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Unhappy climbing hydrangea

In the spring I planted a mature (5ft) climbing hydrangea by my back door in a man made bed by my back door. It gets morning sun, is west facing and ph of soil seems to be neutral (7 ish which sounds ok) flowered initially but is now covered in brown crispy leaves. There is some new growth attaching onto fence/brickwork but it looks really bad. Should I move to deeper bed or does this like not enough water? I was watering plant/leaves so could be scorch from this? Help pls!!!!

Have got lots of photos but not sure how to attach here.....

thanks, Rachel 



  • Does this look like not enough water I meant....
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    HI @rachelsophiaoakes. Several likely problems here - sorry!
    A mature specimen will always be harder to establish, and ideally, if you don't have perfect conditions for it, it's beneficial to cut it back a bit. 
    They  prefer a shady site, so it may not be in the best location. I wouldn't be too concerned about browning at this time of year though, as it will be dormant for winter. It's also likely to have got a bit of crisping from too much sun.
    They do like a fair bit of moisture, so that could well be a big part of the problem. Did you plant it close to the wall? If so, it won't be getting enough moisture because it will be in the rain shadow that the wall creates. A mulch of bark or good compost will help retain moisture.
    I'm assuming you're in the UK? 
    If you want to upload some photos, click on the little icon that looks like a mountain with a sun behind it, along the top of the posting 'window'. It's best to have photos smaller than about 1MB so that they load easily  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks fairygirl! I did manage to upload photos eventually. Yes it is only about 15cms from wall so sounds too close....I thought climbers would need to be (shows my inexperience!) shall I move it so you think? Site is partial shade I would say....
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    Sorry @rachelsophiaoakes - the pix weren't there when I posted!
    Yes - they don't get the amount of water they would get if they were a foot or two away, even if you get a lot of rain. You then just guide the plant back towards the wall using a cane or similar, until they get a grip by themselves. It looks a bit trussed up too. Always take the ties off once you get climbers planted, and then gently guide the growth to where you want it. You'll need to put a little bit of support in for it to start with. A few vine eyes and wire [horizontally] to tie stems onto, and once they get a bit of new growth in spring, they'll be fine, and will make their way up and out.
    There's a lot of other competition for water there too - another hydrangea, plus that clematis - unless it's planted in a different area? I'd cut some of that growth back too, to let a bit of air in. That will also benefit the hydrangea.
    If you can lift it and get it a bit further out, that will help, but make sure it has a really thorough watering first, and prep the new hole well before you start, adding a good amount of well rotted manure and/or good hearty compost, and some slow release fertiliser like Blood, Fish and Bone. I'd then cut it all back to a healthy point on each stem. This is often the problem with buying a big specimen [of any plant] as it's much harder to get them growing well. Small specimens establish better.
    It also looks like it has a fair bit of pest damage - vine weevil by the look of it, so you may need to address that. Plants which are a bit unwell are preyed on more than healthy ones. 
    Fingers crossed - it will come back. They're absolutely beautiful if given the right site and care  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks! Which is the bit that looks like it’s been got at by pests?!
  • Very useful detailed post thank you for your time!
  • Clematis is from next door but have two hydrangeas in that bed (Annabelle and little lime) plus a couple of ferns so definitely very overfilled. Maybe I should take one of their out aswell as moving hydrangea further out. Thanks alot
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    edited September 2019
    The notches round the edges of the leaves  :)
    The new growth looks quite good, and I think it will be ok if it gets a little tidy up and a bit of care  :)
    I've just noticed in your first post that you said you'd watered the foliage - always water the base of the plant, not the leaves. 
    It probably would be sensible to move one of the other hydrangeas if you can. You can also cut back any of the clematis that hangs over your side of the fence, but it may not be an issue, and you always benefit from the free flowers  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    Annabelle gets very large.

    SW Scotland
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