10 Reasons Your Hydrangea Leaves Are Turning Yellow & How to Fix It

10 reasons your hydrangea leaves are turning yellow may include nutrient deficiencies, over or underwatering, pest infestations, disease, extreme temperatures, or improper pruning. Fix it by adjusting fertilizer levels, providing proper watering, identifying and treating pests, treating diseases, protecting plants from extreme temperatures, and practicing correct pruning techniques.

In addition, maintaining healthy soil conditions and ensuring adequate sunlight can help prevent yellowing leaves. It’s essential to diagnose the specific cause of yellowing leaves to apply the appropriate remedy and revive the health of your hydrangeas.

Significance Of Green Leaves On Hydrangeas

Green leaves are a vital component of plant health and play a crucial role in the overall well-being of hydrangeas. These leaves are not only aesthetically pleasing; they also serve important functions such as photosynthesis and nutrient absorption. Here we will explore the significance of green leaves on hydrangeas and understand how yellowing leaves can indicate underlying issues in the plant.

Describe The Role Of Green Leaves In Photosynthesis And Nutrient Absorption:

  • Green leaves are the powerhouses of hydrangeas as they perform photosynthesis, a process where plants convert sunlight into energy. This energy fuels the plant’s growth and development.
  • Through photosynthesis, green leaves produce glucose, which hydrangeas use to build and repair their tissues. This ensures the plant’s overall health and vigor.
  • Green leaves also play a vital role in absorbing essential nutrients from the soil. Their specialized structures, like stomata and vascular tissues, facilitate nutrient uptake, which is crucial for hydrangea growth and flower production.

Explain How Yellow Leaves Can Indicate Underlying Issues In The Plant:

  • Yellowing leaves can be an indication of nutrient deficiencies. When the leaves lack important nutrients such as iron, magnesium, or nitrogen, they may turn yellow. This can be rectified by providing specific fertilizers or adjusting the soil ph.
  • Poor drainage is another common cause of yellowing leaves on hydrangeas. When the roots are constantly waterlogged, it can lead to oxygen deprivation and root rot, resulting in yellowing foliage. Ensuring proper drainage and preventing overwatering can help resolve this issue.
  • Pests and diseases can also cause yellowing leaves. Insects like aphids or fungal infections like powdery mildew can affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Identifying and treating these issues promptly can prevent further damage to the plant.
  • Environmental factors such as excessive sunlight or extreme temperatures can stress the plant and cause yellowing leaves. Providing adequate shade or protecting the hydrangeas from harsh weather conditions can help prevent this issue.
  • Finally, over or under-fertilization can lead to yellowing leaves. Excessive amounts of fertilizers can burn the roots, while insufficient nutrients can cause deficiencies, both resulting in yellow foliage. Following proper fertilization guidelines is crucial to maintaining healthy green leaves on hydrangeas.

Green leaves on hydrangeas are essential for photosynthesis, nutrient absorption, and overall plant health. Yellowing leaves can serve as a warning sign, indicating underlying issues such as nutrient deficiencies, poor drainage, pests, diseases, or environmental factors. By paying attention to these signals and taking appropriate corrective measures, you can ensure that your hydrangeas thrive with vibrant, healthy green leaves.

10 Reasons Your Hydrangea Leaves Are Turning Yellow & How to Fix It

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Table of Contents

Common Causes Of Hydrangea Leaves Turning Yellow

Hydrangeas are beloved flowering plants that add beauty and vibrancy to any garden. However, when those lush green leaves start turning yellow, it can be quite concerning for plant owners. There are several common causes for this discoloration, each requiring a different approach to fix the issue.

Let’s explore these causes and learn how to bring your hydrangea leaves back to their healthy green hue.

Lack Of Nutrients In The Soil

Hydrangeas require certain nutrients to thrive, and a lack of these essential elements can result in yellow leaves. Here are the key points to remember:

  • Nutrient deficiencies, such as iron or nitrogen, can cause chlorosis, a condition where the leaves lose their green color.
  • Ensure your hydrangeas are planted in nutrient-rich soil or supplement the soil with the necessary nutrients.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for hydrangeas to provide the required nutrients.

