Yellow Leaf Hydrangea: Causes & Cure

September 2, 2022

Hydrangeas are notable for thriving in the summer-through-fall soft shade. Flaunting an elegant, old-fashioned delight and unique pom-pom shape, this gorgeous plant adds a pop of blue, purple, pink, red, white, or green to your home. So much charm!

Hydrangeas usually have green leaves. However, if their green foliage changes its colour to pale yellow, you’re most likely facing a problem. In this post, we’ll cover the yellow leaf hydrangea calamity, discuss its causes, plant diseases, ways of their transmission, as well as let you in on the best treatment.

Has your favourite shrubs’ foliage become yellow and you’re left with the lingering question of ‘Why?’ Today’s your lucky day. We have all the answers you’re on the prowl for. Stay tuned and add this piece to your favourites for more updates on plant diseases.

green leaves Hydrangea

Hydrangea Foliage Decolors: Is It Bad?

Being a fabulous backdrop for the marvellous blossoms, hydrangea foliage is a true work of nature’s art. So, when it starts losing its juicy greenness, the magnificence of the plant fades away. This, in its turn, shifts the aesthetic of your entire garden from pure perfection to a visually discouraging something’s-wrong-with-this-picture situation.

Are you currently dealing with the limelight hydrangea yellow leaves problem? We’ll assist you in seeing through all the ‘whys’ and then switch to the potential ways of sorting out the issue.

  1. Immoderate or insufficient light. If the shrub grows in direct sunlight without sufficient watering, it may give rise to yellow leaf disease. What is more, the foliage may even become brownish for this reason. In a similar manner, if sunlight doesn’t have any access to your hydrangea, this may stimulate the yellowish-leaf disease cycle.
  2. Immoderate or insufficient watering. If you don’t quench your precious plant’s thirst, its foliage may quilt and lose colour. Similarly, in case of overwatering, it may also additionally cause root rotting.
  3. It’s too cold outside. Low temperatures won’t make your fine plant thrive. Equip yourself with this knowledge in order to prevent out-of-the-blue weather shifts.
  4. Unpredictable weather conditions. Hydrangeas suffer in the wind, too. With that said, grow your precious plant in a protected area e.g., near your house or fence.
  5. Soil pH issues. Whether we’re talking garden or indoor plant types, the soil for your shrub should boast a slight acidity. With that said, prior to growing this shrub, examine the ground for pH and mineral ‘fullness’ to make sure this criterion is within the acceptable norm.
  6. Insufficient iron. No iron, no colour, simple as that. Without this vital nutrient, the foliage of your beautifully vibrant plant will be affected by discolouration. There are two indicators of this health hazard: the plants’ foliage will either become yellow with veins retaining their minty sage vibrance or the yellowish-ness will appear on the new foliage. Luckily, this unfortunate change is not irreversible.
  7. Insufficient nitrogen. Is lower, older foliage of your plant becoming yellow? Do you also notice that the growth process of your hydrangea is non-typically slow? Then it’s most likely because of nitrogen shortage which often happens as a result of overwatering.
  8. Magnesium deficiency. Do your hydrangea leaves get yellowish between the veins, with the veins retaining the green-ness? Not a good sign. Magnesium sulfate can cure this condition. Always read manufacturer guidelines carefully prior to utilizing it, though.

Aside from the aforementioned issues, there are also certain diseases that may lead to your limelight hydrangea leaves turning yellow. We’ve rounded them up below based on their classification.

Viral Diseases: Symptoms, Control, & Prevention

  • hydrangea mosaic virus: because your plant can catch this virus via your pruning shears, focus on sanitizing your tools properly when you’re through using them;
  • hydrangea ringspot virus: brown ring-shaped stains on your hydrangea leaves, along with their tendency to roll and get distorted are distinct symptoms of this ailment;
  • tomato ringspot virus: this nematode-caused disease also tends to slowly destroy your shrub’s foliage.

yellow spots on the leaf

Fungal Diseases & Details

  • Botrytis Blight: the earliest symptoms are water-drenched marks on the flower buds that are prone to infecting the shrub’s foliage, too;
  • bacterial leaf spot: this condition is attributable to the bacteria that can gradually destroy the plant’s leaves;
  • rust: yellow marks on top of the plant’s foliage are among the earliest symptoms. Frosty hydrangea is known to be resistant to rust.

Now, let’s cover the solutions to most problems we’ve covered above:

  1. Overwatering. The solution is clear and simple: hold yourself back. If the soil is excessively wet, put that water pot away. How much water you need is determined by the type of hydrangea you’re growing, as well as the type of soil you’re using. Ensure that the flower pot comes with quality drainage. Make about 3 holes at the bottom for excess water to pour out. With regard to the soil issue, clay soil, for instance, is capable of locking in moisture for extended periods of time compared to sandy soil.
  2. Underwatering. To figure out if you’re good at quenching your floral baby’s thirst, immerse your finger in the soil. If it surfaces wet and dirty, it means your watering strategy is reliable. In case your finger emerges with no wet soil on it, then it’s time you water your precious plant. The best solution here is to religiously follow an accurate plan.
  3. Lack of iron. Incorporating iron into the soil is not a sufficient solution here. First and foremost, check the pH of the soil. Is it over 6.8? Then soil acidification is needed. Mulching it with compost is a good idea, particularly if you’re looking for the most natural way to do it. You should know, however, that it’s a long process.
  4. Excessive sunlight. The solution is obvious: relocate your pom-pom-like beauty to a darker place, without leaving it in the shade 24/7. Moderation is key.
  5. Leaf spot. Cut off the affected foliage and get rid of it. Water the plant at the base vs. from the top. That way, its leaves won’t end up being soaked up in excessive moisture.
  6. Abrupt weather shifts. Keep tabs on the forecast. If you know it’s suddenly going to get cold, cover your hydrangea with garden netting for protection. In case the damage has already been done, don’t panic. Your pom-pom beauty will most likely heal faster if you apply some liquid fertilizer to it.
  7. Root issues. If pests have been munching on your hydrangea roots, pull out the shrub and take away the damaged parts. Spray fungicide on the areas in question. Transfer the shrub to drained soil and partial shade. Follow a solid watering plan.
  8. Various diseases. Are your shrubs under attack of fungal diseases? Move your lovely plant somewhere where it gets enough light and air movement. Below are some other vital hacks to take into consideration:
  • create a one-foot gap minimum between the shrubs to ensure sufficient air movement;
  • remove any plant debris around your hydrangea to prevent rotting and ailment spreading;
  • cut off the affected leaves and get rid of them;
  • get a top-notch fungicide and get the sprayin’ going.

