How to Revive Dying Hydrangea Plant?

Hydrangeas are beautiful plants with large clusters of flowers. The flowers come in various colors and add vibrance to any place. However, sometimes, you might notice a wilting or dying hydrangea plant and wonder how to revive my hydrangea plant.

You can revive dying Hydrangea after understanding what is causing harm to you. Most common reasons why Hydrangea die and needs reviving are:

  1. Drought
  2. Too much Sunlight
  3. Frost Damage
  4. Transplant Shock
  5. Root Rot
  6. Planted in small Pot
  7. Excess Fertilizer
  8. Mildew

Let us look at different reasons why your Hydrangea might be drooping and how you can revive it.

Hydrangea drooping because of drought

Symptoms of hydrangea drooping because of drought

  • The hydrangea will have flowers that are drooping or wilting.
  • The leaves will turn brown in color.
  • The foliage of the plant will grow with much lesser flowers.

Causes of hydrangea drooping because of drought

Hydrangeas need moist soil to thrive. If your hydrangea is drooping, it could be a sign of stress due to a lack of moisture in the soil. Many times, in a hot and dry climate, the soil tends to dry up.

There are also other reasons why the soil might be dry.

If the soil is sandy or stony without much organic matter applied to it, it will drain very quickly, before the hydrangea has had time to absorb the water.

Hydrangeas like partial shade and the best location for hydrangeas to grow is under the dappled light coming from the canopy of other trees.

However, if the hydrangea plant is surrounded by trees that need a lot of water, the water will be absorbed by the roots of those trees, leaving very little moisture for the hydrangeas. This can result in dry soil for the hydrangea.

Similarly, if the canopy of the trees is too dense, the hydrangea will not get any rainwater. All the rainwater will be collected in the dense foliage of the tree canopy above the hydrangea and the plant will not benefit from the rainfall.

If you have planted your hydrangea in an overexposed area with high winds, it will be an issue for the hydrangeas as the wind will dry off the moisture from the leaves.

Revive dying Hydrangea due to drought

Water the soil around the hydrangea. Some varieties of hydrangeas do not need to be watered once they are established in proper conditions in temperate climates.

However, if your hydrangea has to compete with other plants for water, or if the soil conditions or temperature isn’t favorable, then hydrangea needs to be watered generously at least once a week so that it does not become dry.

If your hydrangea is small or newly planted, and the soil is sandy, you might have to dig up the plant temporarily and add a lot of organic matter to the soil around the plant.

Compost and leaf mould can retain moisture very well, which is what the hydrangea needs. It will also prevent sandy soil from draining very quickly.

You can apply mulch around your plant with a one-inch layer of compost, leaf mould, or manure.

If your hydrangea has good foliage but the flowers are few and drooping, you need to stop using any more fertilizers. You can soak the soil in order to dilute the fertilizer that is already present in the soil.

However, the plant still may not revive until the next season.

Do Hydrangeas Need a Lot of Water? [Explained]

Hydrangea dying because of too much sun


If your hydrangea is dying because of excess sunlight, the leaves of the plant will be scorched and dry to the touch. They will turn yellow and look wilted despite being watered regularly.

How to tell if your hydrangea is sun-burnt? It is not difficult to check if your hydrangeas are sun-burnt.

The leaves that get most directly exposed to sunlight will be the most damaged, while the shaded parts will be greener, even though they might be wilting.


Most varieties of hydrangeas grow in partial shade. They grow best under a canopy of trees with dappled sunlight streaming through or in the early morning sunrise.

If your plant is exposed to direct sunlight for more than 6 hours, it can cause the leaves to become scorched and burnt, especially in dry and arid regions.


If your hydrangea is getting too much sun, it can get sunburnt and eventually die.

So, if your hydrangea is exposed to the sun for most of the day, you need to transplant it to a different location that is shadier.

If that is not possible, your plant might need other trees around so that they will provide shade to it and protect it from direct sunlight.

If the leaves of the plant are affected because of sunburn, they will not recover.

However, the plant can recover once it has been shaded. Just cut off the sunburnt parts of the plant to stimulate new growth. The plant will recover soon after.

