Why Do Hydrangea Leaves Turn Brown?

Last Updated on November 18, 2022 by Stephanie

Hydrangeas are famous because of their ability to resist diseases and insects. However, many aspects can cause problems with the health of plants.

It is crucial in this scenario to get rid of them as quickly as is possible.

Even if the leaves are an additional attraction, the hydrangeas leaves becoming brown is a typical issue that you could experience.

The absence of nutrients in the soil is the primary reason for the browning of hydrangea leaves. This is typical in the branched hydrangeas that are grown in one place for longer than five years, or in soils that lack trace elements, particularly iron. Additionally, fungal infections and temperatures stress as well as transplant shock and insects can cause the leaves of hydrangeas to brown.

Before we dive to the specifics Heres a table that provides the causes, symptoms and possible solutions:

Causes of Hydrangea Leaves Turning Brown

Diseases of Hydrangea Cause Brown Leaves

The pathogenic fungi are the culprits for the various ailments. They are a major riskand treatment is often a long and complex process.

Whatever the diseases initial stages, they all share one feature in common: rapid spread throughout the plant as well as the destruction of its parts (from leaves to stems as well as inflorescences).

The high humidity and the early contamination of soil and surrounding plants are the most common causes of fungal infections.

Here are some of the most common fungal illnesses that can cause leaves to change color:

Gray rot

The primary effect is on leaves, which results in a soft gray shade that eventually dries and forms brown patches and then crumbles into dust.

The result of overwatering or overcrowding of hydrangeas are the most frequent reason for rotting.

Downy Mildew

The most obvious symptoms of downy mildew are dark brown , greasy patches on the leaves of hydrangea. It is possible to treat this condition quickly, but only in the initial stages.

If you are unable to eliminate treat the fungus immediately the fungus quickly expands to every part of the f, and it is almost impossible to eliminate.

High temperatures and high humidity (20 degC/68degF) provide ideal conditions for the development of downy mildew.


Septoria is a fungus which produces tiny (up to 5 millimeters) bright patches that have brown borders.

The disease quickly propagates throughout the plant during its expansion.

The septoria blight is more prevalent during the summer months when it is cold and humid.


The majority of rusts are caused by excessive nitrogen and water within the soil.

It appears as tiny yellow dots which rapidly turn brown. These conditions cause leaves to wilt.

There is a rusty dust in the affected area, which is mycelium.

It is able to spread through the winds and be transmitted to all plants in the end.

How to Fix:

  • Make sure the leaves are dry, dont soak them with water.
  • Beware of overwatering. A humid environment is ideal for fungi to grow.
  • Utilize copper-based fungicides.

Hydrangia deep pink purple colour

Underwatering Can Cause Hydrangea Leaves to Turning Brown

The hydrangea is susceptible to insect infestations if the soil is dry particularly when temperatures rise.

Sap sucking insects squeeze the life from the leaves, causing them to change color to brown.

Additionally, due to the extremely dry soils the root system will struggle to absorb water as and other nutrients.

In the absence of water and nutrients the leaves will suffer and become to brown or yellow gradually.

In this instance, the edges and tips of the leaves are more likely to brown first due to the difficulty to get to the tips and edges by means of microelements and water.


  • Mulching the soil with sawdust, peat or spruce branches could aid in keeping the soil moist.
  • Check regularly the soil levels of moisture and water level when the topsoil is dry.

Overwatering Leads to Root Rot Disease

Fungal infections can be caused by frequent irrigation that prevents the soils surface layer from drying out.

The leaves of your hydrangea begin to turn yellow as well as the root begins to decay in this instance.

Nutrients wont be effectively transported without the presence of water. Photosynthesis is not possible without water. However when the water level is too high, the plant cells explode and die.

These are the negative effects of a water supply imbalance which could lead to the demise of your hydrangea.

How to Fix:

  • Whatever your choice for hydrangeas make sure to ensure that you water your plant with care and in a gentle way.
  • Make sure that drainage holes are functional and a tray for removing excess moisture when growing in pots.
  • Water only at the time that the top 1-2 inches of the potting soil are dry. The frequency of watering will vary based on the season temperatures, humidity and so on. It is more frequent during summer.
  • Make sure the soil is completely dry prior to watering again in order to avoid root rot.

Pest Infestation

In hydrangeas, the most common pests include slugs, scales, beetles, aphids, as well as fruit worms.

The majority of them attack the leaves and stems by eating the leaves, cutting them or even laying eggs.

Here are some insects that can cause the leaves of hydrangeas to change color:


Aphids feed through sucking the sap out of plants delicate parts.

Despite their massive number, they are usually managed by predators of nature (ladybugs as well as lacewings and other species).

Drying and yellowing of the foliage are the first signs of an aphid infestation.

Spider Mites

The spider mite a blight that feeds on sap of plants and is almost undetectable to an untrained eye. In hot, dry conditions, the fastest reproduction takes place.

