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hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris dying

I have two of these planted in separate large urns growing on a north facing wall. This is their 3rd year and they have been doing really well. However, this year one of them appeared to be growing well, getting leaves and starting to bud when it started to look unhealthy and the leaves turned dark green and curled up and the buds didn't open. It's not dead...yet! The other one flowered and seemed fine although it now is looking a little jaded. I've changed the compost and fed with a slow release feed recommended by our local garden centre but I wondered if anyone knows what could be wrong? Many thanks. 

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  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    i have a huge petiolaris that i struggle to control, should they be in a pot? someone who knows more than me will tell you

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,175

    They really need to be in the ground Sharon. They're really not suited to being in a container for any length of time - even a big one. They need lots of room to do their thing.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Ok thanks...but they are very large urns. I struggled to find something to plant against a north facing wall that is paved and no way of digging up to access soil. When I asked in a few garden centres they all recommended the hydrangea and said they would be fine in the urns..maybe they just wanted the sale! Any ideas of anything else I can put in their place? It's to grow up a trellis. Thanks. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,175

    There are lots of Clematis which will grow on a shady wall - Nellie Moser is one  -so it might be worth taking a look at some of the specialist clematis sites online - Taylor's is one which lots of us here recommend. They need a fair bit of care in pots but there are lots of varieties which will be fine as long as they have that care.  Ivy is the only other thing I can think of, but again, it likes a bit of room at the roots. The ordinary hibernica ivy gets very big in the ground so it might stay quite contained in a big pot and do the job well enough.  Not something I've tried, but I do have one in a narrow bed for covering an ugly fence. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,960

    I am with Fg. on this one. Although you can of course grow anything in a pot, Ithink that these are suffering. I think the fact that it is 3 years is telling. They have probably outgrown the container and exhausted the soil nutrients.

    Consequences, altered cases
    Broken noses, altered faces
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    Wherever I go, so does me go
  • Thanks folks. I have already replaced the compost and fed with slow release food each year. They were really healthy until about 4 weeks ago. Also checked and they are not root bound. The urns are large and they have plenty of room to grow yet. Also no lack of water.. Even in summer...I live in Ireland! ???? I even cleaned out pots last week and replaced all the compost in case there was something in the soil that was infecting them. Maybe just have to accept that there's very little that will grow on a north easterly wall. 

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