Improper Watering Techniques

Watering plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your hydrangeas. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Overwatering or underwatering can lead to yellowing leaves.
  • Hydrangeas prefer moist but well-drained soil. Check the moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil about one inch deep. Water only when the top inch feels dry.
  • Avoid overwatering by providing proper drainage to prevent root rot.

Pest Infestation

Pests can wreak havoc on your hydrangeas, causing leaves to turn yellow. Consider the following points:

  • Common pests, such as aphids or spider mites, can sap the nutrients from the leaves, resulting in discoloration.
  • Inspect your plants regularly for signs of pest infestation, including visible insects, webbing, or distorted leaves.
  • Use organic insecticides or natural pest control methods to treat and prevent infestations.


Hydrangeas are susceptible to various diseases that can cause yellowing leaves. Keep these points in mind:

  • Fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew or leaf spot, can lead to leaf yellowing and browning.
  • Prune affected areas and dispose of infected plant material to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Apply fungicides or follow cultural practices, such as improving air circulation, to reduce the risk of disease.

Soil Ph Imbalance

The ph level of the soil affects nutrient availability to your hydrangeas. Consider the following:

  • Different hydrangea varieties have different soil ph requirements, affecting the color of their blooms.
  • Yellow leaves may indicate a ph imbalance in the soil. Acid-loving varieties should have acidic soil, while alkaline-loving varieties need alkaline soil.
  • Test the soil ph and adjust it accordingly using amendments or fertilizers specifically designed for hydrangeas.

By addressing these common causes of yellowing leaves in hydrangeas, you can help your plants regain their vibrant green color and overall health. Pay attention to their nutrient needs, watering techniques, pests, diseases, and soil ph balance. With proper care and timely interventions, your hydrangeas will flourish and continue to bring joy to your garden.

Reason 1: Nutrient Deficiency

Discuss How Nutrient Deficiencies Can Cause Yellowing Leaves In Hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas are beautiful flowering plants known for their vibrant colors, but seeing yellow leaves on your hydrangea can be a cause for concern. One possible reason for this could be a nutrient deficiency in your plant. Nutrients play a crucial role in the growth and development of plants, and when they are lacking, it can manifest in various ways, including yellowing leaves.

Let’s take a closer look at how nutrient deficiencies can affect your hydrangeas and what you can do to fix it.

Specific Nutrients That Are Essential For Healthy Plant Growth.

  • Nitrogen: Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants as it is responsible for leaf and stem growth. A deficiency in nitrogen can result in pale yellow leaves in hydrangeas.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus is vital for overall plant health and is particularly important during the flowering stage. A lack of phosphorus can cause leaves to turn yellow and stunt the growth of blooms.
  • Potassium: Potassium is involved in many metabolic processes within plants and affects their overall vigor. Insufficient potassium can result in yellowing and curling of leaves in hydrangeas.

Provide Tips On How To Identify And Address Nutrient Deficiencies.

  • Observe leaf color: Pay attention to the color of the leaves on your hydrangea. If they are turning yellow, it may be an indication of a nutrient deficiency.
  • Check leaf veins: Inspect the veins on the yellowing leaves. If they remain green while the rest of the leaf turns yellow, it could be a sign of nitrogen deficiency.
  • Soil testing: Conduct a soil test to determine the nutrient levels in your garden. This will help you identify which nutrients may be lacking and need to be supplemented.
  • Fertilization: Use a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for hydrangeas. Ensure it contains adequate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to address any deficiencies.
  • Organic matter: Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil. This will help improve nutrient availability over time.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the hydrangea plant to retain moisture and prevent nutrient leaching.
  • Ph adjustment: Check the ph levels of your soil, as certain nutrients may become unavailable outside of the optimal ph range. Adjust the ph if necessary using amendments like sulfur or lime.
  • Avoid over-fertilization: While it is essential to address nutrient deficiencies, avoid over-fertilizing your hydrangeas. Excessive fertilization can cause nutrient imbalances and harm the plant.

