What To Do With Wilting Hydrangea

Filed Under: Watering, Shrubs, Pruning · Keywords: WIlting, Hydrangea, Prune, To Reduce, Need, For, Water, In, Summer · 7498 Views
With the heat so relentless I am having a hard time keeping up with watering the hydrangeas (wilted unless watered a lot)....I realize they wilt with heat over 80 some degree and bounce back at night but this is just beyond that.... and the (wilted) crape myrtles. I live on a steep slope with fast drainage and it's awesome when we have rainy season but brutal in these drought years.
I'm up here in GA 7a/b. Would it be better just to trim these back to give them relief from having to sustain their leaves? Is this a terrible idea? ....That perhaps it would be a relief for them to just put their energy into their roots instead? It seems that a frost will be quite some time from now, giving the plants time to harden off again. Good, Bad or Ugly idea?


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Answer #1 · Brent Wilson's Answer · This is a very good question. I've been through the same thing this summer here in zone 8a (mid-Georgia). It's been a long and hot summer and is showing us which species (types) of hydrangea can handle the heat, and which ones can't. Sometime in July, my Hydrangea arborescens (Annabelle, Incrediball, and Incrediball) started severely wilting every day, even when I watered them deeply every morning. It got so bad they started to drop foliage, so I cut them halfway back to try to save them. All three varieties died. I won't replant any of the arborescens species. These are probably best suited for up north? As long as I water them every day, my French-type hydrangeas (macrophylla species) have all survived without much wilting, but they didn't produce many blooms. My Endless Summer hydrangea bloomed once and not again but looks healthy. The hydrangeas that have handled the heat the best are the Oakleaf's and the Pee Gee's (paniculata). They bloomed as normal and didn't wilt much as long as I gave them some water every day it didn't rain, which has been many. So, for those of us in the South, I think it comes down to the species (type) of hydrangea? And like I said previously, this long and exceptionally hot summer has shown us which varieties can take the heat and which cannot. Not sure what type of hydrangea you have but we're so close to fall that I'm not sure I'd recommend cutting them back now. Otherwise, if you do cut them back, they might not bloom next year.

Here's a link to an article that provides instructions for pruning the different species of hydrangea:

http://www.gardenality.com/Articles/338/How-To-Info/Pruning/How-To-Prune-Hydrangeas/default.html

I'm gonna wish us both better luck next summer with our hydrangeas. I think I'll plant more varieties of Oakleaf (quercifolia) and Pee Gee (paniculata) hydrangea species in my garden this fall. I like them better anyway:-))



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Answer #2 · Blumschen's Answer · Thanks Brent, I have 9 Endless. I should have mentioned that.
They are sputtering along and I only had one good flush of flowers and then a few sporadic blooms this year.

I have to say that the ones planted in the good ole Georgia clay areas have fared much better and are much larger over the ones planted in raised beds....filled with beautiful amended soil. I live on a rock mass and can barely get a shovel through in most areas.

I did cut the Endless back in 2007 when we had that terrible drought and they came through fine but I had wondered if that was a good idea and perhaps I got lucky that I didn't damage them.

Thank you for your quick reply and sharing your experience with Hydrangeas.

Now the dilemma is the wilted Crape Myrtles. I know the rules. But it is tempting to want to cut them back.)


Additional comments about this answer:

Sandy McGinnis

Sandy McGinnis · Gardenality Bloom · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
My neighbor has several Endless Summer’s planted along the dam of his pond in full sun. He NEVER waters them because there is no need to. The water from his pond wicks up the side of the dam so the soil is always damp on the pond side of the dam. In late winter he dead heads the plant. In the spring I always inspect his hydrangeas on the dam for sprouts from the roots that reach down towards the pond so that I can dig up and transplant to my gardens.

3 years ago ·
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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Sounds like your neighbor has the perfect spot:-) My Endless Summers are in almost all day sun as well but are growing on the north side of my house. I have to water them every few days during hot and dry weather. Not really sure why they only bloomed once this year? I pruned them after they bloomed last summer, but Endless Summers are supposed to be real forgiving when it comes to pruning....blooming on both new and old wood.

3 years ago ·
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Sandy McGinnis

Sandy McGinnis · Gardenality Bloom · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Mine Endless Summers have to be watered every other day or so. Like yours, my Oak Leafs are doing pretty good despite the heat.

3 years ago ·
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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
My oakleafs are fine as well. Just giving them a little water here and there. My paniculatas 'Pinky Winky' and 'Little lime' are doing okay too.

3 years ago ·
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