Is My Hydrangea Dead or Dormant? (5 Signs to Look For)
The hydrangea is a wonderful plant that can grow to 6 feet tall and produce large, attractive, fragrant flowers. However, it is a deciduous plant that will lose all of its leaves in the fall, which can cause many people to worry if it’s dead. If you aren’t sure what’s happening with your plant, keep reading as we list several signs to look for to help you determine the state of your hydrangea, along with tips and tricks that will help it produce more flowers.
The 5 Signs Determining If a Hydrangea Is Dead
1. Dead Leaves and Flowers
The hydrangea is a deciduous plant that loses its leaves and flowers each year in the fall. When the leaves dry up and fall off, that is a sign of a healthy plant. However, if the leaves remain on the plant, it suggests that the hydrangea is not able to shed them properly, and it means the plant is dead, especially if there are quite a few left on the plant when spring starts.
2. Stalled Growth
Your plant should start sprouting new branches in early spring, producing new leaves and flowers. If you notice that your hydrangea is not growing in the spring, there is a good chance that it is dead, especially if you also see wilted or withered leaves, flowers, and stems.
3. Dead Stems
If you suspect that your hydrangea is dead, one of the easiest ways to check is to use a sharp knife or even your fingernail to scrape away a small amount of the bark on one of the newer branches. If the wood underneath is green, your plant is alive and likely just temporarily dormant. However, if the wood beneath is brown, there is a good chance that the plant is dead.
4. Wilted Flowers and Stems
If the flowers and stems are suddenly showing signs of wilting during the summer or fall, it could be a sign that the plant is struggling to grow and dying.
5. Winter Chill
The hydrangea is easy to grow across the United States, enjoying growing zones from 4 to 9, depending on the variety. However, extremely cold temperatures, especially over an extended period, can cause the plant to stay dormant longer in the spring and might even result in the death of the plant. If you had a harsh winter, you might need to wait a little longer to see new growth, but check it after a short time using the scraping method to ensure that it isn’t dead.
Reviving a Stressed or Dying Plant
Other Tips and Tricks for Growing a Healthy Hydrangea
Your hydrangea is a deciduous plant that will lose its leaves and look dead each fall, but it is likely just dormant and waiting for spring to arrive, especially if you scrape away the bark and notice green growth underneath. However, if many dead leaves remain on the plant long after they turn brown, it might be dead, and you will know for sure if you don’t see any new growth in early spring. When there is a danger of frost, protect the plant from damage by covering it or moving it inside, and plant it where it will get plenty of morning sun and afternoon shade. Water it regularly, and add mulch to provide an optimal growing environment for your hydrangea, which will help it produce more flowers.
Featured Image Credit: ChiemSeherin, Pixabay