By understanding the role of nutrients in plant growth, you can effectively address and prevent nutrient deficiencies in your hydrangeas. Regular monitoring, proper fertilization, and maintaining optimal soil conditions will help you keep your hydrangeas healthy and vibrant, with green leaves instead of turning yellow.

Reason 2: Watering Issues

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining the health and vibrancy of hydrangea leaves. However, both overwatering and underwatering can lead to yellow leaves and other issues. Let’s explore the impact of watering on hydrangeas and how to get it right.

Plain Paragraph:

  • Overwatering can suffocate the plant’s roots, preventing proper nutrient absorption and leading to waterlogged soil.
  • Underwatering can cause dehydration, hindering the delivery of vital nutrients to the leaves.

Bullet Points:

  • Overwatering:
  • Excessive moisture can lead to yellowing leaves due to root rot.
  • Poor drainage, compacted soil, or using containers without drainage holes can contribute to overwatering.
  • Examine the soil moisture before watering again to ensure it has dried out slightly.
  • Consider watering less frequently or adjusting the amount of water given.
  • Underwatering:
  • Lack of sufficient water can cause leaves to wilt and turn yellow.
  • Assess the soil moisture regularly and water when it becomes dry, especially during hot or dry weather.
  • Avoid underwatering by checking the top layer of soil; if it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water.
  • Deep watering is crucial to encourage healthy root growth and establish a strong foundation for the plant.
  • Adding mulch around the base of the hydrangea can help retain moisture and reduce evaporation.

Hydrangeas thrive when the moisture levels are just right. Proper drainage and regular watering are key factors in facilitating the optimal growth and health of these beautiful plants. Remember to strike a balance between wet and dry to avoid yellow leaves and ensure your hydrangeas can flourish happily.

Reason 3: Pest Infestation

Hydrangeas are susceptible to various pests that can cause yellowing of their leaves. Identifying these common pests early is crucial to prevent damage and keep your hydrangeas healthy. Here are the key points to know:

Identify Common Pests That Can Cause Yellowing Of Hydrangea Leaves:

  • Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that suck sap from the leaves, causing them to turn yellow.
  • Spider mites: Tiny pests that leave fine webbing on the leaves and suck out the plant’s juices.
  • Leafhoppers: These insects pierce the leaves and extract sap, resulting in yellowing and stippling.
  • Whiteflies: Tiny, white insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves, causing yellowing and stunting.

Describe The Damage Caused By Pests And How To Detect Infestations Early:

  • Yellowing leaves: Pests can cause leaves to turn yellow and eventually wilt if left untreated.
  • Distorted growth: Infested hydrangeas may exhibit stunted or misshapen growth.
  • Presence of pests: Regularly inspect the leaves for the presence of insects, webbing, or whitefly clusters.
  • Sticky residue: Examine the leaves for sticky honeydew, which can indicate an infestation.

Share Effective Natural And Chemical Pest Control Methods:

  • Natural methods:
  • Spray with neem oil: Dilute neem oil in water and spray it on the affected leaves to suffocate pests.
  • Introduce beneficial insects: Release ladybugs or lacewings, which feed on aphids and other pests.
  • Remove affected leaves: Prune and discard heavily infested leaves to prevent pest spread.
  • Chemical methods:
  • Insecticidal soap: Spray commercially available insecticidal soap directly on the pests to kill them.
  • Horticultural oil: Apply horticultural oil to suffocate and control pests like spider mites.
  • Systemic insecticides: Use systemic insecticides, applied to the soil, to protect the plant from a range of pests.

By promptly identifying and treating pest infestations, you can effectively address the issue of yellowing hydrangea leaves, ensuring the overall health and beauty of your plants.

Reason 4: Diseases

Diseases can be a major culprit when it comes to yellowing hydrangea leaves. It’s important to be able to identify the symptoms and progression of these diseases in order to effectively treat and prevent them.

