Hydrangea Leaves Curling? (11 Causes and Solutions)

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Hydrangea plants are popular for their large, showy flowers.

These blooms can be blue, pink, purple, or white, depending on the variety.

Hydrangeas are generally low-maintenance plants but can sometimes experience problems, such as curled leaves.

Although it may be alarming to see your Hydrangea leaves curling, this is not a cause for concern in most cases.

There are several reasons why Hydrangea leaves curl; fortunately, several solutions exist.

Why Are My Hydrangea Leaves Curling and How Can You Fix It?

If you notice your Hydrangea leaves curling, it could be caused by several things.

It could be a reaction to too much sun, insufficient water, or even a nutrient deficiency.

It’s essential to figure out what is causing the leaves to curl so you can take the necessary steps to fix it.

Here are some common reasons for Hydrangea leaves curling and what you can do about it:

1. Underwatering

One of the most common reasons for Hydrangea leaves to curl is underwatering.

This can happen if you forget to water your plant for a few days or the soil doesn’t retain moisture well.

If your plant is wilting and has curled leaves, it’s probably due to a lack of water.

An underwatered Hydrangea will have dry, brown leaves and stems.

They may also droop or appear wilted.

How To Fix It

The best way to fix an underwatered Hydrangea is to water it deeply.

Give the plant a good soaking, ensuring the water penetrates the root system.

If the soil is dry several inches below the surface, you may need water more than once.

Hydrangea plants need to be watered deeply and regularly to stay healthy.

If you’re unsure how often to water, check the soil before watering.

If it’s dry several inches below the surface, it’s time to give your plant a drink.

2. Overwatering

While underwatering is a common problem, overwatering can cause Hydrangea leaves to curl.

This usually happens when the plant is getting too much water or the drainage is poor, and the roots sit in water.

When a plant is overwatered, the roots start to suffocate, and the leaves will begin to curl as a way of the plant trying to reduce its surface area to prevent further water loss.

Some common signs of an overwatered Hydrangea are:

  • Soil that is consistently wet or soggy
  • Water pooling around the plant or running off
  • Yellow leaves
  • Wilting leaves
  • Mold or mildew on the leaves

How To Fix It

If you think your plant is overwatered, it is best to stop watering it for a while and let the soil dry out.

You can also try to improve the drainage around the plant by adding some grit or sand to the potting mix.

If the plant is in a container, ensure drainage holes are at the bottom.

It’s also a good idea to check the roots to see if they are rotted.

If they are, you must repot the plant in fresh potting mix.

3. Low Humidity

Another common reason for Hydrangea leaves to curl is low humidity.

Hydrangeas are native to humid environments and prefer moist air.

If the air around your plant is too dry, the leaves will start to curl as a way of the plant trying to reduce its surface area to prevent water loss.

One way to tell if low humidity is causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl is to check the leaves for brown tips or edges.

If the tips or edges of the leaves are brown, it’s a sign that the air is too dry.

How To Fix It

There are several ways to increase the humidity around your plant.

One way is to mist the leaves with water regularly.

You can also put the plant on a pebble tray or use a humidifier.

A pebble tray is a tray filled with pebbles and water.

The water evaporates and increases the humidity around the plant.

4. Too Much Sun

Hydrangeas need some sun to bloom, but too much sun can cause the leaves to curl.

If the leaves are getting sunburned, they will start to curl as a way of the plant trying to protect itself.

One way to tell if too much sun is causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl is to check the leaves for brown or yellow patches.

Other signs of too much sun are:

  • Wilting leaves
  • Leaves that are dry or brittle
  • Scorched leaves

How To Fix It

The best way to fix this problem is to move the plant to a shadier spot.

If possible, find an area where the plant will get some morning sun but will be in the shade during the hottest part of the day.

You can also try to protect the plant from the sun by providing some shade with a cloth or umbrella.

Indoor plants can also suffer from too much sun.

An east or west-facing window is usually the best spot for an indoor plant.

This will give the plant some sun protection from the harsh afternoon sun.

