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Hydrangeas are an expensive complement to the backyard or landscape due to their magnificent blooms of colorful flowers. However, overwatering them may impede the entire development and progress of the Hydrangea. Although Hydrangeas flourish in direct sunlight and moist soils, inadequate drainage or excessive watering leads to root conditions that affect the growth and beauty of the plant.
Overwatering can prohibit future bloom production of the Hydrangea. The Hydrangea plant best in moist soil and not wet soil; hence might wither and collapse if overwatering is not rectified. One reason why people overwater hydrangeas is when they wilt in the afternoon sun. Our instinctive reaction is to run out and water the plant, but that’s not always the best option.
Symptoms of overwatered Hydrangeas
There are many ways to know whether you have overdone watering your hydrangeas or not. First, your plant will show signs that the human eye can easily detect. Then, constantly looking at your Hydrangea, you will know when it is normal or not. So, below are the common indicators of overwatering:
1. Rotting of roots
This one is not as noticeable as the other symptoms because roots are hidden under the soil. Therefore, it would be difficult to know when roots rot until you see other symptoms appearing above the ground. Rotting roots are brown in color and slimy when touched. They also have an awful smell.
2. Browning and wilting of leaves
Due to the root rot problem, some changes occur in the color of the foliage. Particularly, plants that are overwatered will generally develop brown leaves that are mushy when touched. This is caused by the presence of too much water in the plant cells.
The browning of leaves is noticeable on its edges. Don’t get this mistaken with the browning that is caused by under-watering. Under Watered leaves are dry, while overwatered leaves are soft and pulpy.
3. Yellowing of leaves
Another effect of overwatering is hydrangea leaves turning yellow. Due to the lack of essential nutrients available for the plant’s consumption because of the damaged root system. This impedes the transport of nutrients from the soil to the leaves.
4. Dropping of leaves
When your Hydrangea is overwatered, it will begin dropping off both old and new leaves from its stem. This is because too much water causes the plant cells to burst and die, leading the petioles to lose their strength. As a result, the leaves will start to detach from its stem.
5. Stunted growth
A normal indoor hydrangea would grow up to 60 cm. If your plant is not reaching this height and is not growing healthy foliage, then overwatering may be a reason.
6. Presence of molds
A moist environment inhibits the development of molds. Therefore, when you allow your Hydrangea to have sustained moisture exposure, it will encourage the growth of spores.
How to handle an Overwatered Hydrangea
a) Repot the plant to remove damaged roots
- Carefully take the plant out of its pot.
- Shake off excess soil to expose the roots.
- Examine the roots and look for the rotten ones. Then, prune them out of the plant.
- Allow the roots to dry off a little by setting them aside before potting them again.
- Use fresh soil with good drainage and a pot that is the right size with enough drainage holes.
- Replant your Hydrangea to the new pot and fill in spaces with just enough soil.
- Water the newly repotted Hydrangea until it’s fully soaked.
b) Relocating the plant to save leaves from wilting
- Locate a place inside your room that has no direct contact with sunlight but is not too dim.
- Add additional shade to your Hydrangea using bigger leafy plants or a curtain.
c) Remove damaged leaves
- Carefully cut the leaves off using pruning shears or scissors to allow more space for new leaves to flourish.
- Trim off the leaves above in proportion to the roots you pruned below. This is to sustain the growth of the above parts of the plants.
Watering guidelines of Hydrangea
1. Water your Hydrangea in the morning
It’s best to water in the morning because the heat will help evaporate excess moisture throughout the day. It will also help supply water to the very much-needed plants when the season is hot.
2. Water at least three times a week
Since Hydrangea is relatively a big indoor plant, it would need more water. The ideal frequency is at least three times a week. But, you have to adjust this when the season gets hotter or colder.
3. Ensure you do not water the leaves and the flowers
Just go directly with the roots. It’s the roots’ job to transport these water molecules to various parts of the plant body. Avoid splashing on the leaves and its flowers.
4. Water around the pot
Make sure to saturate the soil by watering it around the container. Don’t just concentrate on one place. This is to properly distribute the moisture to the soil and hydrate all the roots of the plant.
Common mistakes when watering Hydrangea
i. Watering during the night
Have you noticed that when you wake up, the soil is still moist? If you continue that practice, your plant will soon experience root rot, especially when colder evenings come.
ii. Watering without a consistent schedule
Regular watering helps the plant get enough water at the time when it needs it. Intervals give time for the soil to dry off completely before receiving water again.
If you do not have a consistent watering schedule, you may water too early or too late. Both are dangerous to the Hydrangea as it may cause over hydration or dehydration, resulting in death. Therefore, you have to know exactly when to water again.
iii. Watering even during wet seasons
Your plant wouldn’t need more water during wet or cold seasons. The water molecules will not transpire that easily when the air is humid or saturated. That means your plant will hold water for a longer period.
If you add more water during this time, it will be excess of what your plant consumes. Waterlogging will then follow.
iv. Watering the leaves and the flowers
Watering leaves creates a moist environment, favorable for fungi to develop on the leaves and flowers. This is not good because it will just start the spread of unwanted diseases.
In the case of indoor plants which have less exposure to sunlight, water will take longer to evaporate. The foliage that’s been wet for too long can also experience rotting.
v. Watering without good drainage
Even though you’re careful with the volume of water you use in watering your Hydrangea without proper drainage, overwatering can still be a problem. Poor draining soil remains wet enough for roots to drown. A poor draining container can also do the same harm. This happens when the plant is placed in potting containers without good drainage holes or a size that’s too large to accommodate more water.
Hydrangea can last a long time with proper care and maintenance. Most importantly, if you correctly employ all the watering techniques, there is a high chance of success rate for your Hydrangea. Water plays an integral role in the growth and development of any plant.
Caring for potted Hydrangea can be extra challenging compared to when it’s raised outdoor. Therefore, Overwatering Hydrangea should be avoided, and if encountered, the above solutions and watering guidelines can be of help when followed well as written.