Discuss Common Diseases That Can Affect Hydrangea Leaves:

  • Powdery mildew: This common fungal disease appears as a white or gray powdery coating on the leaves, causing them to turn yellow and eventually drop. It thrives in humid conditions and can spread quickly.
  • Leaf spot: Leaf spot diseases, such as cercospora leaf spot and bacterial leaf spot, cause small brown or black spots on the leaves. Over time, these spots can enlarge and yellow the surrounding tissue.

Explain The Symptoms And Progression Of These Diseases:

  • Powdery mildew: Look out for white or gray powdery patches on the leaves. As the disease progresses, the leaves may turn yellow and become distorted. Severe infections can result in defoliation.
  • Leaf spot: Initially, small brown or black spots may develop on the leaves. Eventually, the spots will grow in size and turn yellow or gray. Severely affected leaves may drop prematurely.

Provide Treatment Options And Prevention Strategies:

  • Powdery mildew: To treat powdery mildew, you can use a fungicide specifically formulated for this disease. Prune and remove infected plant parts and ensure good air circulation around the hydrangea. Preventative measures include watering at the base of the plant and avoiding overhead watering.
  • Leaf spot: For leaf spot diseases, prune and dispose of infected leaves or branches to prevent the disease from spreading. Applying a copper-based fungicide early in the growing season can also help control leaf spot.

Remember, it’s crucial to maintain good garden hygiene by keeping the area clean and free from debris. Additionally, watering the hydrangea at the base and providing adequate air circulation can go a long way in preventing these diseases. By being proactive and vigilant, you can keep your hydrangea leaves healthy and vibrant.

Reason 5: Soil Ph Imbalance

Explain How Soil Ph Affects Nutrient Availability For Hydrangeas:

Soil ph plays a crucial role in determining the nutrient availability for your hydrangeas. The ph level measures the acidity or alkalinity of the soil on a scale of 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Hydrangeas thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a ph range of 5.

5 to 6. 5. Here’s how soil ph affects nutrient uptake by hydrangeas:

  • Acidic soil (ph below 7): In acidic soil, nutrients like iron, manganese, and aluminum become more readily available to the plant roots. However, if the soil ph drops too low, these nutrients can become overly available, leading to toxicity issues and nutrient imbalances.
  • Alkaline soil (ph above 7): In alkaline soil, nutrients like iron, manganese, and phosphorus become less accessible to hydrangeas. This can result in nutrient deficiencies and yellowing leaves, as the plant struggles to take up essential nutrients needed for healthy growth.

Discuss How Acidic Or Alkaline Soil Can Cause Yellow Leaves:

Both acidic and alkaline soil can cause yellow leaves in hydrangeas, albeit for different reasons:

  • Acidic soil: When the soil ph is too low (acidic), it can cause hydrangea leaves to turn yellow. This is primarily due to nutrient toxicity, especially with excess aluminum and manganese ions. The toxicity affects the chlorophyll production, leading to yellowing of leaves.
  • Alkaline soil: In alkaline soil, hydrangeas may suffer from nutrient deficiencies, particularly iron and manganese. These essential nutrients are vital for chlorophyll production, and their lack can result in yellowing leaves.

Provide Guidance On Testing And Adjusting Soil Ph:

Testing and adjusting the soil ph for your hydrangeas can help prevent yellowing leaves and ensure optimal nutrient availability. Here’s how you can go about it:

  • Testing soil ph:
  • Use a soil testing kit or send a soil sample to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Follow the instructions provided with the testing kit or consult a local agricultural extension office.
  • The ideal ph range for hydrangeas is 5.5 to 6.5, slightly acidic to neutral.
  • Adjusting soil ph:
  • For acidic soil (ph below 5.5): Add lime to raise the ph and reduce acidity. Follow the lime manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.
  • For alkaline soil (ph above 6.5): Incorporate organic matter such as compost, leaf mold, or peat moss to lower the ph and increase acidity. Work the organic matter into the topsoil.

Remember that adjusting soil ph is a gradual process, and it may take a few seasons to achieve the desired ph level. Be mindful of your hydrangea variety’s specific soil preferences and make adjustments accordingly for healthy, vibrant foliage.

