If your hydrangea droops leaves and flowers, the panic is great. The popular ornamental plants are extremely robust and you can quickly pep them up again by taking the appropriate measures.

lack of water

The most common cause of drooping leaves and flowers on hydrangeas is a lack of water. Hydrangea species are among the thirstiest shrubs in the garden and rely on adequate amounts of water to keep them from drying out. At the beginning, a lack of moisture does not affect the vitality of the plants and the condition can be rectified with the appropriate addition of water. A lack of water can be recognized by the following signs next to the hanging leaves, flowers or buds:

  • Plant parts suddenly wither
  • color does not change
  • dried out substrate

Above all, the timing is crucial here. If the condition does not occur over a longer period of time, but literally overnight, the plant is too thirsty. For specimens that have been planted out, it is sufficient if you swish the location well with the garden hose. If you have potted plants, do the following:

  • Fill the bucket with lime-free water
  • Carefully remove the plant from the bucket
  • Do not separate root ball from soil
  • check roots
  • remove dried roots
  • Soak root ball in water

Leave the plant in the water until no more air bubbles rise from the root ball. It is now completely soaked with water and can be potted again. In the following weeks you should check the substrate or outdoor location for dryness. The thumb test is best for this. Don’t be surprised if your hydrangea can dry out again just a few days after watering it. The hydrangea family (Hydrangeaceae) are very thirsty and must therefore be watered regularly as needed.

Note: Be sure to watch out for a spider mite infestation if your hydrangea is suffering from a lack of water. Drought encourages arachnid infestation and can cause additional damage to your specimens, which you should avoid at all costs.


If the flowers or leaves are hanging on the hydrangea, it doesn’t always have to be related to drought. Another possibility, which is significantly more dangerous for the plant, is root rot. It is triggered by waterlogging, which is not good for the otherwise thirsty plants. You can tell if you have watered too much by the following signs:

  • wet substrate
  • leaves hanging
  • yellow discolouration possible
  • Formation of flower buds is reduced
  • flowers hanging
  • stunted growth

Once the stunted growth has set in, the hydrangea is difficult to save since most of the roots have died off due to the rot. As soon as you spot wilted leaves and it’s not too hot, you should check the location for too much moisture. Waterlogging is more common in potted plants than in hydrangeas that are planted out. If waterlogging is really the cause, you must act quickly to save your specimens. To do this, you have to uncover the root ball or take tub hydrangeas out of the pot. Once you have access to the roots, do the following:

  • check roots
  • remove dried, rotten and dead roots
  • remove rotten substrate
  • create drainage
  • Drainage material: gravel or sand
  • fill with suitable substrate
  • The substrate should be loose and well drained

If you have a container plant, the planter must have drainage holes. This is the only way to guarantee that waterlogging will not occur again. Depending on the substrate used, it can help if you give a little fertilizer and only water the plant carefully at first.

Note: With pot hydrangeas, do not just rely on a loose substrate. The plants depend on high-quality soil to ensure an effective supply of nutrients.

Wrong location

In addition to the water problems, leaves and flowers often hang because of an incorrect location. This particularly affects hydrangeas in the bucket. The biggest problem is a too sunny place. The leaves evaporate significantly more moisture, which in turn can lead to drought stress and sunburn. If the hydrangea gets too much due to the location, it lets the flowers hang first and then the foliage. It should be like this:

  • Light requirements: semi-shade, shade is tolerated
  • no direct midday sun
  • preferred orientation: north, west
  • protect against drafts
  • with potted plants, avoid heating floor or wall materials (e.g. tiles)

While potted plants can easily be rearranged, this is not the case with planted specimens. Hydrangeas are very loyal to their location and establish themselves there after a short time. Transplantation is no longer possible without damaging the plant. In this case, need to arrange a shelter from the midday sun or drafts. Are suitable:

  • umbrellas
  • Install awning
  • Build a pergola
  • sun sail

You can also protect the hydrangeas from the sun with a larger tree. This will be planted nearby and should block the midday sun well enough when it has reached the right size. Optionally, climbing or hedge plants are available, which can be planted nearby via an arch or trellis.

Note: Specimens purchased out of season should be carefully acclimated to the sun to avoid suffering from the heat and UV rays. Hydrangeas are often planted outdoors or on the patio too early, which can lead to intense heat stress for the plant.

late frost damage

Rarely, late frosts can cause the foliage to wither. Accidental frosts are a problem, especially in April or May, at the latest up to the Ice Saints. If the young leaves suddenly wilt in spring after a cold night, you don’t have to worry about the plant, because it should recover without any problems . It is important here to regularly check the shoot tips for frost damage , since, unlike the leaves, they are not simply replaced by new foliage. You have to cut off damaged shoots down to the next pair of buds so that they can sprout again. Frozen and hanging leaves, on the other hand, play no role in the health of the hydrangea.

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