Hydrangea problems: the expert responds on hydrangea diseases

Hydrangea problems: the expert responds on hydrangea diseases

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Hidrangea spp. (Family Hydrangeaceae)

The section is dedicated to plant problems.If you wish to write to our agronomist in order to have an answer on an unclear situation or a difficulty concerning your plant, you must indicate:

  1. what plant it is;
  2. where it is located (inside the house, on the terrace, in the garden, etc.);
  3. the type of exposure (full sun, half-light, etc.);
  4. how long has it been in your possession;
  5. the general state of the plant;
  6. the frequency of watering;
  7. how often it is fertilized and the type of fertilizer used;
  8. any pesticide treatments carried out;
  9. the symptoms it presents and the parts of the plant affect;
  10. any foreign presence (insects or other).

If possible, send a photo, but in any case, take care to be very detailed in describing the overall state of the plant. The address to which everything is forwarded is: [email protected]

Your questions

Hydrangea with phytophthora?


Aspiring Gardener

Good morning,
in March I transplanted a Hydrangea paniculata (my first Hydrangea!) into my garden. I chose a shady spot (the sun only comes in late afternoon), dug a hole and filled it with soil for acidophiles. I regularly supply fertilizer for acidophilic plants. The shrub was still leafless at the time of transplanting. In recent months it has started to grow and everything seemed to be going well.
For a few days, however, I have noticed that the leaves are withering away. First only a sprig (the one that now has the worst leaves), but gradually the problem is involving the whole plant. I don't see any parasites, and it can't be a lack of water because it has rained a lot in the past few days (and the ground is still wet). I don't even have problems with water stagnation.
What problem can he have?
A few years ago an azalea, in another part of the garden, had probably died from the phytophthora. Could this still be the problem?


Expert in Phytopathologies

It may be, although the sensation would feel more like wilting from some stress. Perhaps you can check the collar without undressing too much and therefore risking giving the coup de grace: the phytophthora causes a brown-purple rot in the basal part of the plant (Pythium sp., another similar pathogen root rot agent, instead settles a little below).

If the cultivation conditions are correct, as you say, I do not see what else to do, as if the cause were a pathogen, a root rot agent, the defense with chemical means at this point I see it difficult and would require professional products.


Aspiring Gardener

Thanks for your answer.
I haven't been able to dig much because there are so many small roots already close to the surface and I didn't want to damage them, especially if it's really stress as you say. These roots seemed to me a healthy light color. I didn't see any purplish-brown complexion, but in fact, I only scratched a couple of millimeters. It almost felt like there was a gelatinous substance, but maybe that's just my impression. I'm not attaching photos because you wouldn't see much.

Yesterday I administered a fungicide (Aliette) following the recommended doses for ornamental plants. I thought it would do no good at worst. Did I hurt?

I hope he recovers. I had finally made up my mind to give the coup de grace to a suffering oleander I planted years ago, as an inexperienced novice, in the most shady spot of the garden. I had carefully chosen the Pinky Winky paniculate variety.

Is there anything else I can do for my hydrangea?
How do I regulate myself for watering and fertilizing?

Iron deficiency

Also known as "ferric chlorosis”, Is the most frequent problem if the plant lives in calcareous soils, not very fertile or with persistent water stagnation. It manifests itself with yellowing of the leaf tissue between the ribs, which however remain green if the plant is not immediately intervened slows growth and the new leaves, already yellowed, become whitish and dry in severe cases, the flowering is blocked.

Remedies: distribute to the ground products rich in iron, powder or liquid (iron sulfate, chelated iron) add peat to the ground do not exceed with irrigation.

Prune the hydrangeas

The saying applies to hydrangeas "better not to prune than to prune badly", because if you do not prune, even if they appear disordered, they will continue to bloom, while if you prune badly they could die.
Pruning should be done at end of winter, when the weather is more mild and the hydrangea is still in vegetative rest.

Yes they remove dry branches and, in the most long-lived plants, also i older branches is twisted cutting them to ground level to allow light and air to penetrate inside, thus reducing fungal attacks and favoring the natural renewal of the plant.

N.B .: These operations are important and it is important to use the right tools, such as pruning shears , well sharpened and clean, to avoid hurting the plant and causing infections.

Hydrangea - Aspera Longipes

It is a shrub native to China. It was introduced in Europe in 1902.

The plant is very beautiful with lanceolate leaves graceful of olive green color, slightly tomentose. The bark of the branches is yellow, gray in the adult plant. It peels and makes the trunk of different shades of color.

The fairly large inflorescence is of type Lacecap, with sterile white and fertile purple flowers. There flowering is late from the end of July to the first cold and is very long and abundant. This bush can reach 2.50 m in height.

Hydrangea cultivation

Characteristics of the terrain

The soil suitable for hydrangeas is a soil of medium mixture, which allows the roots of hydrangeas to be easily penetrated and to have good gaseous circulation.

It is a fresh soil, which tends to retain little water. In fact, hydrangea is greedy for water but shuns water stagnation, rich in organic and fertile substances.

The pH must be slightly acidic: the optimal is a ph 5.5, measurable through the use of a ph meter . It is precisely in this situation that the Ortensa will give its best.

In the event that our soil does not present these characteristics because it is too clayey and therefore cohesive and heavy or too sandy and therefore poor in nutrients and basically arid, there are two solutions:

  1. We give up on soil cultivation by placing our plant in a large vase
  2. Let's create a small caisson. The box to contain 2 medium-sized plants will have a depth of about 80 cm and a width of 150 and 80. This hole will be entirely lined with non-woven fabric. Therefore, about 10 cm of inert material will be spread on the bottom to drain this layer, we will still spread non-woven fabric to prevent the soil particles from nesting in the empty spaces formed by the inert material and therefore to prevent the water from going away. At this point we will fill our box with good soil for acidophilic plants, easily available on the market which is the same one used for azaleas.

Needs of hydrangea


Hydrangea requires a acidic soil, fertile, rich in humus and peat, not too light, but without excess clay. They go avoided the soils limestone, therefore with pH higher than 7.5 since these result poor in iron and aluminum, two mineral elements indispensable for a luxuriant growth of green parts and flowers. The intervention onacidity of the soil (thanks to the administration of particular fertilizers or mineral elements) allows you to vary the color of the inflorescence, passing from pale pink to blue through different shades.


Hydrangea prefers i cool places, moderately humid is semi-shaded. Being plant undressing it is particularly resistant to cold: it fears only the early autumn frosts when it is not yet at rest and the late spring ones, when it is already in an advanced vegetative phase. Suffers also theexposure to cold winds.

Water and fertilizers

It needs frequent ed abundant irrigation, especially from the beginning of flowering. The fertilization they must be regular: every two weeks, starting from the beginning of the vegetation and until the appearance of the inflorescences, specific products for acidophilic plants should be distributed.

Video: How to Kill Cercospora in the Hydrangea


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