How much Sunlight do Hydrangeas need? [ Explained ]

Hydrangea leaves turning brown or black due to frost damage

Symptoms of hydrangea dying due to frost damage

If your hydrangea plant is suffering from frost damage, the leaves of the plant will turn brown or black all of a sudden.

It mostly affects new growth, while the older mature leaves are often unaffected, as they are acclimatized to the cold.


New growth on plants is prone to damage by late frosts in spring, or early frosts in the fall season.

Frost damage can occur during fall if the temperature suddenly drops overnight.


Frost damage is not likely to kill off your plant. With some patience, you can revive your hydrangea if it has been damaged by frost. However, the plant may not flower properly until the next season.

To revive hydrangea bush that have been damaged, prune the affected parts with some pruners at the shoots. Make sure you avoid cutting into the wood. This will promote new growth over the summer season that will be healthier.

Do not fertilize your hydrangeas after August. Fertilizing promotes new growth, which is not what the plant needs as it prepares for dormancy during this period.

Frost can cause a lot of damage to the new flower buds that are still developing. If the buds get damaged, they will not flower during the blooming season.

Make sure you are informed about the local weather forecast.

If there is a late frost in Spring, it is better to protect the flower buds on your plant with some horticultural fleece the previous night so as to avoid any damage to the plant.

Hydrangea dying due to transplant shock

Symptoms of hydrangeas dying due to transplant shock

If the hydrangea suffers from a transplant shock, it will turn brown. The leaves will start wilting, and the plant can even die.


Transplant shock can be a result of the contrasting growing conditions of the place from where you get your hydrangea to the place where you transplant it.

If you transplant your hydrangea in summer, when the temperature is high and the sunlight is intense, your hydrangea will be at risk of dying.

The high temperature can dry out the hydrangea. Because the roots are just getting established, they cannot absorb water at the same rate that the water is getting evaporated. This leads the hydrangeas to wilt and turn brown.

Hydrangeas are more susceptible to death during the first year after they have been transplanted.


The best time to plant hydrangeas is Spring and Fall seasons. So, try to buy your plants accordingly so that you can plant them at a suitable time.

If the newly planted hydrangea is suffering in the sun, try to shade the plant. Your hydrangea will need to be protected as it establishes itself in the soil and the new environment. Water it frequently and thoroughly, making sure that the soil is always moist.

Apply a layer of mulch to the soil so that it retains moisture.

To revive a hydrangea that is suffering from transplant shock, you will just need to have patience. Provide your plant with the optimal conditions required for growing hydrangeas and just wait for the plant to become accustomed to the new environment.

For optimal growing conditions, hydrangeas need a lot of good quality compost that will provide them with moisture and nutrients.

Keep the hydrangea away from direct sunlight so as to prevent drought stress and sunburn. Water the hydrangea frequently to keep the soil moist but well-draining to avoid root rot.

Make sure you plant your hydrangea in suitable soil. If you plant it in soil that is too sandy or with too much clay, your hydrangea can die.

If you do not have favorable soil for your hydrangea, you need to make amends to the soil so that it becomes suitable for the plant.

Hydrangea Transplant Shock and How to Reduce Damage?

Hydrangea dying because of root rot


The leaves of a hydrangea dying because of root rot will be turning yellow or brown. They will be wilted. The roots of the plant will turn darker in color and soft to the touch.


Hydrangeas need well-draining soil that is also moist. If the soil is boggy or heavy with clay, the water does not drain well and this leads to root rot.

If hydrangeas are planted in pots that do not have drainage holes at the base, or if the holes have become clogged for some reason, there is no way for the excess water to flow out.

This results in waterlogged soil that can cause root rot.


If the roots of your hydrangea have been sitting in waterlogged soil for too long, it could be very difficult to revive them. In this case, you might want to dispose of the hydrangea and get a new plant and grow it in suitable conditions and amended soil.

However, if the hydrangea has been in wet soil for only a little while, or if the problem is that the water drains very slowly, it could still cause stress to the plant and result in wilting, but it can be possible to save the plant.

