Is Your Hydrangea Turning Brown? Discover the 5 Surprising Reasons and Easy Fixes!

I never thought I’d be that attached to a plant, but here I am, worrying and stressing about my beautiful hydrangeas. I’ve been noticing that some of their leaves have been turning brown lately and it’s been breaking my heart. As a gardening enthusiast, it’s always tough to see our green friends struggling. But, I didn’t give up on them just yet. I know that there must be a reason behind this, and it’s up to me to get to the root of the issue and fix it! If you’re in the same boat and are worried about your hydrangea leaves turning brown too, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading and I’ll share with you everything I learned about why this happens and what you can do to make your hydrangeas flourish once again. Get ready to revive those brown leaves and bring your hydrangeas back to life!

Have you ever excitedly visited your garden only to be disappointed by the sight of brown hydrangea leaves? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The good news is that this common issue has several easy solutions to get your hydrangeas back to their vibrant, healthy state. In this article, I’ll share five surprising reasons why hydrangea leaves turn brown, along with simple tips to fix the problem. So, grab your gardening gloves and let’s get started!
Transplant shock: Hydrangeas can experience shock when they are transplanted to a new location. Prevent this by watering the plant thoroughly before and after transplanting, and give it ample time to adjust.
Lack of water: Regular watering is crucial for hydrangeas, so make sure to water the plant based on soil dryness while avoiding watering over the leaves.
Over-fertilization: Over-fertilizing can cause stress on the plant and lead to brown leaves. Use slow-release fertilizers designed for hydrangeas no more than twice a season, and avoid using too much.
Pests and fungal diseases: Trim away diseased leaves and use natural treatments or fungicides to treat pests and diseases. Keeping your garden clean and improving air circulation can also help prevent these issues.
Sunburn and frost: Mophead hydrangeas are sensitive to sunlight, so provide them with partial shade and protect them from excessive exposure. In contrast, Hydrangea paniculata is more tolerant of sunlight. Frost can also damage the plant, so cover it when necessary.
By following these simple tips, you can prevent or easily fix brown hydrangea leaves and maintain a healthy and vibrant garden. Remember, regular watering is essential, and keeping your plants happy and disease-free will lead to beautiful blooms in no time!

💡 Pro Tips:
1. Water your hydrangeas regularly: Hydrangeas require ample water to thrive, especially during hot weather. Make sure to water them deeply at least once a week to prevent dehydration, which can cause brown leaves.
2. Check the soil: Soil pH is crucial for hydrangeas, and if it’s too alkaline, it can cause the leaves to turn brown. Make sure the pH is around 6.0 to 6.2 by adding sulfur to the soil if it’s too high.
3. Fertilize your hydrangeas: Feeding your hydrangeas with a complete, balanced fertilizer can prevent nutrient deficiencies that might cause brown leaves. Apply fertilizer in the spring, once the buds start to show.
4. Remove affected leaves: If you notice brown leaves on your hydrangeas, remove them as soon as possible. This will help prevent the spread of disease or pests, which can cause further damage.
5. Provide proper shade: Hydrangeas prefer partial shade, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Make sure they’re not exposed to direct sunlight, which can cause leaves to brown and wilt.

Common Reasons for Brown Hydrangea: Transplant Shock

Transplanting a hydrangea is a delicate process that can cause stress to the plant. Transplant shock occurs when there is a disturbance to the roots and the plant does not receive enough moisture or nutrients. This can cause brown leaves and wilting flowers, which are signs that your hydrangea is struggling.

What is Transplant Shock?

Transplant shock is when a plant’s roots are disturbed during transplantation, causing the plant to become stressed. Brown leaves and wilting flowers are common symptoms of transplant shock. This happens because the plant’s roots may not be able to absorb the necessary amount of water and nutrients during the recovery period. It’s important to take precautions when transplanting and to monitor your hydrangea closely afterwards.

Preventative Measures to Avoid Transplant Shock

To prevent transplant shock, there are a few steps you can take:
1. Timing: The best time to transplant a hydrangea is in the spring or fall when the days are cooler, and the soil is damp. Never transplant a hydrangea during hot summer days.
2. Prepare the Ground: Prepare the ground before transplanting. Make sure the soil is moist and add organic matter to ensure it is well-draining.
3. Prepare the Plant: Prepare the hydrangea for transplanting by watering it several days before moving it. This will help the plant retain water and minimize damage to the roots during the transplantation process.
4. Post-Transplant Care: After transplanting, your hydrangea will need time to adjust to its new environment. Keep the plant well-watered and avoid fertilizing for a few weeks to allow the plant to recover from the shock.

