs before you plant anything else there – try hostas or something with a smaller root ball. If that is the side of the driveway, you will be better off with something that dies back anyway. email me if you have further questions/want advice. :) Good luck! demio@comcast.net


  4. abigail
    July 14th, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

    hydrangeas take some time to get established.
    the first year we planted our hydrangeas would look sad almost every afternoon. After one year they only looked sad on really hot days, and now, after two years they look great all the time!
    I am not very good at it myself, but with gardening it helps to be patient. Give them lots of water, pick the flowers so the plants have more energy to grow roots and give them a year or two. :)


  5. Anonymous
    July 14th, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

    I'm not a master gardener but think Lisa is probably right. As far as I know they do fine in shade but that is probably too small an area for a good root mass.


  6. katy elliott
    July 15th, 2009 @ 8:28 am

    Thanks guys for all your great tips. I think it could be #1 not enough soil in the area or #2 could just be the hydrangeas are still getting established. They loved all the rain we got and maybe my watering job is not long enough.

    I'm away next week so I'll leave them for now.


  7. Anonymous
    July 15th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

    Hi Katy. Although I'm not a master gardener, I do know quite a bit about hydrangeas and gardening. I currently have 8 different varieties in my yard. Really no need to move them. They are a very hardy plant. But if they are the Endless Summer variety (one of my favorites!) they will get quite a bit bigger, assuming these are new plants. If they were not getting enough sun, they wouldn't be blooming so much. Hydrangeas like partial shade. They look to be new plants. It takes a couple of years to establish strong stems but be patient – in one or two years they will be fine. They do require quite a bit of water. Give them more to drink and they won't flag quite so much. A dose of fertilzer mid-summer will keep the leaves greener too. As for the bugs, see if you can spot the type of bug–probably a beetle. That's an easy fix. if they are Japanese beetles (and it is time for them to appear) I simply pick them off and put them in a glass filled with soapy water to kill them. Good luck! They will make it.


  8. Anonymous
    July 17th, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    I wonder if there is any problem at all? The leaves look healthy. Perhaps the heavy blooms are simply falling down and once dead-headed, perhaps the bushes will be fine. Next year the branches should be larger and sturdier.


  9. taylordillard82
    July 17th, 2009 @ 10:26 am

    We had a major slug problem with our hydrangeas. You can find out if you have slugs by going out to inspect them with a flashlight after dark.


  10. Lynne
    July 18th, 2009 @ 5:32 am

    I don't know a lot about hydrangeas except what I have gleaned from having inherited two enormous ones in my back garden. They tolerate extremes of wet and dry soils, and hot and cold weathers. They lose all their leaves over winter. They need hard pruning when the first leaf buds start forming, then they come back beautifully bushy and flower prolifically.

    I agree with Lisa about the room though. The root crowns alone on mine would not fit into the space you have yours planted in.


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