Hydrangeas are fantastic because they have such beautiful flowers. If you’re looking for a plant that will add some color to your garden beds, you’ll be very pleased with these plants.
Most people love caring for these shrubs because they’re pretty low-maintenance, all things considered. This doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong, though.
If you planted hydrangeas recently and you’re seeing that they’re dropping leaves, something is surely amiss. Did you make a mistake that caused this to happen?
Keep reading to learn more about hydrangeas and leaf drop. Hopefully, this will allow you to turn things around and do a better job of caring for them.
1 – Not Watering the Plant Enough
Not watering the plant enough could be the cause of the leaves dropping. When you don’t water these shrubs as much as you’re supposed to, they’re going to start showing signs that they aren’t well.
First, you’ll start to see the leaves start to turn yellow. Eventually, this is going to cause them to start to wilt.
If things keep going poorly, the leaves will just fall off entirely. You need to water these plants enough in order for them to live and thrive.
Sometimes inconsistent watering isn’t the only thing to blame, though. You might be watering the plant fairly often, but the soil is getting too dry.
You might have the hydrangeas planted in soil that has very poor moisture retention. In this case, it’s going to cause the leaves to yellow and eventually drop even when you’re trying to water them.
As frustrating as this is, it’s going to be easy enough to fix this issue. Just do your best to water the hydrangeas thoroughly while ensuring that they’re planting in soil that is appropriate for their needs.
2 – Watering Too Much
Watering too little is something that can cause the leaves to drop, but so is watering the plant too much. Essentially, you can kill the hydrangeas if you give them way more water than you’re supposed to.
These plants aren’t going to do well if you don’t plant them in soil that has adequate drainage. You do need soil that can retain moisture a bit, but hydrangeas aren’t supposed to sit in water all day either.
Poor soil drainage can lead to significant issues such as root rot. This could wind up killing the shrub if you aren’t careful.
You should always remember to check the top two inches of soil when watering these plants. If the top two inches of the soil are still moist, you should check back the next day to see if anything changes.
Water the hydrangeas when the soil starts to get a bit dry. You want to keep the soil moist, but you don’t want to make the soil soggy.
3 – Too Much Sun Exposure
Too much sun exposure could cause leaf drop. Hydrangeas certainly do need sunlight as all other plants do, but too much of it winds up being a negative thing.
They don’t do so well when the summer starts to get very bright and hot. During the hottest days of the year, it’s going to be important to ensure that they have protection from harsh sunlight.
You could change the location of the hydrangeas or move them indoors when things get very hot. If yours are planted in the ground, you could try to provide them with shade.
Of course, there are hydrangeas out there that can thrive in direct sunlight. Whether this is to blame for the dropping leaves might depend on the type of hydrangea that you’re caring for.
Regardless, it’s good to know that sunlight can be an issue. Consider whether you’re exposing your hydrangea to too much sunlight.
4 – Transplant Shock Issues
Transplant shock issues can sometimes cause the leaves to drop. It can be tough for hydrangeas to adapt to environmental changes.
For example, you might move to a new home and you’ll decide to dig the hydrangeas up to plant them in your new yard. This transplant shock could cause issues with the plant and its leaves might wind up dropping.
You should be able to get through issues like this without it being a huge deal. If you transplant these plants during the early days of spring or in the summer, they’ll likely have some foliage loss while still being able to recover.
5 – Frost Damage
Frost damage could be to blame for the leaves dropping. This happens when you get weather that you didn’t expect in the spring.
There are some situations where you’ll get a very late frost due to a shifting weather pattern. A bit of frost exposure could cause your hydrangeas to lose leaves.
Just do your best to protect your plants if you know that a frost is coming. You should be able to take steps to keep them safe.
6 – Pests
Pests are sometimes going to cause leaves to fall. Severe infestations might be enough to cause the leaves to drop eventually, but this usually won’t be a big deal for these plants.
If you’re seeing a lot of spider mites or aphids, you might wish to treat the plant with insecticide of some sort. When you don’t want to use insecticides, it’ll be better to use something natural such as neem oil.
This ensures that you won’t kill any beneficial insects. It’ll just keep the annoying pests away from your hydrangeas.
7 – Fungal Infection
Fungal infection has been known to be tied to leaf dropping. When you water the plant too much, it can create an environment where fungus can grow.
A fungal infection such as powdery mildew could cause visible leaf changes. You might eventually see the leaves start dropping if you don’t take care of things.
Depending on what’s wrong, you might need to treat the hydrangeas with fungicide. It’s also going to be imperative to correct any watering mistakes that you’re making.
8 – It Could Be Normal
Of course, it could be normal that the leaves are dropping. You see, hydrangeas are deciduous plants that will shed leaves each year.
This means that it’s perfectly normal for these plants to lose their leaves at the end of winter. Once the early days of spring come around, you’re going to see new leaves start to grow.
You might have known this already, but it’s good to hear in case you didn’t. If you were concerned about your hydrangeas, you might have not known that they’re meant to drop their leaves at a certain point in time each year.
Now you know more about hydrangeas and why their leaves might fall off. There are many potential reasons why this can happen, but you’ll be able to prevent the ones that occur due to mistakes.
Protect your plant from harsh sunlight to keep it from experiencing too many issues. It’s also going to be crucial to water them properly so that they can thrive.
If you aren’t careful, fungal infections could cause your plant serious harm. It might even be necessary to treat these shrubs for pests to keep them safe.
So long as you’re paying attention, it should be possible to protect your hydrangeas. Do your best to care for them and you’ll be able to enjoy their beauty for a long time.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.