Wilting Hydrangea

by Michelle
Can you HELP my Hydrangea? It came in full bloom and was the prettiest it has been in its 4 year life. But now it is slowly dying off but as if something is spreading. It started on one side and is some what quickly moving across the plant. I checked where it enters the ground to make sure it hadn't been chewed and it looked fine (to an untrained eye) I have another hydrangea 5 feet away that is doing just fine. Any ideas?
wilting hydrangea, flowers, gardening, hydrangea
  20 answers
  • Adrienne Sajecki Adrienne Sajecki on Jul 18, 2013
    have you checked for spider mites? I would spray with an insecticide soap.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jul 19, 2013
    looks like the roots have been damaged on one side. Do you have any moles or voles in your yard? It is hard to tell from the picture and maybe I am just viewing it incorrectly but on the side that is dying it looks like the earth does not meet the root ball quite right.

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Jul 19, 2013
    Agree with Donna. That looks like critter damage,rather than disease on the plant.

  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 19, 2013
    The only critters that I have acutally seen around is a rabbit. Something is defintly digging holes in our back yard though (this is front yard) It doesnt look dug up at all though. And it is spreading. I started to notice it a little less than 2 weeks ago but it is indeed spreading. I will have to check again way at the base to see if it looks different on the good side versus dying side. Thanks for your thoughts

  • Vicki Vicki on Jul 19, 2013
    same w/ my flutter butterfly. now I know what to investigate it real close in the root area. ty.

  • Dianne Johnson Dianne Johnson on Jul 20, 2013
    I had a gorgeous rosemary plant and it started dying on one side. I finally spotted what was causing it.....a chipmunk!! There was a little entrance hole just on the back side!!! The rascal had tunneled all through the roots!

  • Barbara Sawyer Barbara Sawyer on Jul 20, 2013
    Definitely appears to be root damage, but from what? Will take a little detective work. Probably critters. What to do at this point ? Attack the critter and cut back to the healthy plant, there may be enough root left to start up again.

  • Katy Katy on Jul 20, 2013
    It could be vine weevils. The larvae eat through the entire root base of hydrganeas. It's happened to mine a couple of times. All you need to do is buy a vine weevil larvae killer that you put on the roots in June and October.

  • Carole curtis Carole curtis on Jul 20, 2013
    lookd like something is getting to the roots. It may not be chewing them, but just tunneling into them and letting in the air which will dry them out. I can't grow hydrangeas here in AZ, but had some in WA state. I sure miss them in the garden. I used to put epsom salts around the root area in the spring and it turned my blue to a beautiful lavender color when they bloomed.

  • Judy Judy on Jul 20, 2013
    My first thought was the same as Donna: moles, gophers etc. (you won't see them since they live underground) or some sort of critter tunneling through the root system & exposing the roots to air. Another thought...has anyone been spraying herbicide in that area? Some could have drifted that way.

  • April E April E on Jul 21, 2013
    how often do you water and for how long? also what method do you use sprinkler, soaker hose, or hand watering?

  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 21, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I am still not sure of what it is and am sorta scared to do anything that may hurt it more. I went to see the nursery I got it from and they said it looked like it just needed watering. I disagree with this since It is very odd to me that half the plant is good and the other half is dying. And like I said one 5 feet away is doing perfectly fine. I do water it probably every other day and use a hose. I also dont see any signs of moles as in holes in or mounds up everything around it looks completely untouched. So far the most likely source sounds like the vine weevils except I have read they eat the roots during fall and winter. And since the flower came in beautifully in the spring that doesn't seem to fit the bill either. As much as I am scared to dig it up and separate out the dying side I think I may try it rather than just sitting and watching the whole thing die. I looked this morning and then next branch over is now starting to wilt too.

  • Carol M Carol M on Jul 21, 2013
    Since you seem to water it, maybe a good fertlizer watered in would help. I grow many hydrangeas and use this method when they become stressed. good luck..

  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 21, 2013
    status update: dug up the whole plant analyzed the roots the hole the plant as a whole found no damage, no bugs, no tunnels or holes, roots seemed healthy so we just cut off the dead branches at the base and replanted it, watered and fertilized it and what happens now will be what bes.

  • Erin G Erin G on Jul 23, 2013
    Try fertilizing it, @Michelle! Hydrangeas are HEAVY feeders, they need a dose every 2 weeks while in bloom. Is it a Proven Winners plant? If so, send this picture in to them or post it on their facebook page, see if they know something that might help. I just planted mine a few weeks ago & it's starting to sag, I'm going to side-dress it with some compost & give it a jug of Miracle-Gro Ultra-Bloom (15-30-15) to see if that helps!

  • Caroline Caroline on Jul 24, 2013
    Wow, that is unusual. Could only think that something was sprayed in the garden and affected only that one side of the plant. Cannot be watering or fertilizing as the shrub is only effected on that one side. Wish you good luck.

  • April E April E on Jul 25, 2013
    actually it can be watering or fertilizer and the fact that another plant a few feet away is just fine really doesn't mean anything in every garden/yard there are micro climates that can need to be addresses and the root area on 1 side of a larger plant can be in a area that stays wetter of dries out faster that the other side sometimes berming a plant in that area can fix a issue sometimes feeding sometimes the fact that she dug it up and replanted loosened up the soil enough to fix problem. however it could be as caroline said a drift issue from nearby spraying

  • Peggy Davis Peggy Davis on Jul 26, 2013
    Do you cut back the plant each fall? (depending on where you live, i would consider NOT cutting it back to the ground) Does this plant get the same amount of sunlight as the other? (I ask this because in the photo you provided, the sunlight just happened to be on the damaged part....I was wondering if the amount of sunlight was right for it).....oh, by the way, mine wilt every evening after blooming...i would water them because of the wilt....i read somewhere that the evening wilt was common and to leave them alone....if they are wilted in the morning, then I water them very well, always at the bottom (ps. don't let them sit in water...no bog! :)

  • Pamela Knott Pamela Knott on Sep 12, 2014
    Mine grow fine but they do not want Miracle Grow, they want the opposite and I can't think what it's called...Miracid? Our yard had lots of walnut trees around it, so the solid is very acid and they love it. I do feed them Miracid maybe once a month, but never put Miracle Grow on them like I do the day lilies and other flowers. Hosta love acid too, so they get a good dose of Miracid. I've always cut off the dead in the SPRING. I wait to see what's growing and then cut it back the dead parts. I did have white flies eating them at the old house because I couldn't get to them to clean the dead leaves out. The flies moved a little every year until all 5 bushes were affected. I don't really know how to say this, but has a dog or a husband pee'd on the bush? That's what it sounds like to me since there's no other damage. .