Why Is My Potted Hydrangea Wilting? (10 Causes and Solutions)


Indoor potted hydrangea plant wilting.

Wilting in plants is characterized by droopy leaves and flowers. You can visually observe wilting because it changes the entire appearance of the plant from being vibrant and sturdy to pale and limping.

A wilting hydrangea indicates a problem with the general health of the plant that’s caused by numerous factors.

Hydrangea wilting results from overwatering, underwatering, extreme temperature, and cold drafts. Mishandling that leads to root damage, transplant shock, repotting in the wrong season and fertilizer problems are also responsible for this.

Once you identify the problem, you can come up with appropriate solutions to treat your wilting hydrangea.

You need to carefully observe the hydrangea to know exactly what factor(s) directly contributes to the wilting problem.

Let’s dive into the details of the hydrangea wilting problem.

Can Potted Hydrangeas Come Back to Life?

Seeing a beautiful potted hydrangea hanging limp can initially bring a shock to anyone.

You might think that your plant is already dead and is therefore a lost cause.

Who would not assume the same thing especially when you see the entire plant droopy as if it lost all its energy?

Well, hold your tears, and please don’t throw away the plant. There are ways to revive your dear hydrangea.

There are specific measures that you can take to bring it back to life. All you need is a little patience and lots of dedication to helping your hydrangea recovers.

The first step is to know exactly the reasons why your hydrangea is wilting. By doing so, you’ll figure out what solutions are appropriate.

That’s why we’ll discuss in the following every possible cause of wilting for potted hydrangea.

What Causes Hydrangea to Wilt?

Hydrangea grows well in shady areas, so indoor gardeners loves them to grow within their home.

Without delicate and regular care, this beautiful plant will let you know by showing symptoms like wilting and turning yellow.

Now let’s find out the causes of hydrangea wilting and what can you do to fix them.

Overwatering

Water is critical to support the life of a plant. It’s an important element for various physiological processes to proceed.

Without water, any plant will surely die. Too much of it can also lead to the same fate.

Overwatering is like forcing the plant to drink water more than it can accommodate.

Potted hydrangeas have a limited way of absorbing water than when it’s directly planted on the ground.

When you give too much water, the majority of it will remain in the pot causing the roots to drown. Drowned roots eventually rot.

When roots no longer function as it should, the entire plant suffers from not receiving nutrients and water from the soil. This leads to wilting and eventually the death of the entire plant.

Overwatered hydrangeas look limp but are mushy when touched. The next time you observe that your hydrangea is droopy; do check the water intake first.

Water is a pretty tricky thing to handle but once you’ve mastered it, your hydrangea will do well.

You May Also Enjoy: How To Fix Hydrangea Root Rot (And Preventive Measures)

How to Fix Overwatered Hydrangea?

  • Check the pot for any stagnant water and remove them. If your pot has a coaster under it, that’s where the water normally stays. At times, we tend to water the pot and forget to drain them completely before putting them in place.

If the pot has no holes, you may carefully tilt the pot upside down until excess water drips off.

Just make sure not to damage the plant in the process. Allow the plant to receive more sunlight so the water in the soil will evaporate faster.

  • Repot the plant. Sometimes, removing excess water is not enough. You have to dig deeper to check the true condition of the roots under the soil.

Remove the hydrangea from its pot by gently loosening the soil. Check the roots for any sign of damage.

Cut off portions that have already started rotting. Use a well-draining soil as new media.

  • Withhold water for an extended period. If it has excess water in place, there’s no need to add more. If you’re watering your hydrangea for at least three times a week, you can withhold the remaining two.

This will allow the plant to have time to use the water that’s been held by the soil for its consumption. Let it dry off completely before watering again.

Underwatering

Like overwatering, underwatering makes the hydrangeas look limp. The difference is that the plant is crisp when touched because of its dehydrated condition.

When you do not water sufficiently the cells will shrink because it will consume all the water stored in the cell’s vacuoles.  

Lack of water will force the roots to exert extra effort in absorbing water from the soil.

As a result, roots experience stress which affects their ability to function normally.

With prolonged drought conditions, the plant suffers from limping and can potentially die.

How to Fix Underwatered Hydrangea?

  • Increase the amount of water through time. Your plant is constantly in the process of growth and development. If you give the same amount of water to hydrangea now as you did when it was younger, you’ll definitely have trouble.

