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Climbing Hydrangea- help?

khale777khale777 Posts: 4
We had a beautiful well established climbing hydrangea on the north facing wall of our house for many years.  It’s flowered every year since we have lived here - 10 years and I’ve never done more than trim off the odd shoots to keep it away from windows. For some reason this year there are virtually no leaves on it at all apart from a few tiny half green leaf shoots lower down. Mostly it looks dead!  I have no idea what to do and it looks so sad. ☹️
Any suggestions? 


  • Cambridgerose12Cambridgerose12 Posts: 1,120
    Can you post a photo?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,912
    We had an unusually dry spring … is it possible that the hydrangea suffered from drought at the roots just at the time it needed moisture the most? 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • khale777khale777 Posts: 4
    For some reason photo is sideways but you can see it’s quite a large plant - this is just the base and the spread is about 4 times that.  The only green is what you can see in the photo nearer to the base.  All the rest of the plant is completely brown. 
  • it looks like it's died? mine is in full flower now so looks like something's had it
  • khale777khale777 Posts: 4
    Would you recommend that I cut it right back to where there are the few green shoots to see if it recovers, leave it alone for a year to see if it does comes back or just dig it out completely now as it’s beyond saving ? 
  • If you like it and want to try to keep it then, yes, cut it down to the new growth. Fingers crossed.
  • luis_prluis_pr Posts: 123
    edited July 2021
    You can, very carefully, scratch the branches to see if you "see green". If you do not, the part above the spot where you scratched can be pruned. It should have leafed out or produced new growth from the base by now. Take your time pruning safely. No hurry for such a big plant.

    It is hard to say what happened after the fact with no list of symptoms but I would start investigating environmental issues such as winter damage, too much water that could have resulted in root rot, a lack of water that would have dried out the plant (but consider that this last type of problem should have also impacted other similar plants if they are located nearby), borer insects, pests similar to voles that can eat/damage the roots, etc. If there was a problem with the roots, you may experience more die-back during the worst of the summer, when the plant requires more water but the plant cannot channel enough water or quickly enough to the leaves.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,125
    If there's new growth at the bottom, prune back to that. Water well, clear that slate away,  and add a mulch of new compost or bark round the base. Keep an eye on the watering through summer and see if it comes away.  
    It's most likely dried out at the base - especially as it looks as if it's planted very tight to the wall. It's virtually impossible to overwater them. In the right conditions - cool and damp, they grow enormous and cover huge areas. Definitely worth trying to revive it. Lovely plants.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • khale777khale777 Posts: 4
    Thank you all for your tips. Fingers crossed it can survive.  It was a real beauty last year . 
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