Reasons Hydrangea Leaves Turning Yellow - Find the Solutions

Written by Ivy

Feb 08 2023

Reasons Hydrangea Leaves Turning Yellow - Find the Solutions

There are many different varieties of hydrangeas, and some have naturally light-colored leaves, but none have yellow leaves. Chlorosis, nitrogen deficiency, and fungal diseases can all result in yellow leaves on hydrangeas. Additionally, excessive watering will result in yellowing leaves on hydrangeas.

Yellowing leaves (Chlorosis) in hydrangeas is a symptom of several different problems, including:

  • Overwatering
  • Fungal infection
  • Underwatering
  • Compacted soil
  • Improper soil pH levels
  • Lack of iron and other nutrients

You must first identify the root of the issue before taking the necessary action to address it if you want to treat your hydrangea's yellow leaves effectively.

We give you advice on how to do that in this article.

Causes of Yellow Hydrangea Leaves


When a hydrangea plant's leaves turn yellow, it signals one of the following problems:

Too Little Or Too Much Light

It's best for hydrangeas to grow in full sun to light shade. Your hydrangea's leaves may become damaged and turn yellow or even brown if they are exposed to direct sunlight without receiving enough water.

Similar to this, if your hydrangea only receives shade and insufficient light, the color of its leaves may fade or turn pale.

Too much direct sunlight can also cause hydrangea foliage to yellow. Large dry patches on the leaves may result from this condition, which is referred to as leaf scorch.

This frequently occurs because various species and varieties of hydrangeas have different sun requirements. Also, in different climates, the same amount of sunlight hours has a different effect on the plant.

Various hydrangea paniculata species, including Limelight, Firelight, Quick Fire, and others) can withstand the direct sun for most of the day. They require shade in the late afternoon only in the south. Alternatively, mophead hydrangeas are more vulnerable to sun damage. Depending on the zone, they require 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight, and the remaining time must be spent in shade.

If your hydrangea gets leaf scorch, you should transplant it to a darker location. The majority of hydrangeas will thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade. Also, if there is too much sun, you can slightly increase the frequency of watering. The plant will evaporate more moisture as a result, possibly preventing sunburn.

Because insufficient light can prevent blooming, you must ascertain precisely how much sun your hydrangea requires.


Many plants, including hydrangeas, experience green, healthy leaves turning yellow from dehydration or overwatering.

Dehydration can result in wilting and leaf discoloration because hydrangeas prefer moist soil. Contrary to dehydration, overwatering can have the same effect but is a warning sign of more serious root rot.


The yellowing of hydrangea leaves can also be attributed to a lack of water. The leaves will droop in addition to that, though. The hydrangea will lose its leaves and possibly die if you don't water it.

You need to amend the soil if the hydrangeas are growing in sandy areas. It is best to mix native soil with high-quality store-bought compost before adding it to the planting hole. You won't need to water as frequently with such a substrate.

Next, you need to keep an eye on the moisture content of the soil. You can carry out this task with your fingers or a soil moisture meter. There shouldn't be more than a 1- to 2-inch dry layer of soil around the hydrangea. When there is a severe drought, irrigation is typically required. After a while, you can easily tell when your hydrangea needs water.

Separately, we must talk about newly planted and potted hydrangeas. Freshly planted hydrangeas are susceptible to turning yellow and losing their leaves. In this case, more frequent watering will not solve the problem completely. In order for your newly planted hydrangeas to more easily adapt to their new location, you should also provide shade for them from the sun for a few weeks.

The risk of underwatering is higher for hydrangeas in pots. The soil in the pots dries out quickly in high heat, and you might need to water them every other day. Do not allow the soil to dry out while keeping an eye on your potted hydrangeas.

Additionally, as I already mentioned, you might want to mulch your hydrangeas. With less frequent watering, the soil will dry out gradually as a result.

Exposure to Low Temperatures

Frost is not tolerant of hydrangeas, and some are not even tolerant of cold. The leaves may turn yellow and drop off due to a sudden drop in temperature or a frost.

