Native to Asia and America, the Hydrangea is a flowering plant belonging to the family Hydrangeaceae. The hydrangea plant produces varying colors of flowers depending on its species.
It is an annual plant whose production period usually starts from early spring and ends by late autumn, producing varying colors of flowers in relation to the soil acidity ratio. Usually, a soil acidity pH level below 7 will produce flowers that are blue or purple while an acidity pH level above 7 will produce flowers that are pink or red. This is to say that a gardener can grow his choice color of the hydrangea flower.
Now, isn’t that amazing? Isn’t it wonderful to have your home and probably garden, filled with only the colors of hydrangea flowers you love?
How would it feel to have your hydrangea plant bearing beautifully colored flowers, turn brown and wither away? Feels sad right?
In this article, I will be exploring the reasons for the browning of leaves in hydrangea and walking you through six solutions that can help resuscitate your hydrangea plant and restore the bloom once more.
Major reasons for hydrangea leaves turning brown
There are various reasons for the brown coloration of leaves in the hydrangea plant. Some of these reasons are peculiar to a time of the year, others are due to neglect, while a few are due to improper garden practice. Below is a list of common reasons for the browning of leaves in the hydrangea leaves:
1. Malnutrition: plants need nutrients from the soil to survive and grow properly; when they do not get enough of these nutrients, they decline in growth, grow weak, wilt, and die off.
This is the same for a hydrangea. The hydrangea plant needs moderate amounts of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus for adequate survival, growth, and reproduction.
When these nutrients no longer exist in adequate quantities in the soil, the hydrangea leaves begin to turn brown and might wilt if alternative means of providing these nutrients to the soil are not developed.
2. Dehydration: this is the reduction or total absence of water supply to the plant for long periods. Note that consistently moist soil is the best kind of soil to grow a hydrangea plant.
This is because the hydrangea plant cannot tolerate thirst for too long; the watering of a hydrangea plant should follow a consistent pattern that does not leave the plant going for weeks without a good drink.
When a hydrangea plant dehydrates, its leaves begin to turn from the normal beautiful green color to an ugly-looking brown color.
3. Too much heat from the sun: The hydrangea plant has its origin as a freshwater plant with abilities to survive underwater.
It does not tolerate excessive heat, especially from the sun. It is usually found growing as shrubs below grasses or on trees.
For indoor cultivated hydrangea plants; exposure to too much sunlight can scorch the leaves and brown the edges out
4. Over-application of fertilizer: The fact that the hydrangea plants require fertilizer does not mean that fertilizer should be applied indiscriminately.
Have you heard the dictum “too much of everything, kills”? I think the genius who thought about that, had the hydrangea plant in mind. “Fertilizer burn” happens when fertilizers are applied more than they are needed on the hydrangea plants.
An over-fertilized hydrangea plant leaf turns brown and soon dies out.
5. Very low temperatures: when the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius, it becomes unfavorable to the plant’s survival. This results in the leaves of the hydrangea plant turning brown and shrinking.
Browning and wilting of hydrangea plants due to water loss
The hydrangea plants require a lot of water to stay alive. Water loss in hydrangea plants is caused by one of the following:
3. Sandy soils
The hydrangea leaf has a large surface area with plenty of stomata which makes water loss through perspiration very rapid.
The activities of the wind and sunlight make the process even faster, especially when the soil is sandy one without good water holding capacity.
Water loss also occurs when water does not get transported on time from the roots of the plant to the leaves. The consequence of water loss in hydrangea is that the leave begins to turn brown, curl up, and wilt.
Six solutions to hydrangea leave turning brown and wilting
When your hydrangea plant begins to turn brown, here are a few tips to help restore its health and color:
1. Replant the hydrangea in a soil type that retains moisture.
2. Before replanting on new soil, ensure the soil has had a good application of compost manure a while back. This helps the genetic makeup of the hydrangea as it grows.