How to Treat Brown Leaves and Wilting Flowers

If your hydrangea is experiencing brown leaves and wilting flowers due to transplant shock, there are a few things you can do:
1. Provide Adequate Water: Water your hydrangea regularly and make sure the soil is well-draining. If the soil is too wet, it can cause the roots to rot.
2. Apply Fertilizer: Apply a slow-release formula fertilizer to the soil surface to provide your plant with the necessary nutrients. Avoid overfertilizing as this can cause fertilizer burn and damage the plant.
3. Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for pests and fungal diseases such as aphids, spider mites, and beetles. These can cause leaves to turn brown and could infect your plant.
By taking the necessary preventative measures when transplanting and providing appropriate care post-transplantation, you can minimize the risk of transplant shock and protect your hydrangea from brown leaves and wilting flowers. Remember to monitor your plant closely and take action if you notice any undesirable conditions.

💡Hot Tip: If you notice that your hydrangea is experiencing brown leaves and wilting flowers due to transplant shock, try using a seaweed solution to aid in its recovery. Seaweed is rich in nutrients and can help stimulate root growth, which can help your hydrangea recover from the shock faster. Simply dilute the seaweed solution according to the instructions on the package and add it to your plant’s watering routine. Watch as your hydrangea thrives!

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Key Points
Transplant shock can cause stress to the hydrangea plant and result in brown leaves and wilting flowers

  • Brown leaves and wilting flowers are common symptoms of transplant shock as the roots cannot absorb sufficient water and nutrients
  • To avoid transplant shock, timing, ground preparation, plant preparation, and post-transplant care are important
  • To treat brown leaves and wilting flowers caused by transplant shock, provide adequate water, apply fertilizer, and monitor for pests and diseases
  • By taking preventive measures and appropriate care, the risk of transplant shock can be minimized, and the hydrangea can stay healthy.

Lack of Water: A Common Culprit of Brown Hydrangea

Hydrangeas need adequate watering, especially during the summer months. Without sufficient water, hydrangeas may struggle to maintain their blooms and overall health. Inadequate watering can lead to brown leaves and wilting flowers, making your hydrangeas look undesirable.

How much water do hydrangeas need?

It is important to note that different varieties of hydrangeas have varying water requirements, but as a general rule of thumb, hydrangeas require at least 1 inch of rainfall or watering per week. During times of extreme heat or drought, they may need more frequent watering to prevent stress.

Tips for proper watering

When watering hydrangeas, focus on deeply watering at the base rather than sprinkling the foliage. This will ensure that the roots are getting the required water without risking excess moisture on the leaves, which can lead to fungal diseases. Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day to prevent scorching the leaves.

Identifying lack of moisture

Hydrangeas with brown leaves may be an indication of lack of moisture. Look for leaves that are crunchy and brittle to the touch. In extreme cases, the entire plant may appear dried out and wilted. Small amounts of water should be given frequently until the ground around the plant is saturated. Proper drainage is important to prevent root rot.

Preventing excess moisture and over-fertilization

It is important to prevent over-watering and over-fertilizing as they can lead to brown edges on hydrangea leaves. Type and amount of fertilizer to be applied depends on the time of year and the type of plant. Slow release formulas and granular fertilizers work well to prevent burning. To prevent excess moisture, ensure that the soil surface is dry before the next application of water or fertilizer.

💡Hot Tip: Mulching around hydrangeas can help to retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. A layer of 2-3 inches of mulch can also help to regulate soil temperature, prevent weed growth, and protect the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations. Use organic materials such as shredded leaves, bark chips, or compost as mulch to improve soil quality and provide additional nutrients to the plant. Remember to leave a small gap between the base of the hydrangea stems and the mulch to prevent fungal diseases from developing.

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Key Points
Adequate watering is essential for healthy hydrangeas especially during summer months

  • Different hydrangea varieties have varying water requirements but a general rule is 1 inch of watering per week
  • Water deeply at the base to avoid fungal diseases and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day
  • Brown leaves and wilting flowers could indicate lack of moisture and small amounts of water should be given frequently until soil is saturated
  • Over-watering and over-fertilization can also cause brown edges on leaves, use slow release or granular fertilizers and ensure soil is dry before applying more water or fertilizer

Pests and Fungal Diseases: Treatment with Natural Treatments or Fungicides

Hydrangeas are a popular choice for flowering shrubs due to their beautiful blooms and low-maintenance needs. However, these plants can struggle with environmental issues that cause brown leaves, wilting flowers, and other undesirable conditions. Two primary culprits for these issues are pests and fungal diseases. Here is what you need to know about treating them with natural treatments or fungicides.

