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Shrivelled hydrangeas - cut back, or leave?

borgadrborgadr Posts: 673
edited July 2022 in Plants
I've got a few hydrangeas like this - the leaves are beyond wilted, they're crispy!

I think it's still alive, there are green buds all the way up the stem.

Should I cut it back to a few buds, or just leave it alone? (Obviously, I'm watering it as well)


  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Don't just water it, drench it. It doesn't matter what you do with the cutting back, just get it really wet. Check the water goes down to the roots rather than running off the surface.
  • Couldn't help noticing the heuchera next to it which looks pretty healthy and shows what a drought tolerant plant it is. 

    Good luck with the hydrangea.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,568
    this is what I did with one of mine yesterday

    When there's some moisture in the ground I'll dig it up and dump it.
    I've put up with it for ten years.
  • borgadrborgadr Posts: 673
    Thanks @Posy yes I gave them a good drenching (there are 5 hydrangeas like that) as soon as I got back. Today, I left the hose dribbling water for a long while over the crown of each plant.

    I had been watering them before I went away (always deeply and occasionally, rather than little and often); they're planted in a spot that only gets morning sun, but the last 3-4 months of drought has taken its toll meaning the heatwave could then knock them for six.  I was talking to a friend today who's a farming consultant locally, he reckons we've had 17mm of rain since the start of April.

    I've cut just one of them back to about 12 inches of stems. Interested to see if there's a difference in how it recovers compared to the others. 

    @WallflowerBry - yes I've been surprised how robust the heucheras have been. There's a group of them there, only the smallest one (out of shot) is suffering. In contrast, next to the hydrangeas there's a huge Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis) that is really struggling and I thought they were indestructible. 
  • borgadrborgadr Posts: 673
    Just to round off on this. At the time, 2 months back, I hacked back one hydrangea and left the others.

    2 months on, there's very little visible difference between the two (though the ones I left did subsequently flower, albeit very half-heartedly).

    Pics from today, after cutting away all the dead material:

    One that I didn't hack back:

    The one I hacked back

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