only some hydrangea blooms turned brown

Asked August 18, 2019, 10:01 AM EDT

my incrediball hydragea was doing really well this year until about 3 weeks ago a few of the blooms, leaves and stalks turned completely brown. the rest of the plant looks normal. what could this be?

Hennepin County Minnesota

3 Responses

Thanks for the question.

We are hesitant to make an assessment of your situation or to make any recommendations in the absence of some pictures. Could you please send us the following:

1). A picture of the entire plant.

2). A close up picture of two or three of the brown leaves.

3). A close up picture of an affected blossom.

Many thanks.

i did trim most of the ugly brown stalks and blooms so i couldn't get a good close up. my hydrangea is pretty did wilt a little this summer a few times, but nothing drastic. last summer it wilted a few times too and perked right up when watered or dusk came.

Thanks for your response.

Since only a portion of your hydrangea is affected and presumably rather localized, I suspect that what is happening is something called “sun scald” or also termed “leaf scorch”. We have had several questions such as yours from gardeners in the Twin Cities area involving a variety of different shrubs with the same issue. This condition is typically seen during periods of dry, windy weather, low rainfall, and high temperatures with bright sunshine. Under such conditions, hydrangea roots are unable to supply sufficient water to the foliage to replace what is lost by transpiration from the leaves. Hydrangea need a steady supply of water to maintain themselves, including their blossoms. If they do not have this available to them, browning of various parts of the plant will occur. In most cases unless your hydrangea is unhealthy to begin with, which is unlikely given its overall appearance, there is no cause for serious concern.

See the following for further information and possible remedial actions:

For immediate purposes, I would suggest that you just remove the browning blooms and leaves and dispose of them accordingly. I feel quite confident that as our days shorten and cool, you will see less and less of this on your hydrangea.

Good Luck!!