Identifying the Problem: Common Pests and Fungal Diseases

Before treating your hydrangea, you need to identify what is causing the problem. The most common pests that attack hydrangeas include aphids, spider mites, and beetles. They can cause leaves to turn brown, become distorted, or even die back entirely. Fungal diseases also lead to hydrangea struggles, with infection causing yellow leaves, brown edges, and crunchy foliage. The most frequent diseases are root rot, mildew, and blight.

Natural Treatments for Pests and Fungal Diseases

If you want to avoid using harsh chemicals to treat your hydrangea, there are several natural treatments you can use. These include neem oil, insecticidal soap, copper sulfate, and baking soda. Each of these helps prevent pests and fungus by breaking down their protective coatings and affecting their reproductive systems. Apply these at the first sign of an issue and continue to apply them every 7 to 10 days until the issue resolves.

Fungicides for Pests and Fungal Diseases

If you have a severe pests or fungal disease issue, then fungicides are a reasonable option. They work by preventing the growth of spores or killing them outright. However, they can harm bees, birds, and other beneficial insects. Choose a fungicide that is labeled as safe for use on hydrangeas and follow the instructions carefully. Wear protective equipment such as gloves and a mask when applying them, and avoid using them on a warm day in the summer heat.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Fungicides

Fungicides are an effective way to manage pests and fungal diseases, but they do have their drawbacks. They can harm beneficial insects, and over-use can lead to resistance. To prevent these issues, apply the fungicide in small amounts, and always follow the application directions carefully. Consider also using slow-release formulas as they prevent burning and are easier to apply. Granular fertilizers can work similarly, both in terms of containing slow-release ingredients and preventing burning or damaging the foliage.

Prevention is Key

Like any issue, prevention is key to keeping your hydrangea healthy. The best way to prevent pests and fungus is to take good care of your plants. Make sure they are planted in healthy soil that is well-draining but also maintains moisture. Water your hydrangea deeply and infrequently to prevent over-watering, which can lead to root rot. Avoid over-fertilization, which can burn the foliage, preventing the plant from taking up enough water and nutrients. Deadhead regularly, and prune your hydrangea in the dormant season.
Dealing with pests and fungal diseases can be frustrating, but with the right techniques and care, your hydrangeas can regain their health and beauty once again.

💡Hot Tip:To prevent fungal diseases, avoid wetting the leaves of your hydrangea when watering and try watering in the morning so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall.

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Key Points
1. Hydrangeas can suffer from pests and fungal diseases which can have negative impacts on the plant’s health and appearance
2. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, and beetles while common diseases include root rot, mildew, and blight
3. Natural treatments such as neem oil, insecticidal soap, copper sulfate, and baking soda can be used to treat pests and fungus
4. Fungicides are a viable option for severe pest and fungal disease issues but can be harmful to beneficial insects such as bees and birds
5. Prevention is essential to keep hydrangeas healthy, including proper soil drainage, infrequent deep watering, and deadheading and pruning practices.

Sunburn and frost protection for mophead hydrangeas

Sunburn and Frost Protection for Mophead Hydrangeas

Mophead hydrangeas are popular flowering shrubs known for their stunning blooms and low maintenance. But like any plant, they can struggle in undesirable conditions, which can lead to brown leaves and wilting flowers. In this section, we will explore how to protect your mophead hydrangeas from sunburn and frost damage.

Protecting Hydrangeas from Sunburn

During the summer, a warm day can quickly turn into a damaging sunburn for your hydrangeas. Here are some precautions you can take to prevent sunburn:

Timing is Key

Plant your hydrangeas in a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Avoid planting them where they will receive direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.

The Right Planting Spot

Make sure your hydrangea’s roots are covered with soil and that the soil is regularly moist. The ground should never be dried out, and you should avoid overwatering, as that can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing with Care

Avoid overfertilization, as this can cause leaves to burn. Apply small amounts of fertilizer at the soil surface and water well to help it drain.

Preventing Fertilizer Burn

If you use a granular fertilizer, make sure it’s a slow-release formula, which can prevent burning. Apply it around the base of the plant, away from the leaves. Avoid applying fertilizer in the heat of the day or directly onto dry plants.

