How to Revive a Wilting Hydrangea

Dry soil is the most frequent cause of hydrangeas wilting. To keep their leaves and blossoms from drooping in hot weather, hydrangeas need continuously moist soil and frequent watering. Hydrangeas wilt because small pots dry out too quickly and can’t contain enough moisture.

Give the soil a good soaking, add a layer of mulch to help conserve water, and place your hydrangea in a spot that is out of the wind and receives either dappled light or early sun followed by afternoon shade to help it recover from wilting.

The most typical causes of wilting hydrangeas are listed in the following table:

Hydrangea that is fadingThe cause of a wilting hydrangea is:
Due to the drought, hydrangeas are wilting:When the soil is dry, either from lack of watering or from soil that drains too quickly, hydrangeas soon wilt because they need the soil to be continually moist around the roots.
A lot of sun:The best light for hydrangeas is early sun, followed by afternoon shadow or dappled light. When the leaves receive too much sun, they wilt and turn brown.
Hydrangea in Tiny Containers:Hydrangea roots cannot absorb moisture in small pots because they heat up too soon.
Potted Hydrangeas without Base Drain Holes:Although they cannot withstand overly wet soil that can lead to root rot, hydrangeas need continuously moist soil.
Wilting Hydrangea After Planting:Transplant shock frequently causes hydrangeas to wilt after planting. The hydrangea leaves can wilt as a result of differences in soil, ventilation, temperature, and sunlight. Before absorbing moisture, roots need time to develop themselves.
Roots from competing plants that compete:Your hydrangea’s roots may compete with those of surrounding plants for water and nutrients, which could cause it to wilt.
Overuse of Fertilizer:Using fertilizer too frequently or in excess amounts can make your hydrangea grow slowly and produce fewer flowers.
A lot of windNatural hydrangea growth occurs in wind-protected wooded areas. The huge hydrangea leaves wilt when there is too much wind because it depletes their hydration.

Continue reading to find out what is making your hydrangea wilt and how to use the remedies to give it a second chance.

Hydrangea Wilting Due to Dry Soil Conditions

The word “hydrangea” comes from the Greek word “hydra,” which means “water,” indicating the environment that hydrangea plants prefer.

Drought stress brought on by poor soil, a lack of hydration or rainfall, and excessive heat is the most frequent cause of a wilting hydrangea. For hydrangeas to prevent looking wilted, the soil must remain constantly moist around the root system.

Natural habitats for hydrangea growth include woodlands with dappled light and soil rich in organic matter (leaf mold), which traps a lot of moisture around the roots.

The leaves of your hydrangea may sear brown and wilt if it is in full light, sun throughout the middle of the day, or sun in the afternoon (when temperatures are at their maximum). This is because the huge leaves are losing more moisture than the roots can absorb.

The hydrangea leaves and flowers wilt due to dry soil conditions caused by sandy or stony soils that drain too quickly for the roots to draw up moisture.

Due to their high requirement for moisture, hydrangeas are often one of the first garden plants to experience withering leaves during a heat wave or drought.

Therefore, it’s crucial to mimic their ideal environments in your yard in order to prevent hydrangeas from wilting.

How to Revive a Wilting Hydrangea Suffering Drought Stress

  • If the hydrangea is in a pot, plant, transplant, or relocate it to a location with morning sun and afternoon shade (or dappled light during day). The hydrangea is protected from the warmest part of the day in the afternoon with shade, which prevents scorching and wilting of the leaves. Morning sun guarantees the hydrangea has enough sunlight to display flowers.
  • In order to give the hydrangea’s root system time to grow in the soil without having to deal with sweltering Summer heat, it is recommended to transplant hydrangeas in the Spring or Fall rather than in the Summer. If your hydrangea is wilting in the summer, I would suggest temporarily shading it in the afternoons until it is safe to transplant the hydrangea in the fall when temperatures are cooler so it has the best chance of recovering.
  • In order to recreate the moist soil conditions that hydrangeas need to prevent wilting, it is ideal to replant the hydrangea in an area of the garden that has been well prepared with lots of compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure to a depth of 18 inches (to accommodate the hydrangea’s root system).
  • If removing your wilting hydrangea proves to be too challenging, wet it thoroughly with a hose to ensure that the soil is evenly damp. Then, spread a 2 inch layer of mulch over the earth’s surface around your hydrangea to help retain moisture.
  • Compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure are the best materials to use as mulch because they all help the soil retain moisture, improve soil structure, and add nutrients. Every year, at the beginning of spring, after the soil has been soaked, apply a mulch, being careful to keep it away from the growth above ground since a mulch that is constantly moist will rot living wood that is above the soil line.
  • If necessary, water your hydrangea to keep the soil moist (but not saturated). There is no set rule for how frequently to water hydrangeas because the exact frequency relies on a wide range of variables. Make sure the soil is moist to a depth of two fingers. Give the hydrangea a good soak if the soil feels like it is beginning to dry up.
  • Always give hydrangeas plenty of water. By encouraging the roots to grow too close to the surface with too little water, hydrangeas may become more susceptible to drought. Thorough watering aids in encouraging the roots to take hold in the soil, increasing the hydrangeas’ tolerance to drought.

