How to Revive a Wilting Hydrangea Properly

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Stephanie

The most frequent reason why hydrangeas die is due to dry soil. The soil must be kept in good condition and regularly watered in hot weather to avoid blooms and leaves from wilting. Small pots are drying out too fast and dont retain enough moisture, causing the hydrangeas to die.

For reviving a wilting plant, give the soil an adequate watering, then apply a layer of mulch to help conserve water. Also, ensure that your hydrangeas located away from the wind, and is in sunlight or dappled light and then afternoon shade.

This table lists the most frequent causes of hydrangeas dying:

Read on to find out the root cause of your hydrangeas wilt and the best strategies to revive your dying Hydrangea…

Potted Hydrangea Wilting

The reason why potted hydrangeas are dying is usually due to the pot being too small or has no drain holes at the bottom. Hydrangeas need a constant supply of humid soil. Small pots dry out faster, which leads to the hydrangea becoming wilted.

Pots that do not drain result in the soil becoming saturated, and the hydrangea begins to wilt and dies due to root decay.

The leaves of Hydrangeas are large with a wide surface that allows them to shed water. They quickly die in dry soil since they depend on moisture at the roots to absorb enough water to support their huge leaves.

Hydrangeas are thirsty and have large root systems that quickly outgrow the pot. Pots that are smaller have less capacity for soil, and thus retain less water, so they can die quickly even after irrigation.

hydrangea flowers close up

If the pot doesnt have drainage holes in its base or if there is a saucer or tray beneath, this could stop excessive water from draining and result in the soil becoming overflowing.

When the soil becomes inundated and the water is accumulating around the roots, this hinders the oxygen flow to the soil, which blocks the root from breathing.

If the roots are unable to breathe because they dont have access to oxygen, this hinders the ability of the roots to absorb water and nutrients from the soil for transport to the plant.

If the roots are unable to carry water or nutrients within the plant, the leaves will wilt and become yellow. If the roots are the soil that is saturated for too long, this can cause root rot, which result in the appearance of a dying Hydrangea.

How to Revive a Hydrangea Wilting in a Pot

  • Always plant your hydrangeas in large pots that measure minimum 12 inches in diameter with the same proportional depth. The pot of this size will have enough soil to provide enough moisture for the majority of flowers. But you might need to change the pot depending upon the height of your flowers. It is important to determine if the roots of your hydrangeas are pot tied. If so, replant the hydrangea in a larger pot.
  • I would personally suggest adding leaf mold into your potting mix since leaf mold has a remarkable capacity to hold in moisture and mimic the typical soil conditions that are found in the native hydrangeas. This will help maintain the ideal balance of moisture in the hydrangeas, preventing them from the wilting.
  • Pots of hydrangeas should be watered regularly to make sure that the soil remains damp but not overly too saturated. Pots will dry out faster than when the hydrangea was placed in a garden boarder therefore be careful in your watering. When the begin drying out to fingers depth, you should provide the planter with a good watering to revive the dying the hydrangea.
  • Plant hydrangeas in clay ceramic or terracotta pots since they are generally thicker and dont heat up like metal or plastic pots and planters.Thin plastic pots get hot in the sun faster and dry out the soil too quickly allow the roots of the hydrangea to absorb the water they require , which causes the hydrangeas wilting.
  • Always plant hydrangeas in pots that have drainage holes at the base. While hydrangeas like the soil to remain humid, they dont like the soil that is boggy, saturated and saturated therefore a good drainage around the base of the container is essential. Transfer your hydrangea into the pot with holes in its base as fast as you can and make sure that any excess water doesnt get into the pot using feet to lift the pot off of the surface.

When a hydrangea matures, the roots can become very extensive. Whenever I notice hydrangeas withered in pots, I verify if the roots are bound to pots or not.

Hydrangeas require a large amount of soil to potting around the roots since they like conditions that are always moist, which is why a bigger pot that has more capacity for soil is essential for potting up the hydrangeas.

Potted hydrangeas that have begun to wilt may be revived by plant the hydrangea again in larger pots, then replace the soil in the pot and water it as often as needed to ensure that the soil remains damp.

Make sure to place the hydrangea in a spot of sun in the morning, followed by shading in the afternoon or light through the day to allow it to regenerate and prevent scorching of the leaves.

If the hydrangea in the pot is in soil that has been saturated for a long period of time, it may become difficult to bring back because the roots begin to rot, which eventually kills the flower.

