Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs with large blue or pink showy blooms. Although hardy when well-established, hydrangeas tend to require significant amounts of water; yet are adversely affected by over, and under watering with wilting a symptom of both. The type hydrangea and the environment it's placed in will help determine how often it needs to be watered to avoid wilting.
Greenhouse grown hydrangeas often suffer from wilting due to improper watering. Once these wilt, bringing them back to life is often to no avail. Hydrangeas grown in greenhouses are typically raised for prolific blooms and maintain a plant structure suited for growing indoors as they are not winter hardy. These hydrangeas usually have foil covering the base of the pot and are grown primarily for one spectacular session of blooming. These plants can survive indoors with consistent care.
Hydrangeas grown in nurseries are well suited to plant outdoors and can be kept indoors as houseplants. Hardier than greenhouse grown hydrangeas, these plants can withstand varying temperatures and require hardening to facilitate next years' blooms. Wilting of hydrangeas grown in nurseries can rebound sufficiently with prompt attention. Identify the cause as over or under watering and respond accordingly.
Under Watering Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas love sun to partial shade and lots of water. Whether your hydrangeas are indoor houseplants or planted outdoors, too little water can result in wilting. Timed watering is not recommended as this can lead to both under and over watering. Hydrangeas should be watered when they need it and houseplants should be watered from the bottom by allowing the pot to sit in water for 30 to 45 minutes then removing to drain. Monitoring hydrangeas daily can help prevent wilting. Plants begin drooping slightly before wilting. This is one indicator that watering is needed.
Over Watering Hydrangeas
It is important to tend to over-watered hydrangeas promptly as root rot can occur. Over-watered hydrangeas can be repotted in dry soil and allowed to rest before watering, or left it its original container, allowed to drain, and watered once soil becomes slightly dry. Plants grown in the ground may require replanting in an area that provides adequate draining and ample sun. Over watering occurs most often when plants are watered routinely, regardless of their watering needs and when the weather outdoors is exceptionally rainy.
Hydrangea and Root Rot
Hydrangeas are prone to root rot; a common disease caused by fungi and wilting is one of the first symptoms in an otherwise healthy plant. Typically, upon watering the wilted leaves remain unaffected and the plant sustains for a couple of weeks before dying. The fungi responsible for theses types of root rot often occur in the latter part of fall following heavy rains, in pots with poor draining, and when plants are over watered. Hydrangeas suffering from root rot should be removed and destroyed to avoid further infestations.