By understanding how soil ph impacts nutrient availability, recognizing the effect of acidic or alkaline soil on leaf color, and taking steps to test and adjust soil ph, you can help maintain lush, green leaves on your hydrangeas.

How To Treat Yellow Hydrangea Leaves

If you’ve noticed yellowing leaves on your hydrangea plant, don’t panic! This common issue can be addressed with a few simple steps. In this section, we’ll discuss how to treat yellow hydrangea leaves, emphasizing the importance of identifying the underlying cause and offering specific recommendations for addressing each cause discussed.

Identifying The Underlying Cause:

The first step in treating yellow hydrangea leaves is to identify the underlying cause. This will help you determine the most effective solution to restore the health and vibrancy of your plant. Some common causes of yellowing leaves include:

  • Improper watering: Hydrangeas require moist, well-draining soil. Overwatering or underwatering can lead to yellowing leaves.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Lack of essential nutrients like nitrogen, iron, or magnesium can cause yellow leaves.
  • Pest infestation: Certain pests like aphids or spider mites can damage leaves, causing them to turn yellow.
  • Disease: Hydrangeas can be susceptible to various diseases, such as leaf spot or powdery mildew, which can result in yellowing foliage.
  • Excessive sunlight: Hydrangeas prefer partial shade or filtered sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause stress and yellowing leaves.

Recommendations For Addressing Each Cause:

Once you have identified the underlying cause of yellowing leaves on your hydrangea, you can take specific steps to address the issue:

  • Improper watering: Ensure your hydrangea receives consistent moisture by watering deeply and allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for hydrangeas. Supplements like iron chelates or epsom salt can help correct specific nutrient deficiencies.
  • Pest infestation: Remove pests manually or use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations. Regularly inspect your plant for signs of pest activity.
  • Disease: Treat fungal diseases with appropriate fungicides, following the instructions on the product label. Remove and dispose of any severely affected leaves to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Excessive sunlight: Move your hydrangea to a location that receives partial shade or use shade cloth to filter sunlight. This will help protect the plant from excessive heat and sunburn.

By following these recommendations and addressing the underlying cause, you can effectively treat yellow hydrangea leaves and promote the overall health and beauty of your plant. Remember to monitor your plant’s progress and make adjustments as needed. With the right care, your hydrangea will thrive with lush, green foliage once again.

Frequently Asked Questions On 10 Reasons Your Hydrangea Leaves Are Turning Yellow & How To Fix It

Why Are My Hydrangea Leaves Turning Yellow?

Hydrangea leaves turn yellow due to nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, lack of sunlight, or pest infestation. Properly identify the cause and address it accordingly to restore the green color to your hydrangea leaves.

How Can I Fix Yellow Hydrangea Leaves?

To fix yellow hydrangea leaves, start by adjusting the soil ph with appropriate fertilizers and ensuring sufficient sunlight. Avoid overwatering and inspect the plant for pests. Pruning damaged leaves and improving overall plant care can help restore the health of your hydrangea.

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves From My Hydrangea?

Yes, it is recommended to remove yellow leaves from your hydrangea plants. These leaves are likely damaged or diseased and can attract pests and diseases. Removing them will promote the overall health and aesthetics of your hydrangea. Be sure to dispose of the leaves properly to prevent further spread of disease.


It’s clear that yellowing hydrangea leaves are a common problem for many gardeners. By understanding the reasons behind this issue, you can take proactive measures to save your plants. From pest infestations to nutrient deficiencies and improper watering, there are various factors that can contribute to yellow leaves on hydrangeas.

However, with the right knowledge and careful attention, you can easily fix this problem. Make sure to maintain proper watering habits, provide sufficient sunlight, and use appropriate fertilizers to provide essential nutrients to your plants. Regularly inspect for pests and promptly address any infestations.

Avoid overwatering and ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot. Remember, healthy hydrangea plants with vibrant green leaves are indicative of a thriving garden. With a little tlc and the right techniques, you can enjoy the beauty of your hydrangeas all season long.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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