Hydrangea needs a little more water than other indoor plants. Make sure to provide an amount that is proportionate to what your plant needs.

  • Increase the amount of water on hotter days. Obviously, plants thirst more when it’s hot than when it’s cold. Be mindful to give more water as needed by the hydrangea. But, make sure that all water drains out of the pot.

Plants lose water through transpiration. When the surrounding environment is hot, the transpiration rate increases.

To compensate for a faster moisture loss, add ample amounts of water.

  • Water regularly. It is important to establish a schedule to follow when you water the hydrangea. This is to make sure that it receives the water it needs in due time.

Set the days in a week for you to lift the bucket. This will also help you establish a routine for watering your hydrangea. That way, you’ll not miss out.

You May Also Enjoy: How to Save Overwatered Hydrangea (Step By Step Guide)

Extreme Temperature

While you can control the amount of water you give to hydrangea, controlling the temperature is a difficult thing to do.

Too hot or too cold, both environments are detrimental to the plant’s health. With too much heat around, hydrangea leaves transpire more water.

Rapid moisture loss will affect the plant’s internal processes because water is necessary to aid such processes.

On the other hand, when the temperature is too cold, the water inside the plants will freeze.

This leads to bursting off of cells. Ruptured cells will lose their function to transport water. This is why after winter, your hydrangea starts to wilt.

How to Treat Hydrangea Damaged by Extreme Temperature?

When it’s too hot:

  • Find a suitable location. When it’s too hot, relocate the potted hydrangea to a much cooler place. Avoid a location where there’s prolonged and direct contact with sunlight to avoid sunburn.
  • Decrease the temperature inside your home by turning on the air conditioner. The cooling effect will minimize moisture loss in the plant. Your hydrangea will surely enjoy the added coolness around.
  • Give more water to your hydrangea. This will compensate for the rapid water loss during hot days. Do not let the plant be dehydrated for a long time.

When it’s too cold:

  • Provide insulation to your plant especially when the temperature is really cold inside.
  • Put an additional source of light for the plants to receive extra warmth. It also helps the leaves harness additional energy for their photosynthetic activity especially during winter.

You May Also Enjoy: Why Are My Hydrangea Leaves Brown? (And How to Fix it)

Cold Drafts

As we’ve mentioned earlier hydrangea is sensitive enough to extreme temperatures.

When it’s exposed to cold drafts for an extended period, especially when it’s near a window glass, the plants will first suffer wilting. 

The draft creates a chilling effect on the plant. Once the coolness is beyond what it can tolerate, it begins freezing.

Frozen cells tend to burst and this is the reason why you’ll later see that a hydrangea receiving cold drafts soon wilts.

How to Treat Hydrangea Damaged by Cold Drafts?

  • Relocate the plant to a place with a more stable temperature. If it’s near a glass window, you have to take it away during the evenings when the temperature is relatively low and during winter when it freezes outside.
  • Provide insulation or shade around the plant for added protection.

Root Damage

Roots play a major role in the absorption of water and dissolved minerals going up its stems and other plant parts.

Once damaged, its function will be affected resulting in a decline of water uptake. It then further leads to the wilting of your hydrangea plant.

There are several reasons why roots get damaged. It can be due to mishandling during potting.

It can also be due to overwatering or underwatering. Pathogens can also be one of the reasons. 

How to Treat Hydrangea with Root Damage?

  • Repot the plant. By uprooting the whole plant, you’ll get a view of the severity of the damage. Remove the damaged portions and transfer it to a container using fresh soil as media.
  • Remove extra leaves. Damaged roots find it difficult to support the needs of its upper parts so you’ll need to trim it off a little. By doing so, the hydrangea will be able to utilize the small amount of water it receives because the transpiration rate will decline.
  • Don’t overwater or underwater. I’ve mentioned earlier how these two affect the roots.  To avoid adding up stress to the roots below, make sure to give just enough water.

You May Also Enjoy: Hydrangea Leaves Turning Yellow (8 Causes And How to Fix It)

Transplant Shock

Newly transplanted hydrangeas normally appear limp in its first week. This is also the same for hydrangea.

It will take time for the roots to get used and establish itself in the soil.

After transplanting the roots of your hydrangea experience stress. With such, water and nutrient transport is not that efficient.

As less water is transported from the soil to the different parts of the plants, the hydrangea starts wilting.

