Hydrangea Leaves Turning Brown And Curling Up

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Hydrangea leaves turning brown and curling up – When your hydrangea leaves start turning brown and curling up, it’s a sign that something is amiss. This common problem can be caused by a variety of factors, from environmental stresses to pests and diseases. In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of hydrangea leaf discoloration and curling, and provide tips on how to prevent and treat these issues.

Hydrangeas are beautiful flowering shrubs that can add a touch of elegance to any garden. However, these plants can be susceptible to a number of problems, including leaf discoloration and curling. If you’re noticing these symptoms on your hydrangeas, don’t panic! In most cases, the problem can be easily resolved with a little care and attention.

Environmental Factors

Hydrangeas, known for their vibrant blooms and lush foliage, are susceptible to various environmental factors that can cause their leaves to turn brown and curl up. Understanding these factors is crucial for maintaining healthy hydrangeas and addressing any issues that may arise.

Extreme temperatures, inadequate or excessive sunlight, and soil conditions can significantly impact the health of hydrangea leaves. Let’s explore each of these factors in detail.

Temperature, Hydrangea leaves turning brown and curling up

Hydrangeas thrive in moderate temperatures, typically ranging from 60 to 80°F (15.5 to 26.7°C). When exposed to extreme temperatures, such as excessive heat or freezing cold, the plant’s leaves can react negatively.

High temperatures can cause leaves to wilt, turn brown, and scorch at the edges. Prolonged exposure to heat stress can also lead to leaf drop and stunted growth. On the other hand, freezing temperatures can damage cell membranes, resulting in brown, brittle leaves that may eventually fall off.


Hydrangeas require adequate sunlight for optimal growth and flowering. However, both insufficient and excessive sunlight can have detrimental effects on the leaves.

In low-light conditions, hydrangeas may produce fewer flowers and exhibit pale, elongated leaves. Insufficient sunlight can also hinder photosynthesis, affecting the plant’s ability to produce chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for its characteristic color. As a result, leaves may turn yellow or brown due to lack of chlorophyll.

Conversely, excessive sunlight can cause sunburn on the leaves, leading to brown or yellow patches. The intensity of sunlight can vary depending on the time of day, season, and geographical location. During the hottest part of the day, it is advisable to provide shade for hydrangeas to prevent sun damage.

Soil Conditions

The condition of the soil plays a crucial role in the overall health of hydrangeas, including the appearance of their leaves. Well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is ideal for hydrangeas.

Soil that is too alkaline can result in iron deficiency, causing leaves to turn yellow and develop green veins (a condition known as chlorosis). Iron is essential for chlorophyll production, and its deficiency affects the plant’s ability to photosynthesize effectively.

On the other hand, soil that is too acidic can lead to aluminum toxicity, which can also cause leaf discoloration and stunting. In acidic soil, aluminum becomes more soluble and can be absorbed by the plant, interfering with nutrient uptake and water absorption.

Pests and Diseases


Hydrangea leaves turning brown and curling up can also be caused by pests and diseases. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment and prevention.

Common Pests

  • Aphids:Small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant sap, causing leaves to curl and turn yellow.
  • Spider Mites:Tiny, web-spinning pests that suck plant juices, leading to leaf discoloration and browning.
  • Lace Bugs:Lace-like insects that pierce leaves, causing stippling and brown spots.


  • Botrytis Blight:A fungal disease that causes gray mold on leaves, stems, and flowers.
  • Cercospora Leaf Spot:A fungal disease that creates circular brown spots with yellow halos on leaves.
  • Powdery Mildew:A fungal disease that forms a white, powdery coating on leaves, inhibiting photosynthesis.

Preventive Measures

To prevent pests and diseases, consider the following measures:

  • Keep plants healthy and vigorous through proper watering, fertilization, and pruning.
  • Inspect plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases and treat promptly.
  • Avoid overwatering, which can create a favorable environment for fungal diseases.
  • Promote air circulation by spacing plants appropriately.
  • Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests.
  • Apply fungicides according to label instructions to prevent or treat diseases.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Hydrangea leaves turning brown and curling up

Essential nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining the health and vitality of hydrangeas. Deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to a range of leaf problems, including browning and curling.

The most common nutrient deficiencies that can affect hydrangeas are:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Correcting nutrient imbalances is essential for restoring hydrangea health and preventing further leaf problems. This can be achieved through:

  • Soil testing to determine the specific nutrient deficiencies
  • Applying fertilizers that are formulated to address the specific nutrient needs of hydrangeas
  • Using organic matter, such as compost or manure, to improve soil fertility and nutrient availability

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth and development. Nitrogen deficiency can lead to stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and reduced flowering. In hydrangeas, nitrogen deficiency can also cause leaves to turn brown and curl up.

To correct nitrogen deficiency, apply a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Organic sources of nitrogen, such as compost or manure, can also be used to improve soil fertility and provide a slow-release source of nitrogen.

Physiological Disorders: Hydrangea Leaves Turning Brown And Curling Up

Hydrangea leaves turning brown and curling up

Physiological disorders are non-infectious conditions that affect hydrangeas due to environmental stress or internal factors. These disorders can cause leaf scorch, wilting, and other symptoms that impact the plant’s health and appearance.

Leaf Scorch

Leaf scorch occurs when the edges of the leaves turn brown and dry, often due to excessive sunlight, heat, or drought. It can also be caused by high salt levels in the soil or fertilizer burn.

To manage leaf scorch, provide adequate shade during hot afternoons, water deeply and regularly, and avoid over-fertilizing.

Other Physiological Disorders

Other physiological disorders that can affect hydrangeas include:

  • Wilting:Caused by lack of water or root damage.
  • Chlorosis:Yellowing of leaves due to nutrient deficiencies, particularly iron or magnesium.
  • Necrosis:Death of plant tissue due to extreme temperatures or other stressors.

Managing these disorders involves addressing the underlying stress factors, such as providing adequate water, nutrients, and protection from extreme temperatures.

Pruning and Care

Hydrangeas require proper pruning, watering, fertilizing, mulching, and pest control to maintain their health and beauty.

Pruning Techniques

Prune hydrangeas in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove dead, diseased, or damaged stems. Cut back old canes to the ground. For large, overgrown shrubs, remove one-third of the oldest canes each year.

Watering and Fertilizing

Water hydrangeas deeply and regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. Fertilize in spring with a balanced fertilizer. Avoid overwatering or fertilizing, as this can damage the plant.

Mulching and Pest Control

Mulch around hydrangeas to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Use an organic mulch, such as compost or shredded bark. Inspect hydrangeas regularly for pests and diseases. Treat infestations promptly with appropriate pesticides or fungicides.