Watching for Insects and Pests

Regularly inspect your plants for insects and pests such as aphids, spider mites, and beetles, which can cause leaves to turn brown.
Protecting Hydrangeas from Frost Damage
When the temperature drops, your mophead hydrangeas are especially susceptible to frost damage. Here are some tips for protecting them from the cold:

Covering the Plants

Cover your hydrangeas with a sheet or frost cloth when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a Natural Covering

You can also surround your plant with a natural covering such as pine straw or fallen leaves. This can help to insulate your hydrangeas from the cold.

Proper Placement of Frost Protection Materials

Make sure your covering material is not touching the leaves and blooms. It’s important to secure the material to the ground to ensure it doesn’t blow away in the wind.
In addition to these tips, you can also use homemade solutions to protect your mophead hydrangeas from sunburn and frost damage. Some gardeners use a mixture of water and aspirin to protect against fungal diseases, or a solution of neem oil to deter insects. By using these natural methods and following the tips above, you can keep your mophead hydrangeas healthy and beautiful all year round.

💡Hot Tip: To further protect your mophead hydrangeas from frost damage, water them well before the temperature drops. Moist soil will help to insulate the roots, which are the most sensitive part of the plant during a frost. Avoid watering too much, as this can lead to root rot. Aim to keep the soil mildly moist at all times, especially before a frost is expected.

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Key Points
1. Mophead hydrangeas can struggle in undesirable conditions, leading to brown leaves and wilting flowers.
2. Hydrangeas need protection from sunburn during summer months by planting in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade, ensuring moist soil, and avoiding overfertilization.
3. Regular inspection is required for insects and pests as they can cause leaves to turn brown.
4. Frost damage can occur when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be prevented by covering hydrangeas with a sheet or natural coverings.
5. Homemade solutions like neem oil can be used to deter insects and a mixture of aspirin and water to prevent fungal diseases.

Caring for hydrangea paniculata: fertilizer and sunlight tolerance

Caring for Hydrangea Paniculata: Fertilizer and Sunlight Tolerance

Hydrangea Paniculata is a popular flowering shrub that blooms in the summer with showy cone-shaped flowers. It’s a low maintenance plant that requires only deadheading and pruning to keep it looking its best. However, it can struggle if it’s not cared for properly. In this section, we’ll focus on two important factors in caring for Hydrangea Paniculata – fertilizer and sunlight tolerance.


Fertilization is essential for the healthy growth and blooming of your Hydrangea Paniculata. The best time to fertilize is in early spring, just before new growth emerges. You can also fertilize in the summer, but be sure to apply small amounts only. Overly fertilizing can cause fertilizer burn, resulting in brown edges or crunchy leaves.

When applying fertilizer, use a slow-release formula, such as granular fertilizer. Sprinkle it on the soil surface around the plant and water the ground thoroughly to ensure the nutrients reach the roots. Prevent burning by avoiding direct contact with plant leaves.

Sunlight Tolerance

Hydrangea Paniculata thrives in full sun to partial shade, but excessive exposure to the sun can cause the leaves to turn yellow and the blooms to wilt. In warm weather, it’s important to take precautions to protect the plant from excessive heat and sun exposure.
If the plant is in a location that receives too much sunlight, consider moving it to a spot with partial shade. Alternatively, you can provide shade by placing a layer of mulch around the plant or by covering it with a cloth or shade cloth during the hottest part of the day.


Pruning is also important in promoting healthy growth and blooming for your Hydrangea Paniculata. Wait until early spring when new growth has just started to emerge before pruning. Cut back any dead or damaged branches, and trim back the remaining branches to promote new growth.

Insects and Fungal Diseases

Insects and fungal diseases can also be issues for Hydrangea Paniculata. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, and beetles. Natural treatments or fungicides can be used to treat infections. If you notice brown edges on the leaves, or if the plant looks like it’s struggling, it may be due to overfertilization or lack of water. Ensure your plant is not being overwatered, as this can lead to root rot.
By following these guidelines for fertilization and sunlight tolerance, you can keep your Hydrangea Paniculata healthy and blooming season after season.

💡Hot Tip: To promote more blooms on your Hydrangea Paniculata, try using a phosphorus-rich fertilizer. This vital nutrient encourages flower production and helps your plant produce larger, more vibrant blooms. Look for fertilizers with a higher middle number on the label, such as a 15-30-15 formula. Apply according to the instructions on the package to avoid overfertilization.

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Key Points
1. Fertilization is essential for healthy growth and blooming of Hydrangea Paniculata
2. Use slow-release formula fertilizer in early spring and small amount in summer
3. Avoid direct contact with plant leaves to avoid fertilizer burn
4. Provide partial shade or cover plant during hottest part of the day to protect from excessive sunlight
5. Prune in early spring to promote new growth and remove any dead or damaged branches.