If you look closely, you will see a tiny cobweb as well as the appearance of brown spots on the leaves and stems in the affected parts in the plant. Then, the Hydrangea leaves will dry and begin to curl.

How to Fix:

  • Check your plants regularly and remove any insects that you spot. Prevention is always better than cure therefore it is better to eliminate the pests before they cause damage to your hydrangea.
  • Use pesticides as needed. If you are finding it difficult to control the pests, it is possible to apply pesticides to manage the pests. Be cautious not to apply too much because it could be harmful to the plants.
  • Make sure you have a healthy and safe environment for your Hydrangea. Pests can attack when the conditions are favorable to allow them to flourish.

Too Much Heat

The plants lose more water when temperatures are too hot. If this condition continues and the water supply isnt quickly delivered to the plant cells, they shrink. This is why youll often notice the leaves curving up and falling down.

The tips of the hydrangea leaf were drained due to the large difference between the temperatures of night and day.

A rapid decline in activity can cause stress, which in turn causes stress metabolic processes in the plant tissues are significantly reduced.

Its not causing any major damage to your hydrangeas however it could affect the large-leaved varieties.

Hydrangea isnt a fan of temperature fluctuations particularly the sudden rise. A good temperature range for the blooming hydrangea is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius).

The high temperature can causes plant cells to die , result in the leaves turning brown.

The leaves of these brown varieties are usually dry and crisp when they are touched because of their dehydrated state.

How to Fix:

  • Place your hydrangeas in a partially shaded area. If your hydrangea receives direct sunlight, you can move it from the current spot and put it in a cooler spot.
  • In hot weather, you should increase the amount of water you drink to compensate for the loss of moisture which results in a higher transpiration rate.


Although hydrangeas love the bright sunlight, they can not stand up to direct sunlight. In excess sunlight, the leaves of hydrangeas to brown and fade over time.

The suns light is an important source of energy that plants need to carry out photosynthesis. However not all wavelengths of sunlight are beneficial for plants.

The leaves edges and those in the middle of leaves, are scorched because of sunlight exposure. This is the way sunlight burns appear on surface of the leaf.

How to Fix:

  • Beware of a place with direct or extended sun exposure.
  • If the sun gets too bright, you can use shades to shield your Hydrangeas.
  • Make sure you drink enough water to prevent dehydration.

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Cold Drafts

The ideal temperature for hydrangeas in your home is between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius (68-72 degF) Higher temperatures result in leaves turning brown and reddish, as well as yellow.

Effects of freezing drafts on plants can be seen in browning, wilting, and the death of the plant.

Hydrangeas arent very good at dealing with extreme temperature changes and strong breezes.

It is recommended to place the plant in a secure area, away from fences and tall trees in the street.

How to Fix:

  • Beware of areas where cold air directly hits the plant, such as near an air conditioning unit, an open door or window.
  • Create a hedge around your plant to act as an effective shield.

Soil Lacks Water Holding Capacity

The capacity for water retention of soil determines how much water will hold to meet the needs of the plant.

It determines the amount of water it absorbs as well as stores it during the watering, so that plants be able to utilize the water in between.

If soil isnt equipped with a water-holding capacity, it is likely that it is likely to lose water. If this happens the plants will be affected by drought. Plants will not get enough water to support their activities.

The slow wilting of plants can lead to the browning of leaves of Hydrangea. In the beginning, youll notice how the leaves have become limp. Gradually, they becomes crisp and brown.

How to Fix:

  • Improve the texture of the soil by adding more organic matter. Organic matter functions as sponges that absorb and retains more water in the soil. The proportion of organic matter required will be determined by the type of the soil youre using to grow your hydrangea.
  • Sprinkle mulch over the soil. This can slow the release of moisture , and simultaneously provide organic matter for the plants to eat later in time.

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Fertilizer Residue or Salt Buildup

Your hydrangea may require some help, so youve added fertilizer to help its development.

Its perfectly acceptable to add sources of nutrition because they require them. But, it must be done with care.

A lot of fertilizer, particularly ones that release quickly and are present in soil can cause salt to accumulate.

They also increase soils acidity. The high salt content results in cells shrinking and end up dying.

This causes darkening of leaves and eventually the death of plants.

This is why, within a couple of days, the leaves start looking burnt if theres excessive fertilizer used.

How to Fix:

  • Apply fertilizer only when it is necessary. Hydrangea requires fertilizer just once per year, and thats in the spring, either late or early or in the middle of the summer.
  • Apply fertilizer according to guidelines. In general, a complete fertilizer should be applied approximately 2 to 3 inches over the topsoil, and must be covered. Manufacturers are likely to have clear instructions on how to apply it, so make sure to adhere to them.
  • Choose organic fertilizer. They release slowly and dont harm plants. You can plant the most you want without fearing that youll burn the hydrangea.

Transplant Shock

Normal for plant species to suffer shock following transplantation. The roots take time to settle into the new environment.