3. Water the plant regularly and thoroughly. Ideally, the hydrangea plant should be watered at least two times a week.
4. Move hydrangea plants away from areas with high wind action. You do not want the plant getting dehydrated faster than water travels from the root to the leaves.
5. Cut off dead brown leaves whose colors can no longer be restored. Do not throw the dead leaves away; rather use them as compost for the surviving plant.
6. Occasionally apply fertilizers to the soil to make up for used-up nutrients.
Why potted hydrangea leaves turn brown and wilt.
You already know that a potted hydrangea plant is a hydrangea plant grown in a plant pot, more like the use of a flower vase.
Generally, the potted hydrangea plant leaf turns brown and wilts, for the same reasons as every other hydrangea plant. But, the leaves of potted hydrangea plants are more likely to turn brown because of where they are planted. The leaves of a potted hydrangea plant will turn brown if:
1. The pot in which it is planted is too small
2. The roots of the plant do not have good access to moisture
3. Misting is not carried out frequently to make up for excess water loss
The solution to browning and wilting of potted hydrangea
The solution is a pretty easy one. All you need to do is, change the small pot previously used to plant, water the plants frequently, and ensure to mist the potted hydrangea often.
Scorching of the Hydrangea Plant Leaves and Flowers.
The hydrangea plant is not adapted to stay under high solar intensities. When the sun is too hot, it harms the hydrangea by scorching the leaves brown.
Hydrangeas grow best in areas with adequate shades and infrequent sunlight. To ensure your hydrangea flower grows well and produces flowers, keep it in areas around the house where there isn’t much sunlight.
Another solution to sun scorching of the hydrangea plant is to replant the hydrangea under a shade, tree, or in cooler sections of the garden.
Fertilizer burn on the hydrangea plant
Fertilizer burn is a condition where the fertilizer application on a plant is in proportions greater than what the plant requires for growth.
A sign of fertilizer burn in hydrangea is the edges of the leaves turning brown.
Fertilizer application is necessary for the growth and increased yield of the hydrangea plant, but an excessive application puts its life at risk.
The solution to fertilizer burn on the leaves of the hydrangea plant is to find the right fertilizer combination application, such that no nutrient is greater than the other in composition.
Also, ensure that you are not applying fertilizer too often. The fertilizer application should be in batches that allow the plant to use up the previous amounts applied before a new amount is applied.
Effects of cold weather on hydrangea buds
Cold temperatures do not favor the growth and germination of new hydrangea buds. Since they are tender, exposure to cold environments makes the leaves turn brown, wilt, and die off.
If you must plant your hydrangea during winter, it has to be in temperate areas of the garden or indoors where the cold isn’t so much. Also, trim away dead parts and let them stay on the flower pot soil; they eventually decompose and serve as compost manure to the rest of the plants.
Flowers and leaves turning brown from overhead watering
Misting is advised as a way of watering the hydrangea plant, but it should not be done using heavy droplets of water.
A sprinkler should be used at all times. Overhead watering of the hydrangea plants using heavy water droplets injures the leaves and flowers and makes them turn brown.
How Do You Revive a Dry Hydrangea?
To revive a dry hydrangea plant:
1. Water regularly and adequately at least two times a week
2. Use a fertilizer with balanced quantities of the various nutrients needed by the hydrangea flower.
3. Use a plant pot that is spacious enough to contain the plant and still allows for good moisture storage
4. Do not keep your plant in a region with high wind actions
5. Ensure to use a sprinkler if you have to practice overhead watering.
How do I get my hydrangeas white again?
Remember that the color of your hydrangea flower depends on the pH level of the soil. To get a white flower, ensure that the pH level is below 7. You can add a fertilizer rich in potassium as well to help.
Finally, I hope you understand why your hydrangea is turning brown and unattractive these days. Since you now know how to avert the browning of leaves in your hydrangea plant, you can go ahead to restore your hydrangea plant and watch it bloom beautifully.