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Old 06-30-2020, 02:53 PM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
784 posts, read 390,181 times
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We have a couple of mature hydrangeas that aren't doing well. Pictures are attached.

As far as I remember (over many years) these have never bloomed to the extent of having those full, round ball-shaped blooms. Now that I'm paying better attention, I notice they look like they're about to bloom, but never get past some white blossoms with the rest turning brown and dying off.

These face east, so they get plenty of morning sun, but are shaded from about noon or 1pm on. I believe they get plenty of water...maybe too much?

If anyone has any advice as to what's going on and what I can do to make these guys happier, I'm all ears!
Attached Thumbnails
Hydrangea Help Please-pic-1-50.jpg   Hydrangea Help Please-pic-2-50.jpg   Hydrangea Help Please-pic-3-50.jpg   Hydrangea Help Please-pic-4-50.jpg  
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Old 06-30-2020, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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I think you have lacecap hydrangeas. Google these for images of blooms. I don’t know what is causing the leaves to discolor. Take a pic or a leaf to a full service local nursery and ask.

You probably do need to acidify the soil though. You can buy soil supplements or acid fertilizer for your plants while you are visiting the nursery.

Every spring, I pound Jobe tree spikes for evergreens around mine. These work well in my high rainfall area. But any good fertilizer or supplements for rhodies or azaleas will work for hydrangeas.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:31 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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What Silibran said. Fertilize them with something for acid lovers, such as Holly-tone, according to the directions and see if it helps. They almost look scalded to me, as if they are getting too much sun. Did something change, so that they are getting more sun than before?

I can’t grow a hydrangea to save my life, but I did move a struggling one to a shadier area and it seems happier now.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:46 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
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Yes, that is a lace cap and will not produce the kind of bloom that you are trying to get. Those are a different variety, yours seem to be blooming what the lace cap looks like minus the brown. Try this. It is my go to for my hydrangeas.

https://gardenerspath.com/how-to/dis...ngea-diseases/
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:36 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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ImmerLernen, when was the last time you cut them right back to less than 8 inches high and thinned out all the small weak stems in order to rejuvenate the plants?

I see lots of new stem buds growth trying to emerge off the sides of stems but all the present stems are too closely crowded and desperately need a severe pruning and thinning to get rid of all those crowded weak stems. The browning of the leaves and blooms is partly from competition between stems taking strength away from each other, and from lack of air circulation and not enough light reaching struggling growth that is hidden under top growth and thus getting fungal infections from dampness and darkness in the interior branches. Hydrangeas can do well in shady areas but they do need some daily sunlight and can tolerate a lot more hours of sunlight than most people realize.

Right now you should prune away all the thin weak stems with browning leaves and flowers to open them up and let more light in, and snip off those browning leaves/flowers elsewhere that have been attacked by fungal infection, doing that will help a bit for the rest of summer. Then in the late autumn after all the leaves have dropped off you should severely cut the plants' branches and main leader trunks right back closer to the ground, about 6 to 8 inches above ground level. After you do that then you cut away any remaining thin, skinny weak stems and twigs growing off larger, stronger leader stems. It will make the plants look like stubby, naked little skeletons but don't worry about that, you will be amazed next spring/summer to see how it will rejuvenate the plants and get stronger new growth and better form of flowers and overall healthier production on them.

Unless you are trying to encourage your plants to turn into giants that don't get cut so short every year, hydrangeas can tolerate being cut way back every autumn and it will improve the plant's vigor and increase the size of its flowers. You can find websites with illustrations and youtube videos online that will show you step by step how to prune and thin the plants.
.
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Old 07-02-2020, 01:10 PM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
784 posts, read 390,181 times
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Wow! Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all the information. Now I feel like I have a starting point.

We did cut these back late last fall or early winter (can't remember exactly...we don't really get a winter here in Southern California, Zone 10b), but not way down to 6" to 8". At the time, I was worried that we waited too long after the blooms had died off to do that and that we might have over-pruned. Guess not!