5. Pest Infestation

Pests can also cause Hydrangea leaves to curl.

Aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies are all common pests that can attack Hydrangeas.

These pests suck the sap out of the plant, causing damage and stress.

If the leaves are infested with pests, they will start to curl as a way of the plant trying to protect itself.

One way to tell if pests are causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl is to check the leaves for any signs of pests, such as:

  • Changes in leaf color
  • Distorted leaves
  • Holes in leaves
  • Sticky substances on leaves
  • Webbing on leaves

How To Fix It

If you think pests are causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl, the first step is to try to remove the pests by hand.

Use a cotton swab or a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any pests you see on the leaves.

If hand-removal does not work, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Both of these products are safe for use on plants and will kill any pests that are infesting your Hydrangea.

To use them, mix the soap or oil with water according to the instructions on the label and spray it on the plant.

You will need to reapply these products every few days until the pests disappear.

Hydrangea curling leaves

6. Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies can also cause Hydrangea leaves to curl.

If the plant is not getting enough of certain nutrients, the leaves will start to curl as a way of the plant trying to protect itself.

Hydrangeas need three main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

If the Hydrangea plant lacks these nutrients, it will show signs of stress, such as leaf curling.

One way to tell if nutrient deficiencies are causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl is to check the leaves for any signs of nutrient deficiencies, such as:

  • Leaf discoloration or distortion
  • Slow or stunted growth
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Brown spots on leaves

How To Fix It

If you think nutrient deficiencies are causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl, the best way to fix the problem is to fertilize the plant.

Use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

You can also add compost or manure to the soil around the plant to help improve the nutrient content.

Fertilize the plant every few weeks during the growing season and water the fertilizer into the soil.

Don’t overfertilize the plant, as this can cause more problems than it will solve.

If you are unsure how much fertilizer to use, always err on using less rather than more.

7. Fertilizer Burn

Fertilizer burn is one of the more common reasons for Hydrangea leaves curling.

It occurs when the plant is over-fertilized, and the roots cannot absorb all the nutrients.

This can cause the leaves to turn brown and curl up.

Fertilizer burn is most likely to occur when the plant is fertilized too often or when too much fertilizer is used.

You can tell if fertilizer burn is the problem if you see:

How To Fix It

If you think fertilizer burn is causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl, the best way to fix the problem is to flush the soil with water.

This will help remove any excess fertilizer from the soil and reduce the risk of further damage to the plant.

After flushing the soil, do not fertilize the plant for a few weeks to allow the roots to recover.

When you start fertilizing again, use a lighter hand and don’t fertilize as often.

8. Heat Stress

Hydrangeas are very susceptible to heat stress. The leaves will curl up, and the flowers will wilt in response to high temperatures.

The leaves will turn brown and die if the temperature gets too high.

One way to tell if heat stress is causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl is to check the leaves for any signs of heat stress, such as:

  • Wilting leaves
  • Dropping leaves
  • Brown leaves

How To Fix It

If you think heat stress is causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl, the best way to fix the problem is to provide some relief from the heat.

You can do this by:

  • Watering the plant more frequently
  • Moving the plant to a cooler location
  • Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plant
  • Providing shade for the plant during the hottest hours of the day

9. Cold Temperatures

Hydrangea plants are also susceptible to cold damage.

The leaves will curl up, and the Hydrangea flowers will wilt in response to low temperatures.

The Hydrangea leaves will turn yellow and die if the temperature gets too low.

One way to tell if cold temperatures are causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl is to check the leaves for any signs of cold damage, such as:

  • Wilting leaves
  • Dropping leaves
  • Discolored leaves
  • Leaves turn black and drop off

How To Fix It

If you think cold temperatures are causing your Hydrangea leaves to curl, the best way to fix the problem is to provide some protection from the cold.

You can do this by:

  • Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant
  • Covering the plant with a frost blanket or tarp
  • Moving the plant to a warmer location

10. Compacted Soil

Compacted soil can also cause Hydrangea plant leaves to curl.