The hydrangea should recover from its withering appearance by recreating its ideal growing circumstances and making sure the soil around it is continually moist.

Hydrangea Wilting After Planting

Hydrangeas wilt after planting because of transplant shock, which is brought on by a change from the soil, lighting, and watering conditions of the hydrangea’s original environment to those in your yard. Because the roots are not established and cannot absorb enough water, hydrangea leaves wilt.

Hydrangeas are produced in highly particular, regulated greenhouse environments when they are grown in nurseries for commercial sale. Temperature, humidity, irrigation, sunlight, air flow, soil structure, and other factors are all controlled and intended to grow hydrangeas for sale.

The hydrangea is capable of adjusting to growing in this particular restricted environment. Hydrangeas may experience transplant shock when you plant them in your garden because they must adjust to a different environment.

The hydrangea frequently wilts as a result of this shock as an indication of stress.

The roots must adjust to a changed soil structure that may not hold as much moisture or may be sucking too much moisture from the leaves due to increased air flow.

The hydrangea wilts as a survival tactic if the leaves are losing too much moisture because wilting effectively lowers the surface area of the leaf from which it can lose water until the roots can set down in the new soil and pull water up more efficiently.

Because they are more likely to be suited to the local conditions, I advise purchasing new hydrangeas from a nursery close to your home rather than a larger garden center, which may even import hydrangeas from other countries that are less well suited to the local climate.

How to Revive a Wilting Hydrangea After Planting

The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that after planting, the roots take some time to establish, which means that until they are more established, the hydrangea cannot absorb moisture as effectively.

This is why it’s crucial to water wilting hydrangeas frequently after planting.

Compost mulch is a very efficient approach to retain moisture in the soil and create the ideal environment for your hydrangea to recover after planting.

The hydrangea should adapt to its new environment within a few weeks, and the wilted aspect of the leaves should disappear.

(Read my post on how to save a hydrangea from wilting.)

Potted Hydrangea Wilting

Hydrangeas in pots frequently wilt because the pot is too small or has no drainage holes in the base. For hydrangeas, continually wet soil is essential. Smaller containers dry out more quickly, which causes hydrangeas to wither.

Pots lacking drainage lead to soggy soil, which causes the hydrangea to wilt and eventually die from root rot.

The many leaves of hydrangeas provide a big surface area where water might evaporate. Because they rely on moisture at the roots to bring up enough moisture to support the huge leaves, hydrangeas soon wilt in dry soil.

Because of their deep, thirsty roots, hydrangeas can quickly outgrow their pots. Even after being watered, hydrangea can soon wilt in smaller pots because they can contain less soil and moisture.

If the pot’s base does not have drainage holes or if a tray or saucer is placed underneath, this may prevent the extra water from draining, resulting in saturated soil.

When the soil is saturated and water pools around the roots, oxygen cannot enter the soil and root respiration is prevented.

The ability of the roots to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil and distribute them throughout the plant is hampered if they are unable to breathe because they lack access to oxygen.

The leaves can wilt and even turn yellow if the roots are unable to distribute water or nutrients throughout the plant. Long-term saturation of the roots in water-logged soil produces in root rot and a dying hydrangea.

How to Revive a Hydrangea Wilting in a Pot

  • Always place hydrangeas in a sizable pot with a depth that is proportionate to their width, which should be at least 12 inches. This size of pot can hold enough soil to maintain the necessary hydration for the majority of hydrangeas. Nevertheless, repotting might be necessary depending on the size of the hydrangeas. It is worthwhile to check to see if the roots of your hydrangea are confined to the pot. Replant your hydrangea in a pot that is significantly larger.
  • Since leaf mold has a remarkable ability to hold onto moisture and matches the typical soil conditions of the hydrangeas’ original environment, I highly advise adding some leaf mold to your potting mixture. This aids in preserving the ideal moisture balance for hydrangeas to avoid withering.
  • Hydrangeas grown in containers need to be watered as often as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Be attentive with your watering because pots naturally dry out much faster than if the hydrangea were planted in a garden border. Give the pot a good watering as soon as the soil begins to dry out to about a finger’s deep to resuscitate the withering hydrangea.
  • Plant hydrangeas in clay, ceramic, or terracotta pots instead of plastic or metal ones because these materials tend to be thicker and do not heat up as much.In the sun, thin plastic pots heat up more quickly, drying out the soil before the hydrangea roots can absorb the necessary moisture, which causes wilting.
  • Hydrangeas should always be planted in containers with drainage holes in the base. Although hydrangeas prefer constant moisture in the soil, they cannot take saturated, soggy soil, therefore proper drainage at the pot’s base is crucial. As soon as you can, move your hydrangea to a pot with drainage holes, and make sure that no water collects underneath the pot by lifting it off the ground with your feet.