Before last fall, we had a weekly service taking care of our lawn and most of our yard. Between the old man retiring and the younger successors not doing nearly as good a job, their becoming unreliable (never knowing quite when of if they'd show up), and their raising their rate before finally ghosting us (so weird), I found myself paying a lot closer attention to everything in our yard while DH and I took over the whole job. So I'm pretty new at all this, but I'm mostly enjoying it.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:42 PM
 
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My next door neighbor has heirloom hydrangeas that only bloom on old growth. If it’s a cold winter, she has no flowers. 0F in our climate is unusual and that’s sure to stop her from seeing flowers. If you chopped hers down to 8”, you wouldn’t get anything.

I have the Endless Summer variety that blooms on new growth. If I get a cold winter or cut them back too much, I don’t see flowers until August. We had a warm winter and I left 3’ stalks. I have a wall of blue flowers in front of my house now.

So I think you cut too much off.

My fiancée complains that I planted sterile things. I also have a dozen knockout roses in a hedge. No bees. No butterflies. No hummingbirds. She’s planted pollinators all over the rest of the yard. Live & learn.
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:50 AM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
784 posts, read 390,181 times
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If I want to try using hydrogen peroxide, how/where do I apply it?

One guy on youtube says to only use it to water the roots (avoid getting it on the plant itself), and another sourse says you can mist the leaves...
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Old 07-05-2020, 01:07 PM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
784 posts, read 390,181 times
Reputation: 1225
Update: After a good pruning day before yesterday, everything's looking so much better! I'm going to watch these for a bit before I do anything else. Here are my "after" pictures.
Attached Thumbnails
Hydrangea Help Please-after1.jpg   Hydrangea Help Please-after2.jpg   Hydrangea Help Please-after3.jpg   Hydrangea Help Please-after4.jpg  
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Old 07-05-2020, 08:00 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmerLernen View Post
If I want to try using hydrogen peroxide, how/where do I apply it?

One guy on youtube says to only use it to water the roots (avoid getting it on the plant itself), and another sourse says you can mist the leaves...
I think that's a controversial subject. Some people swear by it, some hate it. I know it gets used in some kinds of hydroponics operations but the roots are in solution, not in soil, and it definitely has to be used in very dilute form. And if sprayed on foliage there is risk of it burning foliage if the solution isn't diluted enough. I personally don't use it on plants in soil unless it is being used specifically to apply directly to disinfect and cauterize injuries/wounds on the plant by dabbing it on the injuries, I don't spray it all over the foliage.

Otherwise I don't use it at all because I don't want to take the risk of any of it dripping into the soil. It kills some types of beneficial anaerobic bacteria in the soil and it's toxic to earthworms, so it kills earthworms too and I can't be having that happening. That's a big no-no for me. I cultivate earthworms for all the plants, even the indoor house plants in small containers have each had a small hand full of earthworms added to the soil and every time I plant something new in the ground outside I add some more earthworms to the hole along with the root ball when the hole is being filled in.

Earthworms manufacture and excrete their own hydrogen peroxide as a waste product that's used as a defense mechanism against harmful bacteria in the soil, but adding more HP to their soil environment which they would then ingest as food would poison them and damage their cells and kill them. It would be sort of like somebody handing you a spoon and plate of bubbling, fizzy dog poop and saying "Here, eat this, it's good for you."

So, it would be interesting to see what others might have to say about their results from using it, and I personally feel that if you're going to try it you should first of all experiment with one plant only that is in sterile soil (no earthworms in it to kill) and observe the results of its effects on that one plant first before deciding to apply it to other plants in the garden outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmerLernen View Post
Update: After a good pruning day before yesterday, everything's looking so much better! I'm going to watch these for a bit before I do anything else. Here are my "after" pictures.
I can see them heaving great sighs of relief, "I can see the light!! I can breathe!!" You did a good job of cleaning them up and the foliage looks brighter already.

.
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