Hydrangea Wilting Due to Dry Soil Conditions

The wordhydrangea comes from the word hydra which means water, which is a sign of the ideal conditions for the hydrangea plant.

The most frequent cause of a dying hydrangea can be drought stress caused by inadequate soil, insufficient rain or watering, and also excessive heat. The soil must remain moist throughout the root system in order to prevent the appearance of wilting.

Hydrangeas grow naturally in woodland environments in dappled light, with soil that is composed of lots of organic matter (leaf mold) that retains lots of moisture around the root system.

If your hydrangea is located in an area with full sun or in the midday and in the late afternoon (when temperatures are at their highest) then the leaves of the hydrangea may turn to brown and then wilt because the leaves lose more water than the roots may draw in.

The sandy or stony soils drain too fast for roots of the hydrangea to absorb the moisture, resulting in dry soil conditions that result in the leaves of the hydrangea and flowers becoming wilted.

Hydrangeas are among the first plants in the garden to be afflicted by dying leaves during the event of drought or heat due to their high need for water.

To prevent the hydrangea from dying, it is essential to replicate their ideal environment in the garden…

How to Revive a Wilting Hydrangea Suffering Drought Stress

  • Move, plant or transplant the hydrangea (if its in the pot) to an area with morning sun , followed by afternoon shade (or diffused light during the daytime). The morning sun makes sure that the hydrangea is getting sufficient sunlight to show flowers as well as shade during the afternoon helps protect the hydrangea from heat during the hot time of day, preventing the leaves from burning and dying.
  • The ideal moment to plant a hydrangea is during the Fall or Spring instead of Summer to let the hydrangeas root system to grow in the soil, without having to endure the extreme summer temperatures. If your hydrangeas blooms are fading during the summer, I would suggest that you shade the hydrangea for a few hours during the afternoon until it is safe to transplant it in the fall when temperatures are lower and it stands the greatest chances of reviving.
  • In the event that your garden is stony, sandy and draining quickly, then you should plant the Hydrangea in a part of your garden that has been properly prepared by adding plenty of compost and leaf mold, or decayed manure up to an 18-inch depth (to accommodate the roots of the hydrangea) that helps recreate the conditions of moist soil which hydrangeas need to avoid dying.
  • If its too difficult to get rid of your dying the hydrangea, then give it an extremely thorough soak using an hose to make sure your soil remains evenly moist. then apply two inches of mulch on the surface of the soil surrounding the hydrangea in order to conserve the moisture.
  • The most effective mulching materials include leaf mold, compost or manure that has been well rotted because all three hold moisture, improve soils structure, and provide fertilizers to soil. Apply mulch at beginning of spring each year following the soaking of the soil. Ensure that the mulch does not come touching the growing above the ground, as a consistently damp material could cause rot to the living wood that is over that line of soil.
  • It is important to water your hydrangeas as frequently as you need to ensure that the soil remains damp (but not completely saturated). How often you should water the hydrangeas is dependent on a range of variables, so there isnt a universal rule of thumb regarding the frequency of watering your Hydrangeas. Make sure the soil is moist to the point of a finger. If it feels like its about to dry then give the hydrangea an extensive soak.
  • Make sure to water your hydrangeas completely. If you water them too little, it encourages roots to expand close to the surface, which could make the hydrangeas more susceptible to drought. A thorough watering helps stimulate the roots to grow in the soil, which improves the hydrangeas resistance to drought.

Recreate the hydrangeas preferred conditions for growth and making sure that the soil around it is always humid, the hydrangea will be able to recover from the appearance of its wilting.

Hydrangea Wilting After Planting

The reason that hydrangeas die after planting is due to transplant shock. This is due to a difference in light, soil, and watering conditions . conditions in which the hydrangea was planted according to the requirements that you have in your yard. Hydrangea leaves will wilt because the roots arent established and arent able to absorb enough water.

In nurseries for sale commercially, they are grown in a particular, controlled greenhouse environment. The conditions like humidity, temperature and sunlight as well as watering and the structure of soils that flow through air, and so on are uniform and are designed to produce the hydrangeas that are sold.

The hydrangea grows in this particular controlled setting. If you plant your hydrangeas in your garden, the different conditions could result in transplant shock since the hydrangea is forced to adjust to new conditions.

The shock can cause the hydrangeas flowers to turn brown in response to stress.