Fixing brown edges on hydrangea leaves through appropriate watering

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular flowering shrubs due to their stunning blooms and low maintenance. However, hydrangeas may experience some problems such as brown leaves which can be caused by different environmental issues. In this section, we will discuss how to fix brown edges on hydrangea leaves through appropriate watering.

Signs of Overwatering and Underwatering

Brown edges may be a sign of overwatering or underwatering. If the ground is too moist or if the plant is watered too frequently, the roots may struggle, leading to brown leaves. On the other hand, dried out and wilting flowers can be caused by an insufficient amount of water.

Proper Watering Techniques

To avoid browning, it is important to water your plant at the right time, in the right amounts. It’s best to water your hydrangea in the morning on a warm day to give enough time for the leaves to dry before the evening. Water on the ground around the base of the plant, not on its leaves to prevent fungal diseases.
To prevent excess water, water the plant in small amounts and let it drain. The soil shouldn’t be too damp but still slightly moist. If the leaves are already turning brown, reduce watering and carefully observe the plant until it recovers.


Another common reason for brown leaves is excessive fertilization. Hydrangeas need fertilizer to thrive, but too much can cause fertilizer burn. It’s recommended to use slow-release formula fertilizer and not apply it during the summer heat as it may dry plants. Granular fertilizers should be applied on the soil surface, and be cautious not to apply too much.

Insects and Fungal Diseases

Hydrangeas may also get infected with fungal diseases or attacked by insects, such as aphids, spider mites, and beetles, which can cause brown leaves. To treat pests and fungal diseases, use natural treatments or fungicides to protect your plant’s health.

💡Hot Tip: To prevent brown edges on hydrangea leaves, mulch around the plant with organic matter, such as leaves or bark, to keep the soil moist and prevent water from evaporating too quickly. This will also help regulate the temperature around the plant and protect against extreme weather conditions.

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Key Points
Brown edges on hydrangea leaves can be caused by overwatering or underwatering.

  • Proper watering techniques include watering in the morning, on the ground around the base of the plant, in small amounts, and letting it drain.
  • Excessive fertilization can cause brown leaves, so slow-release fertilizers should be used and applied cautiously.
  • Insects and fungal diseases can also cause brown leaves.
  • Natural treatments or fungicides should be used to treat pests and fungal diseases.


Can trimming the brown leaves of hydrangeas help revive the plant?

Yes, trimming the brown leaves of hydrangeas can help revive the plant. Here are some key points:

  • Brown leaves on hydrangeas can be a sign of a variety of issues, including overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiencies, and disease.
  • Trimming away brown leaves can help improve the plant’s overall appearance and encourage new growth.
  • Use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to trim away the affected leaves, making sure to cut back to healthy tissue.
  • Be careful not to over-prune or remove too many healthy leaves, as this can stress the plant.
  • In addition to trimming away brown leaves, make sure the plant is getting adequate water and nutrients.

How do I know if my hydrangea is suffering from a pest infestation?

One way to identify a pest infestation on your hydrangea is by looking for these signs:
1. Yellow or brown spots on the leaves
2. Distorted or curled leaves
3. Sticky substance on the leaves or branches
4. Holes or tunnels in the leaves
5. Visible insects such as aphids, spider mites, or whiteflies
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent further damage to your plant.

Can changing the soil type prevent hydrangea leaves from turning brown?

Changing the soil type for hydrangeas can prevent their leaves from turning brown due to the unbalanced pH level or nutrient deficiencies. Key points to consider include:

  • Hydrangeas prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 5.2 and 5.5
  • Brown leaves can be caused by a high pH level or lack of nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and sulfur
  • Test the soil with a kit to determine its pH level and nutrient content
  • Lower the pH level by adding sulfur, or increase it with lime
  • Add organic matter such as compost or leaf mold to nourish the soil and hydrangeas
  • Use a fertilizer specifically designed for acid-loving plants, and follow the package instructions
  • Water the hydrangeas thoroughly and regularly, but avoid over-watering which can lead to root rot.

Is it advisable to remove brown hydrangea flowers to promote growth?

Yes, it is advisable to remove brown hydrangea flowers to promote growth. Here are the key points:

  • Brown hydrangea flowers indicate that they have completed their lifecycle and are starting to wither.
  • Removing these brown flowers through deadheading will redirect energy towards growing new blooms.
  • Deadheading should be done by cutting the stem just above the first set of large leaves below the flower head.
  • However, if you want to dry the flowers to use for decoration, leave them on the plant until they are fully brown and crispy before cutting them.