However, there’s nothing much to be worried about wilting because of transplant shock. Normally, the hydrangeas will recover in time.

How to Treat Hydrangea Damaged by Transplant Shock?

  • Handle with extra care when transplanting. Make sure not to damage the roots when you lift them out of the soil. Gently remove excess soil by shaking it off a little. Trim the excess or damaged roots as necessary.
  • Put the newly transplanted hydrangea under shade. Too much heat or sunlight will just add up to the stress it already suffered from transplanting.
  • Water the plant frequently. Water supply should be abundant in order to relieve the roots from too much stress in absorbing water from the soil.

Repotting in the Wrong Season

Timing is an important factor in securing a successful planting journey. Even in repotting, your hydrangea will require good timing.

If you make the mistake of repotting in the wrong season, your plant will just wilt and die. The best time to do repotting is during spring or summer.

During these seasons, the plant is not dormant so its physiological processes are in the normal course. The growth of roots is also in active mode.

Plants that are repotted outside these seasons will find it difficult to cope with the changing environment because they’re in the resting stage.

How to Save Hydrangea Repotted in the Wrong Season?

  • Minimize environmental stress by placing the repotted hydrangea in a room with controlled temperature.
  • Water it regularly but make sure not to overdo it.
  • Remove excess leaves so the roots can sufficiently support the aboveground foliage.

Fertilizer Problems

A hydrangea that’s overfertilized will show wilting of its lower leaves.

This is mainly due to the presence of too many soluble salts in the soil that hinders the passage of water to the roots. This causes stress in the root system.

Too much salt from overfertilization also increases the soil’s pH thereby killing some of the good microorganisms.

In return, pathogens have the chance to grow and cause diseases in your hydrangea. This can lead to wilting of the plant as well.

How to Treat Overfertilized Hydrangea?

  • Manually remove the fertilizer visible to your naked eye. Take as much fertilizer as you can out of the soil.
  • Leach off excess fertilizer by pouring in water and letting it drain completely from the pot.
  • Re-apply fertilizer only when you see it necessary. If the plant is doing well and appears healthy, no need to supplement it with fast-release fertilizers.

Pest Infestation

Pest is a natural enemy of every plant including the flowering ones. In hydrangea, one pest that can result in wilting is aphids.

Aphids that are heavily nesting on the underside of the leaves can cause severe damage because they suck the sap of the plants. 

Sap is important because it serves as the blood of the plant. It carries important elements needed by different plant parts such as water, minerals, sugars, and hormones.

If the sap is constantly sucked out of the leaf tissues, it will result in dysfunctional processes inside the plant.

The damage is reflected outside with yellowing leaves and the droopy appearance of the hydrangea.

How to Treat a Pest Infested Hydrangea?

  • Constantly check the plant and always be on the lookout for the presence of pests in your plants. Remove them immediately to avoid rapid multiplication.
  • Spray the portions of the hydrangea with strong running water to wash off the aphids. Be careful not to damage the other parts.
  • Remove damaged leaves to minimize the infestation of the healthy ones.
  • Apply pesticides if the damage is beyond manual control.

Diseases

Bacterial wilt and root rot are two common diseases that can lead to wilting in hydrangea.

Both are caused by pathogens that appear after the plant is exposed to unfavorable conditions such as heavy rains or hot conditions.

Bacterial wilt causes blight in the leaves and flowers. In severe cases, plants wilt and die.

Root rot, on the other hand, targets the roots leaving it rotten and dysfunctional for the entire plant.

How to Treat a Disease-Stricken Hydrangea?

  • Immediately remove damaged leaves and flowers once you notice them. Dispose them away from other plants to avoid possible contamination.
  • Apply inorganic or organic fungicides to treat the diseases. Do this at the early stage of the disease’s appearance.

When to Worry About a Wilting Hydrangea?

Normally, a wilting hydrangea recovers easily after you’ve given immediate treatment.

So here, you have to act as fast as you can the moment you’ve noticed the plant’s wilting condition.

Always check how the plant responds to the intervention you’ve done. Sometimes, only the first solution is needed.

Sometimes, it requires more. It totally depends on the condition and severity of the damage.

When the wilting continues even if various interventions have been employed, maybe the treatment has been made too late already. In that case, the chance to save the plant is getting slim.

So now, go ahead and give your hydrangea an appropriate treatment. We can’t afford to lose more time, can we?

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

Recent Content