The roots must adapt to the new soil structure that might not be able to hold the same amount of moisture, or the increase in air flow is sucking too much moisture away from the leaves.

If the leaves lose excessive amounts of moisture, the will wilt as an attempt to survive, since wilting effectively decreases the surface of the leaf, which is where it loses water until the roots are able to grow in the new soil and draw in the water more efficiently.

This is why I suggest purchasing new hydrangeas from an area close to your house, since they tend to be better suitable for the local climate while some garden centers may import hydrangeas from other regions, so they may not be so well-suited to local conditions.

How to Revive a Wilting Hydrangea After Planting

  • Make sure that the hydrangeas are planted in the correct conditions and in the best position. The hydrangeas must be planted in dappled light as well as morning sun, followed with afternoon sun and planted in soil that is consistently moist, that is amended with organic matter away from winds, and watered frequently to ensure that the soil is always and equally humid.
  • Even in the most ideal of conditions and places, hydrangeas may be prone to wilting as they adjust to the changing soil conditions. While they are adjusting make sure to water the hydrangea frequently to stimulate root growth and the hydrangea will begin to recover.
  • Spread a 2 inch layer of mulch around the flowers that are just planted. This will help to retain the soils moisture and also prevents the sun from shining directly onto the soil, which could dry it out very quickly.
  • If you can, protect your hydrangea from direct sunlight when its still wilting after the planting. Wind breaks can provide an excellent temporary shade and stop too much airflow to dry out the leaves, which can cause them to turn brown.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that roots need time to grow after planting , which means that the hydrangea isnt able to absorb moisture in the same way until it is more established.

This is the reason that frequent irrigation is crucial to prevent hydrangeas from wilting after the planting.

The layer of mulch that is used as mulch is an efficient way to preserve water in soil to provide the ideal conditions for your hydrangea that is dying to reseed after the planting.

After a couple of weeks, the hydrangea will adjust to its new environment and its leaves will recover from their yellowed appearance.

(Read my article on ways to bring back the dying hydrangea).

Too Much Fertilizer Can Cause Wilting Hydrangea Leaves and Flowers

A high amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied frequently or in a excessive amounts can result in excess growth of foliage that becomes weak, sappy and falls down, revealing a wilting look. The excess nitrogen in the soil can cause the hydrangeas to show less flowers than usual.

Hydrangeas are a heavy feeder and typically require fertilizer in Spring.

But excessive nitrogen fertilizers tend to cause the hydrangeas stems and leaves to become weak and fragile ( and display less blooms) which leads to the plant to die and is more susceptible to diseases and pests.

The excess nitrogen may also come caused by lawn fertilizers that can be diluted in heavy rains and then run off into garden boards and harm the hydrangeas.

Theres nothing you can do once the fertilizer has been applied , and the hydrangeas have wilted or appears to be falling or drooping, other than reduce the amount of fertilizer.

I suggest applying a miracle-gro granular fertilizer which contains all the nutrients that the hydrangea needs and releases nutrients at a slower rate, that prevents the hydrangea from blooming prematurely or showing fewer flowers.

(Read my article on what is the reason my hydrangea flowering but not blooming? ).

The hydrangeas will resurrect its dying appearance in the next Spring.

(Read my article on what is the reason my hydrangeas changing color to into a green?)

Key Takeaways:

  • To bring back a wilting hydrangea recreate the natural conditions of the hydrangeas natural habitat by allowing dappled light, protect from wind gusts and keep the hydrangeas hydrated as often as needed to ensure that your soil remains evenly damp. Spread a layer of mulch to conserve water to revive dying leaves.
  • The most frequent reason why hydrangeas arent blooming is due to dry soil. They require a consistently humid soil to satisfy the demands of their huge leaves. They require watering frequently to keep the soil damp to stop leaves and flowers from dying.
  • The reason that hydrangeas wilt after planting is due to transplant shock. The difference in the soil, sun, and airflow cause the leaves to lose their color in response to stress. The roots of hydrangeas require time to settle in the soil following planting in order to draw in water and revive the dying leaves.
  • The reason that hydrangeas are wilting in pots is usually due to the fact that the pot is too small and it dries too fast for the hydrangeas to soak up water, resulting in the leaves turning brown. If the pot doesnt have drainage holes, then the excessive water may collect around the roots, which can cause the leaves to turn brown.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)