I had a pot of hydrangeas for a few months which I keep outside. I water them twice a day: in the morning and in the early/late evening. They receive little to no direct sunlight - which according to multiple internet sources is perfect.

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The flowers have had these dark green tips for some time. Many of the leaves are also wilted from the middle towards the tips. Also note the brown steam, though I am assuming that this is normal?

Perhaps I am over-watering them; however, I used to also water them (but a lesser amount) and was told by a gardener that they need a lot more water (they were quite dry).

What is wrong with my flowers?

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  • Is it in direct sun for most of the day? Jul 28, 2012 at 22:32
  • Not at all. There is a very small "courtyard" right in the middle of the building where I live and so it gets no direct sunlight pretty much.
    – WaelJ
    Jul 29, 2012 at 11:16
  • Ok, that's good then. Hydrangeas don't like too much sun and your leaves and flowers seemed like they were getting scorched (mine did last year before I learnt more about them and the leaves and flowers looked like this) Jul 29, 2012 at 11:22
  • They did get quite dry at one point, but that was because they did not receive a water. My fear was that I am in fact over-watering them at this stage.
    – WaelJ
    Jul 29, 2012 at 11:26
  • That could be another reason... they do require a steady water supply and should never be allowed to dry out Jul 29, 2012 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


I'm not surprised the flowers are in trouble - the whole plant is. The pot's too small - suggest you turn it out and pot into something bigger, with at least an inch all round and at the bottom for 'empty', fresh potting compost so that the rootball can grow into it. There's a bit of healthy, new leaf growth struggling to come on at the base on the right of the picture, so the plant is struggling to carry on, despite being so constricted. I can see there's a label in the pot, but can't see any varietal name - most H. macrophylla varieties (which this one is) get pretty large, often making 7 feet by 7 feet, but there are a few newer, smaller varieties, so these might be called H. macrophylla 'Baby Blue' for instance. You haven't said where you are in the world, but in the UK, Hydrangeas are hardy outside year round, although in a pot, they are slightly more vulnerable in colder regions here.

Update: As it just says 'hortensia', you still don't know how big its meant to get - these vary between 3/4 feet and 6 feet. You will need to pot it on, certainly bi yearly, possibly yearly, as it matures, and if you can find a spot actually in the garden for it, it'll do better there, though best planted out in autumn rather than now. Watering info contained in my comment below - make sure the pot has drainage holes, which then makes it impossible to overwater because it just runs out. Also best stood on something like pot feet or broken bits of roof slate or whatever to keep the base of the pot off the paving beneath. Update 2 Seen the trough, but although its lovely, and would be great for temporary planting, its not suitable for growing a large shrub like a Hydrangea - its way too shallow. Best to choose something with a depth of 40 cm.

  • Thanks for your answer. I never even considered the pot size to be an issue - leaned more towards the soil/watering being the issue. I shall get a pot a bigger pot and report back with what happens :) The label literally says "Hortensia (hydrangea)", in addition to care instructions. I am indeed in the UK (London) so hopefully that is not too cold for the flowers in the winter. Do you think my watering patterns are fine though?
    – WaelJ
    Jul 28, 2012 at 21:43
  • You'll probably find you need to water less once its in a big enough pot - the ratio of root to compost is wrong currently, so there's nothing to hold onto the water. Technically, you should only need to water twice a day if its in full sun and the weather's roasting, like the last few days have been. Otherwise, water when the surface of the compost is just dry to the touch, but not shrunken from the sides of the pot, and when you do water, water thoroughly, till it runs out the bottom. A bit of sun won't hurt it either - they do well in dappled shade.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 29, 2012 at 12:25
  • I have ordered this (amzn.to/MurxS7) rather than a pot. Space should not be an issue, and it provides plenty of room for more flowers.
    – WaelJ
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:23
  • I've no doubt I'm being particularly dense, but have no idea how to have a look at what it is you've ordered... bear in mind that if its a container of some kind, there is a problem with an excessive ratio of space filled with compost compared to the current rootball ratio....
    – Bamboo
    Jul 30, 2012 at 17:36
  • Sorry my bad, I forgot to make it a link (amzn.to/MurxS7)
    – WaelJ
    Jul 30, 2012 at 18:06

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