Hydrangea Foliage Becoming Yellow: Prevention Tips

Hydrangea is sophisticatedly beautiful. So, if you want the shrub to give your garden a wow-worthy boost, you need to provide it with proper care. In other words, in order to avoid the aforementioned diseases and bolster the plant’s performance, you’re going to need to grow it the right way.

Prevention is the best natural remedy, we’re all aware of that, and hydrangea diseases are not an exception here. Take note of these useful hacks to prevent leaf-yellowish-ness from even attacking your plant in the first place.

  1. Let your shrub flourish in sectional sunlight. Moderation is key in terms of avoiding the undesirable excessive- or not-enough-sunlight situation. Choose the section in your garden that will provide sufficient UV radiation (up to six hours per day) without making your hydrangea stand in the sweltering heat all day long. Bear in mind that your hydrangea won’t be happy in dark areas either. So, avoid overshadowing it with larger trees or shrubs.
  2. Concentrate on yearly fertilization. Replenishing the nutrients in the soil and literally feeding it the right way is paramount, not to mention incorporating manure as you plant. This will result in your shrub’s top-notch well-being and, naturally, keep the discolouration at bay.
  3. Sort out the soil pH. Around 6.5 is the most appropriate point for growing this gorgeous shrub. Does your soil come with unsuitable pH? Feel free to utilize the mix of citric acid and water to improve the situation.
  4. Water thoroughly but not too often. This natural treatment will allow the plant’s roots to gain depth and strength, as well as to stave off waterlogging (read as foliage yellow-ness). Here are some recommendations to help you succeed:
  • do not lead the soil to utter dryness;
  • weekly watering is the golden rule;
  • fertilize to lock the wetness in and heat out.

Important note: most hydrangea types boast green foliage. However, there are rare cases when certain varieties like Lemon Daddy, for instance, have been bred to have naturally corn-shaded leaves when ageing. With that said, in certain cases, the yellowness of your shrub will depend on the plant’s exact type and age. Furthermore, there are hydrangea types with foliage becoming yellow in the fall. With that said, always pinpoint the type of hydrangea prior to making a purchase. So, yes, this topic is definitely worth delving deeper into! 

Doing Away With Yellow-ness: Yay or Nay?

Should you or shouldn’t you? The answer is a definite ‘Yes, you should!’ As soon as you find the ugly yellowish or brownish spots on your hydrangea leaves, don’t hesitate to get rid of them immediately.

This will help both the plant’s health and appearance. Use your sharpest garden tools for cutting off the foliage. This will create space for the newly grown leaves to feel all free and powerful. In the long run, it will add up to your shrub’s health and dazzling beauty.

yellow leaves Hydrangea

Is Your Hydrangea Overwatered? Here’s How You Can Save It

Water helps your garden bloom in the juiciest way possible. However, knowing exactly how to approach watering for each type of plant is crucial. That way, you will avoid overflooding your precious flora and thus causing its leaves to become a canary shade. Follow these guidelines to revive an already overflooded shrub:

  1. Uproot and relocate the houseplant. This will aid you in determining the level of damage done to your hydrangea roots. Remove the soil to see the roots. Chop off the decayed sections and repot them with fresh soil.
  2. Pick a different location for the shrub. This will help you prevent wilting caused by direct sunlight.
    Prune the damaged foliage. Cutting them off is the best decision, for they are filled with dead cells and won’t do the plant any good.
  3. Make friends with fungicides i.e. pesticides that prevent the growth of fungi. This is a must-do, for they will aid you in treating your soil from molds that adore all-things-wet.

Bottom Line: Learn Nonstop

Yellow hydrangea ‘backdrop’ is not a huge problem. However, doing your best to fix this health issue of your plant as early as possible is essential. A multitude of factors determines the potential change in the leaf colour of your hydrangea. The most frequent two are extreme heat and insufficient watering. Fortunately, these dilemmas are resolvable.

Hydrangeas are exceptional, a real treasure of your garden. They deserve to blossom in perfect care and health. We hope that now that you’ve read this post, you have answers to all your ‘whys’, and are well aware of the tell-tale signs and treatments for the condition in question. Feel free to ask us questions if you have any.

All in all, taking good care of your precious floral enchantment is not an overwhelming task. It requires deep knowledge, some persistence, and your will to read and learn about your favourite shrubs nonstop. Knowledge is power, so make sure you put what you’ve learned here to good use. Good luck gardening!

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