Hydrangea in pots can look very appealing since they grow and flower to consume the entire flower pot. But, when they are not being looked after and cared for, the pot will seem empty with a hydrangea in poor health.
You can encounter many problems with hydrangea in pots. It could be yellow/brown foliage, droopy leaves, wilting, poor growth or flowering, holes in leaves, or excessive frost damage.
Common problems associated with growing Hydrangeas in Pots
Let us look in detail at what you may be up to and our tips to solve the problem that you may face while growing Hydrangea in Pots.
1. Incorrect Pot
If you want your hydrangea to be comfortable enough to grow and flower well, it has to have the right pot. Choose a pot based on these two facts:
- Hydrangea needs moist soil but not wet soil, small pots dry out faster than large pots which stay a bit wet.
- These plants have roots that grow rapidly and can easily consume the pot and can become increasingly vulnerable to cold and frost.
Apart from this, the material that the pot uses also matters very much as it could retain too much water or the opposite. Based on this and the previous two points you will have to pick a pot of appropriate size for your hydrangea.
Choose a pot that will house the hydrangea plant and not topple over or be too small either. Use a material that will not hold excessive amounts of water or dry out too rapidly. Terracotta and fiberglass pots are the most suitable options.
Ensure enough drainage holes are present at the bottom of the pot prior to planting You should not put a water tray beneath the pot as it may result in the bottom portion of soil staying too wet and the roots may rot.
2. Excess Water – Poor Drainage
The problem of excess water being left behind is a risk that exists when growing any plant in pots. This is most often because pots are watered too often, watered using too much water, or not providing adequate drainage if any.
Excessive amounts of water pose a threat as they lead to chlorosis, a condition which will deteriorate your plant and causes the foliage to be yellow. The foliage could even begin to fall out prematurely!
Solving excessively wet hydrangea pots is quite simple once to identify the problem. Remove trays kept beneath pots and increase the number of drainage holes beneath the pot.
You will have to establish an ideal watering habit that will suit your hydrangea. You can either reduce the watering frequency or reduce the amount of water provided.
Also, checking the soil regularly before watering will go a long way in avoiding overwatering. Dip your finger into the top portion of the soil to feel if it is wet or dry.
3. Droopy Foliage – Inadequate Water
Hydrangea is quite a thirsty plant that requires constantly moist soil. Drying out of the soil will affect plant growth and the plant’s ability to flower, that too, to its capacity Using a pot that is too small usually does a lot to contribute to lack of water.
Hydrangea does not tolerate long dry spells. You will have to water your potted plant twice a week and even as much as once daily if the season calls for it! Opt for a slightly larger pot as the soil will stay much moister in these vessels than in smaller ones.
Again feeling the soil will go a long way in helping to maintain moist soil that is suitable for hydrangea. Avoid watering the pot plant if the soil already looks and feels wet. Water it when the soil feels relatively dry or if the soil’s surface appears cracked.
4. Lack of growth or blooming- Poor Soil Fertility
Plants that grow fast and bloom well need a lot of nutrients and resources to do so, hydrangea fall into this category. Hydrangea in pots will require a high amount of nutrients provided in the form of fertilizer or compost. This is because pots have a limited amount of soil and nutrients will become completely exhausted eventually.
You can get your hydrangea to grow or bloom with more fertilizer. Use an all-purpose fertilizer containing the usual N-P-K components. Hydrangea in pots will need fertilizer or compost at regular intervals as the roots exhaust all nutrients available very soon.
Also, planting your hydrangea plants in poor sandy soil will lead to underwhelming availability of nutrients. You will need compost-rich soil that can sustain the plants. But they will eventually be none and so changing out of soil or fertilizing your pot plant is advisable.
NOTE- Hydrangea flowers will vary based on the pH levels of the soil. Acidic soils (pH 6 and below) yield blue-lavender colors while alkaline soils (pH 7 and above).
5. Browning or Yellowing of Leaves – Lack/Excess of Sunlight
For all photosynthetic plants, especially ones with flowers like hydrangea, sunlight is an important element. Not only does sunlight influence growth and plant well-being, it also influences flowering.
Hydrangea blooms once a year but for many weeks! Some varieties are reblooming and will need a lot of sunlight to produce two blooms in the flowering season. Leaves need full sunlight to photosynthesize food resources.
Lack or excess of the sun is presented as yellowing of leaves or browning which looks like dry brittle leaf ends. Wilting can be a sign of high temperatures.
Avoid excess light by changing your hydrangea pot plant’s location every time seasons change. Observe and find a spot that has partial shade instead of full sun.
If the problem is inadequate amounts of sun, consciously make an effort to get your hydrangea more sun. This again will involve watching to find a spot that will satisfy its sun needs. Also, to help the plant recover resources, leaves that have entirely changed color can be removed.
Find out exactly How Much Sunlight Hydrangeas Need
6. Holes in Hydrangea – Pests
Another problem with hydrangea in pots is the sudden presence of holes in leaves. There is only one cause of this, pests! It is usually the larval form of flies that do this damage. Flies lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. You are unlikely to spot them here while watering your plants.
When these eggs hatch, hungry larvae emerge and feast upon the leaves eating holes right through them!
Knowing this problem exists, keep a close eye on your plant and check the underside of the leaves regularly! If you do notice anything that may distinguish insect eggs you will have to apply a chemical to prevent them from hatching.
Also using companion plant growing will help to invite beneficial pests that will feed on fly larvae or eggs.
7. Frost Damage – Excessive Pruning
Pruning helps to keep plants looking neat and tidy and keeps it growing in the prescribed space it was put in. Also, the practice of cutting off spent flowers (deadheading) is known to help flowers rebloom in the case of reblooming hydrangea varieties.
However, pruning particularly at the wrong time can be dangerous to your hydrangea plants! You would want to be careful of when and how you prune your hydrangea as it may leave your plant increasingly vulnerable to frost and cold damage.
Avoid pruning your hydrangea before the winter season approaches. Also, choose to prune carefully if you live in a colder climate.
Smaller hydrangea pot plants should not be extensively pruned and if so, bring them indoors to further protect them from frost and cold. Their growth and flowering depend upon it. Extremely damaged hydrangea in pots may not flower well until the following year when they have completely recovered.
Still not sure how to prune or not prune your hydrangea plant. Here’s when and how to prune Hydrangea.
As you can see, there are many problems with growing hydrangea in pots. It could be environmental factors, care, or even the pot itself causing your hydrangea to have poor health. Some of the problems you will encounter when growing hydrangea in pots are:
- Incorrect pot selection strains the plant’s roots
- Excess water causing yellowing and falling out of leaves
- Droopy foliage due to lack of water
- Lack of growth/blooming due to nutrients
- Browning/yellowing of leaves due to lack/excess of water
- Holes in hydrangea leaves due to pests
- Frost damage induced by excessive or incorrect pruning
With the appropriate solutions, you can restore it back to full health and observe an appealing bloom of their varying flowers.
The best way to revive a dying potted hydrangea will be to first identify the problem. Then you can work towards a solution. You may have to adjust certain aspects of watering, soil, or sunlight. Perhaps you will even have to repot the plants to make them more comfortable. The position of the pot also matters.
Yes, hydrangea can grow very well in pots. The catch is that they have to be looked after very well. Sunlight, watering, and fertility are three areas where extreme care is needed to make your plants grow well and actually bloom!