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La_chica_gomela's avatar

Is my hydrangea dying?

Asked by La_chica_gomela (12574points) July 31st, 2008

I received one of those pretty hydrangea plants with the foil around the base as a gift, and it had a very beautiful show, and then the flowers died (as flowers tend to do) which didn’t really bother me. But then the leaves started to fall off, which I became a little concerned about. To give a full picture, I I rent, and I have to keep it indoors because I don’t have any “outdoors”. I keep it right next to a window, and most of the leaves that fell off were on the side away from the window. I have noticed a fine mesh that looks like spiderwebs on it, but it only occurs around the stubs where the flowers were, and its not really in a web that looks useful for catching bugs at all, it looks more like tiny tiny string wrapped around the dead stems of the flowers. I read up on the hydrangea society website about them, and they said not to overwater, so i’ve been watering it a little less, and it seems better than before, but I’m really weirded out by this cobweb thing. Does anyone have a hydrangea? Has anyone seen this before? What can I do about it? Should I do anything about it?

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14 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Spider Mites. Get Safer Soap quick.

AstroChuck's avatar

Don’t fret. Hydrangeas are incredibly resilient. I’ve more than once counted out my plant. They can look pretty bad, I know. But wait until cooler weather and you’ll be surprised by how healthy it will look. Just remember to trim the dead blossoms. I’ve been lucky this summer and had no problems with it so far and have nice purple flowers.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Marina! So cryptic! What is “Safer Soap”? Where can I get it?
Astrochuck, how will cooler weather help? My hydrangea is inside…

AstroChuck's avatar

Boy, I need to slow down when I read. Somehow I totally missed that it was indoors.
As for Safer Soap, it’s a pesticide soap and is organic. Any nursery worth its salt should carry it.
Hope you have luck bringing it back to health.

Curious404's avatar

Maybe root rot?

syz's avatar

Um, I may be mistaken, but I don’t think hydrangeas do well as indoor plants. I treat those pretty little blooming gifts the same way I do pots of blooming azaleas – as soon as the blooms fade, I take it outside and plant it.

marinelife's avatar

Spider Mites. See if the webbing looks familiar. Safer Soap is a detergent-based insecticide (very mild) that is effective for removing spider mites. You can also use a homemade solution.

You may want to look at this site, aptly titled Managing the Foil Wrapped Hydrangea.

gailcalled's avatar

Prune heavily; remove from pot (clean pot and sterilize w. bleach); throw away soil (probably infested) and plant outdoors with good soil, sun and good circulation. To trap horrible aphids, spider mites, and white flies, paint a piece of clear glass or plastic yellow, rub with mineral oil or vasoline and hang or place near plants. Small bugs will be attracted by the color and stick to surface.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Thanks for the advice, syz and gail, but as I wrote in the question, I don’t have an “outside” to plant it in.

Marina, thanks for the link. That’s actually the same one I looked at already that made me realize I had been watering it too much.

Thanks, Marina and Astrochuck! I will definitely get some “safer soap”.

Seesul's avatar

As mentioned before, whatever you do, don’t give it up for dead. I always wait until Spring and what looks like dead, has always come back. Too bad you can’t put it outside, mine went absolutely wild outside, even when I have to abandon it (vacation) and a heat spell hits and looks like it killed it.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, there is a park there that has trained them into trees. They completely line the perimeter. Absolutely gorgeous. You can also change the color by what you feed them. I’m sure gail knows that secret too. I have a bag of secret stuff that my mom gave me before she passed away. It turns them blue.

gailcalled's avatar

Color depends on acidity or alkalinity of soil outside. But you do need an “outside,” which
La_Chica reminded us she did not have. (I had trouble reading the body of your question. My eyes need breaks or paragraphs.)

From one expert
“Can the mineral content of the soil be adjusted to get a different color hydrangea?

A: Yes, but only on a particular species of hydrangea, the bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla). Aluminum sulfate will make the soil acid and give the flower a blue hue. Adding limestone will make the soil pH more alkaline and turn the flower pink. Have fun trying but don’t have high expectations for good coloration.”

The hydrangeas on Cape Cod are a spectacular purple – due to salt-air breezes, I think.

Seesul's avatar

Now that you mention it, gail, the hydrangeas my mom grew when I was a child were both purple. We lived by the beach.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

sorry gail. i take your subtle hint. you’re right! i’ll do better next time.
were you a teacher in a past life? you just…know so much!

gailcalled's avatar

@La chica; I did teach, among other things, but my earliest hobbies were reading, looking up words, writing and even reading the encyclopedia under the covers in bed w.a flashlight, illegally. The other trick is to live long and prosper; you’d be amazed what you pick up (or whom) along the way.

Also, as Tim would know, I was blessed with the Finkel genes. That was half the battle

Still much to learn. Yesterday I had the plumber give the house its yearly physical. I picked up a few tricks. Unscrew the shower head and soak in vinegar for 15 minutes to loosen calcium deposits.

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