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Hydrangea Leaf Scorch: Causes and Solutions

My hydrangea’s new sprouts, just beginning to bud, turned brown in just one day. I reckon they couldn’t withstand the recent intense heat and strong sunlight, and ended up with leaf scorch—such a bummer!

I’ll share how I dealt with the brown leaves and talk about what causes leaf scorch and how to prevent it.

Causes of Hydrangea Leaf Scorch

After pruning my hydrangeas post-bloom to tidy them up for the next year—a task I didn’t procrastinate on and discussed in a previous article—the plants quickly sprouted lush new growth.

I just pruned my hydrangeas after their blooming season! Let me share with you the ideal timing and some handy tips for pruning.

It was heartbreaking to see those once vibrant sprouts turn brown—a clear case of leaf scorch. Reflecting on this, the reasons became apparent:

  • The sunlight has been unexpectedly fierce for this time of year.
  • I had placed the potted hydrangeas in a spot where the afternoon sun was too harsh.

This may serve as a lesson in what can cause leaf scorch, not just for hydrangeas but for all plants.

Since July, we’ve been experiencing an unusual heat wave like never before.

My well-intentioned desire to give the hydrangeas plenty of sunlight backfired spectacularly.

Gardening comes with its fair share of failures, and while that’s part of the process, I can’t help feeling disappointed that my little lapse in attention led to the leaf scorch of my otherwise thriving hydrangeas.

Dealing with Brown Leaves from Hydrangea Leaf Scorch

So, my hydrangeas got scorched leaves, but moping won’t fix them. I figured out a way to help them recover. Here’s what I did:

Trimming Scorched Leaves

I trimmed back the damaged leaves, cutting just above new growth, about 0.5 inches (1 cm) higher.

It’s still July, so there’s plenty of time to prune before the hydrangeas start developing next year’s buds in August.

This is my first encounter with leaf scorch, so I can’t say for certain what’ll happen next—apologies for that.

After a bold trim, my hydrangeas are much shorter, but since I’m keeping them potted, it’s all good. I’m excited to see how they’ll grow and will keep you posted in this blog.

Observing Scorched Leaves

New sprouts seemed to be coming in even with the scorched leaves, suggesting that hydrangeas might recover on their own.

Of course, the brown leaves won’t turn green again, but I decided to trim them back. Maybe leaving them would’ve been fine too—just a thought.

Preventive Measures Against Leaf Scorch

After pruning, I moved my hydrangeas to the east side of my house. They get plenty of morning sun and shade by afternoon—perfect since the strong afternoon sun was too much for the new sprouts.

I’m kicking myself for not using some shade gear earlier. With the intense heat these days, starting sun protection early in the season is a must.

If you can’t choose a perfect spot, get creative with shade gear to protect your plants, like I should have done with mine.

I hope you find my experience helpful, and thanks for sticking with me to the end.

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