The plant’s roots will be unable to get the air and water they need, and the leaves will start to curl up in response.

This can be caused by several things, such as over-watering, not enough drainage, or even just planting the Hydrangeas too close together.

One way to tell if your soil is too compacted is to try and push a finger into the ground.

If it’s difficult to do, the soil is probably too compacted.

How To Fix It

There are a few ways that you can fix compacted soil.

One is to mix some organic matter, such as compost or mulch.

This will help loosen up the soil and make breathing easier for the roots.

Another way to fix compacted soil is to aerate it.

This can be done with a garden fork or an aerator tool.

Poke holes all over the soil, careful not to damage the plant’s roots.

This will help loosen up the soil and allow air and water to reach the roots more easily.

11. Transplant Shock

One of the most common reasons for Hydrangea leaves curling is transplant shock.

This occurs when a plant is moved from one place to another, disrupting its roots.

The roots are the part of the plant that absorbs water and nutrients from the soil, so when they’re damaged, the plant can’t get the sustenance it needs.

This can cause the leaves to curl up and turn brown.

How To Fix It

The best way to fix transplant shock is to give the plant some time to recover.

The roots will need to re-establish themselves in the new soil, which can take a few weeks.

During this time, ensure to water the plant regularly and keep an eye on it for any other signs of stress.

Make sure not to fertilize the plant during this time, as this can further stress the roots.

Once the plant has recovered from transplant shock, it should start to grow normally again.

How To Prevent Hydrangea Leaves from Curling

Hydrangeas are a beautiful addition to any garden, but they can be susceptible to several problems.

One of the most common is Hydrangea leaves curling.

There are several reasons why this can happen, but luckily, there are several ways to prevent it.

Here are some tips on how to prevent Hydrangea leaves from curling:

1. Plant in the Right Location

One of the most important things you can do to prevent Hydrangea leaves from curling is plant them in the right location.

Hydrangeas need a lot of sunlight, so choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day.

They also need well-drained soil, so avoid planting them in areas that tend to be wet or boggy.

2. Water Properly

Another essential thing to do to prevent Hydrangea leaves from curling is to water correctly.

Hydrangeas need a lot of water, but they also need well-drained soil.

This means that you should water them deeply but not too often.

Water them once a week, making sure to soak the roots thoroughly.

Avoid watering them more than once a week, leading to root rot.

3. Mulch to Retain Moisture

Mulching your Hydrangeas can also help to prevent leaves from curling.

Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, which is essential for Hydrangeas.

It also helps prevent weeds, which can compete with Hydrangeas for water and nutrients.

4. Fertilize Regularly

Hydrangeas need many nutrients to thrive, so fertilizing them regularly is essential.

Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen, and apply it once a month during the growing season.

5. Prune Properly

Pruning your Hydrangeas correctly can also help to prevent leaves from curling.

Prune them in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

Prune them back to a healthy bud, and remove any dead or damaged branches.

6. Protect from the Elements

Hydrangeas are sensitive to the elements, so protecting them from extreme weather is essential.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of wind, consider planting your Hydrangeas near a fence or wall to protect them.

You can also use burlap or other fabric to wrap them in the winter to protect them from the cold.

7. Check for Pests

Pests can also cause Hydrangea leaves to curl, so check your plants regularly for them is essential.

Common pests include mealybugs, aphids, mites, and scale.

If you find any pests on your plants, remove them by hand or use an organic insecticide to get rid of them.

Final Thoughts

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular flowering shrubs in the world.

They’re grown for their large, showy flower clusters and their ability to tolerate various growing conditions.

One problem that Hydrangea growers sometimes face is curling leaves.

While it’s normal for Hydrangea leaves to curl up a bit in the heat of the summer, severe leaf curling can be a sign of a problem.

Several reasons Hydrangea leaves might curl include lack of water, too much sun, and pests.

By correctly identifying the cause of the problem, you can take steps to correct it and get your Hydrangea back on track.

If you’re dealing with leaf curling on your Hydrangeas, try one of the above solutions.

With a little trial and error, you should be able to find a solution that works for you.