If the soil is waterlogged, remove the hydrangea very carefully from the soil. Make sure you do not cause any further harm to the roots.

Once the plant is out, carefully inspect the roots. If you see any roots that are dark in color or soft or look infected in any way, cut them off with the help of sterilized shears.

If the roots are healthy, they will be light in color and springy. As you cut off the diseased roots, wipe your shears after each cut with disinfectant so as to prevent the spread of any fungus to the healthy parts of the plant.

Replant the hydrangea in different, suitable soil, or in a planter with good drainage holes. Mix the soil with plenty of compost.

Do not plant the hydrangea in the same soil again as the soil could be infected. Apply some organic fungicide to the soil to amend it, but even then, do not use the soil immediately.

Hydrangea dying due to small pots

Hydrangeas that grow in small pots tend to dry out quickly.

Small pots heat up quicker in the sunlight. Not only that, their capacity to hold soil is quite small, which is why they retain less moisture. This results in drought-like conditions, causing the plants to wilt.

If your hydrangea is dying due to being in a small pot, you need to transplant your hydrangea in a larger pot of at least 16 inches across.

Also, try to transplant during spring or fall, as cooler temperatures help the plant adjust to transplanting better, while also reducing the risk of drought.

After the plant has been re-potted, protect it from direct sunlight for a few weeks to give it time to establish without having to deal with the drought-like conditions that can occur if it is exposed to sunlight.

How to Grow Hydrangeas in Containers or Pots? Steps to Follow

Hydrangea roots burning because of excess fertilizer

Applying too much fertilizer to the soil can cause the roots of the hydrangea to burn, which results in brown, drooping, and dying hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas do not necessarily require fertilizers, and they can often cause harm. Using mulch around the plant can help the hydrangea thrive.

Hydrangeas would only require fertilizers if the soil is sandy and lacks nutrients, or if the hydrangea is planted in pots where the soil and the nutrients are limited.

Well-rotted manure is good for the plant, but if it is made from poultry manure, it will contain a lot of nitrogen which can burn the roots. You can use compost instead. Do not use fresh manure on your plants. Make sure it is well-rotted for at least a year.

If your hydrangea is showing signs of stress, water the plant well so that the water-soluble nitrogen in the fertilizer is diluted.

Transplant the plant to a different area with soil and compost. Cut off any brown leaves or flowers and stop using fertilizers for a while. This should help revive the hydrangea.

Are Banana Peels Good for Hydrangeas?

Mildew on hydrangeas

If your hydrangea has been grown indoors in a container, you will need to replant the hydrangea to another pot with new and dry soil.

The root system of hydrangeas can grow vast, so make sure the container is large enough that the plant has space to grow. Keep the plant in an area with good ventilation. Do not overwater the plant.

If your hydrangea grows outdoors in a garden, you will need to replant the hydrangea. Use fresh soil and plant the hydrangea spaced away from each other.

Do not have any material lying around that could trap moisture or mildew, such as fallen leaves, debris, etc.

Provide a lot of air circulation to your plants when it has suffered from mildew. If you notice any mildew on your leaves, immediately apply a fungicide according to the directions provided.

Reviving dead hydrangea hydrangea flowers

To revive hydrangea flowers that you have cut and placed around the house as décor, there are a few things you can try in the following steps

  1. Shock the hydrangeas: Fill a sink with cold tap water or icy cold water. Place the cut hydrangeas in the water and let them sit for at least 15 minutes. The flowers don’t have to submerge completely, but they need to be in the cold water as much as possible.
  2. Boil water: As your hydrangeas soak in the cold water, boil some water in a kettle or in the microwave.
  3. Submerge the stems: After 15 minutes, remove the hydrangeas and trim the stems at an angle. Put the boiling water in a heat-proof glass and place the stems in the boiling water.

Do all the steps very quickly so that the sap does not seal over the stem. Let them sit in the water for as long as possible. The hydrangeas can stay in the water until it turns to room temperature. Even 15 minutes in the hot water can help.

The stems may turn brown by the end of the process, but the flowers will last 2 to 3 times longer. The flowers revive in the next 12 hours.