In this time of transition the hydrangeas appearance will change to be dying and will become brown over time.

Its also common for older leaves to brown then die and fall off. off.

This doesnt necessarily suggest that the plants are dying. Give it a few more days until the new leaves begin to sprout.

How to Fix:

  • Take care not to harm the roots when transplanting.
  • Cut off the upper leaves in proportion to the cut part beneath the the ground.

Constricted Root

If the roots arent as healthy as they ought to be, the health of the plant is in danger. This is due to the plants capacity to soak in nutrients and water is being hampered.

Roots that are constrictive are unable to cope with stressors in the environment.

Because of its limited capacities, the hydrangea that has restricted roots may be dehydrated or suffer from nutrient deficiency.

Both of these conditions could lead to discoloration of leaves and the deterioration of the entire leaf that the plants have.

How to Fix:

  • Be sure to plant the hydrangea into a pot which is proportional in size to its roots. Make sure to use pots that are too small.
  • Cut off a few roots prior to transplanting, but be cautious not to harm it.
  • Make sure you have enough soil for roots to be anchored on.

Deficiency or Excess Nutrient

The brownish leaves of the Hydrangea can indicate potassium deficiencies within the soil.

If this element is not functioning properly when it is deficient, the tips of the leaves of the hydrangea turn dry and brown.

It first appears in the lower part of the bush, and it gradually increases up to the top.

Additionally, a deficiency of iron could cause the tips of leaves to become dry due to a malfunction in the process of photosynthetic.

In this case the intensity of the leaves first fades and the veins remain dark green. They then begin drying out.

The excess fertilizer can have an adverse effect on the hydrangea. It can also cause leaves tips to dry out.

In the end, at the close of the flowering season reduce the amount of fertilizer and the amount of dressings.

How to Fix:

  • It is essential to ensure that soils are properly fertilized with organic matter to ensure that it is nourished with enough nutrients from the beginning.
  • Fertilize as needed. Over time the nutrients present in the soil are diminished. To ensure the continued development of your hydrangea plant it is essential to supplement your fertilizer with a fertiliser. required.

Inadequate Light

Light is the fuel source for the Hydrangea. If a plant is getting sunlight will have leaves that have bright green hues.

Hydrangea is a great choice for those who want the diffused light that encourages lush foliage and abundant blooms.

If you place your plant in a west or south-facing windowsill, you can make it appear more sunny.

Keep in mind that the heat scorching causes permanent burns to the leaves and makes them appear dead because of the long hours of darkness.

In the absence of sufficient light leaves will face difficulties in making the food they consume.

If the plant is not properly treated If the plant is not treated properly, it will die and starve. The leaves begin to change brown because cell division is taking place.

How to Fix:

  • It is recommended to plant the hydrangeas in areas near fences or houses. The hydrangeas like early morning light over sunlight in the afternoon.
  • Hydrangeas thrive in a secure area with morning sunlight as well as afternoon sun.
  • If you are in need you need to use artificial lighting. The cold winter months restrict the hydrangeas exposure sunlight. To accommodate the needs of the plant you can add more light sources to the space.

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Low Humidity

Insufficient humidity indicates that there is a lesser amount of water vapors in the air. This allows for more air to hold more water vapors.

Hydrangeas tend to lose more water when the humidity is low.

Since water is lost faster than it is utilized by plants, the soils water storage is rapidly diminished.

This leads to dryness and withering of leaves. The result is that the leaves become brown.

Indoor plants require at least 40% to 50% humidity level.

The maintenance of this level isnt easy, but there are methods you can increase the humidity in the room.

How to Fix:

  • Use the humidifier. The humidifier improves humidity by release of water vapor into air.
  • It is possible to mist the leaves in the event that the air is too dry. This can boost the quantity of moisture present in the air, and decrease the loss of water within the leaves.

Potted Hydrangea Leaves Turning Brown Due to Poor Drainage

The main reason for browning leaves is the root rot. Rotting can be caused by the accumulation of water in pots.

If your soil isnt properly drained or your holes arent adequate to let the water drain the hydrangea will be susceptible to root decay.

Poor drainage could be a result of a poor soil mix, particularly when it is not able to provide adequate areas to store oxygen.

The absence of draining holes or none in the first place could be another reason. A pot that isnt big to hold the additional water could be another reason.

How to Fix:

  • Begin with a great soil mix. Make sure to add some organic material, especially in soils with higher clay content. This can increase the capacity of drainage in the soil.
  • Make sure you use a pot of a the right size for the hydrangea you are growing. If it is too big or small will not be a good idea.
  • Be sure that the pots have enough holes that allow water to drain easily.

How to Maintain Healthy Hydrangea Leaves?

The leaves are a sign of the health of the plant. It is important to pay careful to the signs they display in the beginning stages in order identify immediate solutions to the issues. A healthy plant will develop healthy leaves.

If you spot any anomalies you notice any abnormalities, make sure to quickly identify the issue and offer an immediate solution.



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 :)