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Why Hydrangeas Droop and What You Can Do About It

Kelly Lehman is the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm and shows everyday gardeners how to grow amazing flowers on her Youtube Channel.

Learn how to determine if your hydrangea needs watering or if it is flagging.

Learn how to determine if your hydrangea needs watering or if it is flagging.

Is It Normal for Hydrangea Blossoms to Droop?

As the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm, I have a lot of experience with hydrangeas. I'm often asked what to do when hydrangeas are drooping, and I want to tell you why your hydrangeas may be drooping in the hot summer sun and what to do about it.

When temperatures are super, super hot, hydrangea blooms will completely flop over. But what if you've recently had a lot of rain, and you know your hydrangea isn't dehydrated? What they're doing is something called flagging.

What Is Flagging?

Flagging is when your hydrangea kind of deflates during hot summer temps. This is very natural. Most likely, later in the afternoon, when temps cool off and your hydrangea gets a little bit of shade, the blooms are probably going to poof back up. Flagging is a natural thing that happens to hydrangeas, and it's not a big deal.

Puffed up pink hydrangea blossoms in the shade.

Puffed up pink hydrangea blossoms in the shade.

How to Tell If Your Hydrangea Needs More Water

People often see their blooms looking deflated and assume that the plant needs more water. Then they'll water their plant, even though the plant may already be sufficiently hydrated. Then the plant gets too much water.

To complicate things, one of the signs that your hydrangea has too much water is that the blooms start to flop. So how do you figure out whether or not your plant really does need more water, or whether it's just flagging? You perform a knuckle test.

How to Do a Knuckle Test

  1. Remove some of the mulch that's on top of the soil; it doesn't count for the two inches you'll need to measure.
  2. Dig your finger down into the soil about two inches or up to about your second knuckle.
  3. Feel what that soil feels like.
  4. If the soil feels dry, it needs a good dose of water at the base.
  5. If the soil feels moist, you're just going to leave it alone.

What Is Root Rot?

If you overwater your hydrangea, you can get something called root rot, which you don't want.

Beautify pink and blue hydrangea plant.

Beautify pink and blue hydrangea plant.

What to Do When Your Hydrangea Droops

  1. Try the knuckle test.
  2. Go out and check what your hydrangea looks like in the late afternoon, early evening. If it puffs out again, chances are your hydrangea's fine. If it still looks tired by late afternoon to early evening, you might want to give it some water.

Once again, don't worry if your blossoms droop in the hot summer sun. It's totally natural. Perform a knuckle test to determine if you need to water your plant, and look forward to beautiful hydrangea blossoms all summer.

Gorgeous, healthy blue hydrangea plant.

Gorgeous, healthy blue hydrangea plant.

More Tips for Growing Hydrangeas

© 2021 Kelly Lehman


Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 03, 2021:

I have a couple of potted hydrangeas, so this information is good to know. Thanks!

Leah Lefler from Western New York on July 02, 2021:

This is very helpful advice. We have newly planted hydrangeas and we had unusually hot temperatures last week. They were drooping and I was very worried they were going to die! It is good to know this is a natural occurrence for hydrangeas in hot weather. It is much cooler today and they have rebounded nicely.