We have a hydrangea in its second season planted outside (New York region). The plant gets a lot of sun for most of the day.

The plant had pink flowers the first season and the beginning of this season but not far into this summer the flowers turned a light yellowish/brownish green.

Nothing changed in the soil composition during that time.

Could the change in color be due to a problem with watering and/or the amount of sun?

I've included a photo of the plant below:

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  • Oh dear, yes, not a nice colour - but I don't recognise the variety, do you still have a label, or know the whole name? Has your weather been unusually hot this year?
    – Bamboo
    Jul 31, 2012 at 16:07
  • Sorry - we don't have the name of the variety. We have had some hot days. Not really unusual for our area, but I can't say if it is unusual for this plant since it's only the second season growing here. Jul 31, 2012 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


Makes it more difficult to diagnose because we don't know the variety. The leaves are quite dark green for a hydrangea, and also rather sparse, seemingly. Note that flower colour change (from pink to blue, or the other way around, or from blue to a sort of faded lilac) is an indicator of the ph of the soil, but this is only true in Hydrangea macrophylla 'hortensia' varieties. Yours, though, looks more faded, like the flowers do at the end of the season, as they start to dry.

Hydrangeas generally prefer dappled shade, though some tolerate a fair bit of sun, and they like moisture retentive, but not waterlogged, rich soil. As you only planted them last year, I'd assume this is a watering issue, given that they're in full sun. If you'd had a very hot year with blazing sun, that might have faded the flowers like this, but infrequent and insufficient water supply would have a similar effect. Given the scarcity of foliage (unless there's more lower down, out of shot, which is lush), increase watering. Best to water a lot and infrequently (once a week if its dry) rather than a little daily. If you didn't enrich the soil before planting, a mulch of good composted material (animal manure compost or good soil conditioning compost) applied in spring around the base should help.

  • Thank you - your comments about the watering make a lot of sense to me. We have not been watering very deeply and the bed has very easy drainage (raised bed with a rock wall edge) so I think it is likely not retaining much water. Thanks much! Aug 1, 2012 at 15:37

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