Every time I notice hydrangeas wilting in pots, I always check to see if the roots are pot bound or not since as hydrangeas age, their root systems can become extremely extensive.

Because they love conditions that are continually moist, hydrangeas require a lot of potting soil around the roots, which is why choosing a larger container with more soil capacity is crucial when potting up hydrangeas.

If you replant wilting hydrangeas in larger pots, change the potting soil, and water as often as necessary to keep the soil moist, the hydrangeas will recover.

To aid in its recovery and prevent leaf scorch, keep the hydrangea in an area that receives early sun, followed by afternoon shade or dappled light.

Long-term exposure to wet soil can cause the roots of potted hydrangeas to rot, which makes them difficult to revive.

Too Much Fertilizer Can Cause Wilting Hydrangea Leaves and Flowers

Given their strong feeding habits, hydrangeas typically benefit from fertilizer applications in the spring.

However, excessive nitrogen fertilizer can make hydrangea stems and leaves weak and sappy (and show fewer flowers), which makes it wilt and more susceptible to pests and diseases.

It’s also possible for lawn fertilizers to have too much nitrogen, which can harm hydrangeas by dilution in heavy rain and runoff into garden borders.

After fertilizer has been administered and the hydrangeas have wilted or are drooping, there isn’t much you can do but reduce fertilizer use.

I advise using a Miracle-Gro granular fertilizer since it has all the nutrients the hydrangea needs and delivers them more gradually, preventing the plant from wilting or producing as many flowers.

(Read why my hydrangea isn’t blooming in my article.)

The next spring, the hydrangeas should recover from their wilted state.

Why are my hydrangea blossoms turning green? (Read my article.)

Key Takeaways:

  • – Dip the stems in alum powder. … The plant’s leaves wilt and may even turn yellow if the roots are unable to distribute water or nutrients. A hydrangea will die if its roots are left in wet soil for an extended period of time, which causes root rot.
  • Hydrangeas should always be planted in a sizable pot with a minimum 12 inch diameter and an equal depth. This sized container can hold enough soil to provide the majority of hydrangeas with the moisture they require. Nevertheless, if the hydrangeas are large, you might need to repot them. To see if your hydrangea roots are in a pot, it is worthwhile to examine. Replanting your hydrangea in a much bigger container.
  • Since leaf mold has a remarkable ability to hold onto moisture and matches the typical soil conditions of the hydrangeas’ natural environment, I highly advise adding some leaf mold to your potting mixture. To keep hydrangeas from wilting, this aids in maintaining the ideal moisture balance.
  • In order to keep the soil on hydrangeas in pots damp but not saturated, water them as often as necessary. Be vigilant with your watering because plants in pots naturally dry out much more quickly than if they were planted in a garden border. Give the potted hydrangea a good soaking as soon as the soil begins to dry out to a depth of a few fingers to rejuvenate it.


Why does boiling water revive hydrangeas?

Because they are thicker and do not heat up as much as plastic or metal planters, clay, ceramic, or terracotta pots are ideal for planting hydrangeas in. As a result of the soil drying out too soon for the hydrangea roots to absorb the moisture they need, thin plastic pots heat up in the sun much more quickly and cause wilting.

How long do you leave hydrangeas in water upside down?

Hydrangeas should only ever be planted in containers with drainage holes in the base. Although they prefer continually moist soil, hydrangeas cannot survive saturated, soggy soil; therefore, it is crucial that the pot’s base has sufficient drainage. Your hydrangea should be moved as soon as possible to a container with drainage holes in the base. To prevent standing water underneath the pot, lift it off the ground with your feet.

How do you keep hydrangeas alive in a vase?

A hydrangea’s root system may get rather extensive as it ages, so anytime I notice one of these plants wilting in a container, I usually check to see if the roots are actually attached to the pot.

Why are my hydrangeas dying in vase?

When potting up hydrangeas, it’s crucial to choose a larger pot with more soil capacity because they require a lot of potting soil around the roots because they prefer continuously moist circumstances.

How do you rehydrate wilted hydrangeas?

Replanting wilting hydrangeas in larger pots, replacing the potting soil, and watering as often as necessary to keep the soil moist will help them recover.