Soil PH Issues

Your hydrangeas should be grown in slightly acidic soil, whether they are in a garden or in pots. The leaves of the plant may turn yellow in an alkaline substrate.

The leaves will turn yellow if the issue is low soil acidity. Hydrangeas should be grown in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If the soil is not acidic enough, for instance, you could quickly correct the pH by watering it with a solution of citric acid and water

Nutritional Deficiencies

Lack of nitrogen or iron in the soil can also cause leaf discoloration issues. Even hydrangeas that are grown in the garden or in pots can lose some of their nutrients and minerals.

Along with these, other hydrangea diseases like gray rot and chlorosis can also alter the color of the leaves.

Normal Aging of Leaves

If the problem affects only the leaves at the bottom of the plant, the most likely explanation is the normal aging of these leaves.


The next explanation for the yellowing of hydrangea leaves is a disease. The main cause of this is fungi-related illness. In the spring, young leaves are most prone to the fungus. The fungus develops as soon as its spores land on the leaf's surface. The leaf gradually turns yellow and acquires brown or black spots, which are initially invisible to the human eye. The leaves will wither away if there are lots of spots.

Both high temperatures and excessive humidity can lead to fungus-related diseases. For fungus to grow, these circumstances are ideal. A too-shady location and insufficient airflow around the hydrangea both make the issue worse.

To correct the yellowing of the leaves caused by disease, you first have to transplant the hydrangea into a location with the amount of light required for your type of hydrangea. Additionally, allow at least a foot between the hydrangea and other plants so that air can circulate freely. Do not allow plant debris to rot close to the hydrangea.

Most of the time, these precautions will be sufficient to prevent disease. However, if the disease does manifest, you will need to fungicide-spray the leaves. Fungicides for hydrangeas of high quality are widely available. Remove any foliage that is severely infected as well.


How to Fix Yellow Hydrangea Leaves?

Your hydrangeas' leaves cannot be turned back to their original color once they turn yellow. These leaves are already wilted and will likely eventually fall off.

You can stop other leaves from turning yellow, but you must first determine what brought on your hydrangeas' current bad behavior.

It can be challenging to identify the real cause because so many factors are at play. Still, the tips below can help you zero in on the problem:

  • When leaves turn yellow and fall off, the problem is usually linked to excess watering, cold temperatures or lack of minerals
  • If only the edges of the leaves turn yellow, it usually signals a nitrogen of iron deficiency
  • Soil pH issues can be identified quickest by testing the pH level of the soil

Fixes for the most common causes of hydrangea leaf discoloration include:

  • Make sure your hydrangea will receive enough sunlight while not being in direct sunlight all day when you plant it. Moving houseplants in pots is simple; moving hydrangeas in a garden, however, can be a little more challenging.
  • Yellow leaves caused by dehydration can be fixed by watering your hydrangea when rainfall is scarce or temperatures are high.
  • Yellow leaves caused by overwatering can be fixed by planting your hydrangeas in a location with good soil drainage and making sure the roots don't sit in waterlogged soil
  • To lower the pH level and provide hydrangeas with a favorable environment, an alkaline soil can be amended with soil acidifiers.
  • Even garden hydrangeas need a nutrient boost to avoid nutritional deficiencies, which mostly affect those that are grown in pots. When fertilizing hydrangeas, apply a slow-release fertilizer once or twice during the growing season for the best results.

Typically, only the lower branches of the plant will have yellowing leaves from natural aging. To improve air circulation, remove these leaves and maintain a tidy environment near the plant's base.

How to Prevent Yellow Hydrangea Leaves?

It is possible to prevent leaf discoloration in hydrangeas, and the first step is to ensure that you are aware of the plants' needs for lighting, watering, soil, temperature, and fertilizing.

Because multiple things can cause hydrangea leaves to turn pale or yellow, you need to start prevention with the basics:

Choose a Good Location

Plant your hydrangeas where the light is diffused so that they receive adequate but not excessive sunlight. Plant where the soil has good drainage. You can also amend the soil for better drainage.

Develop a Good Watering Routine

Depending on the climate in your area, you may need to pay more attention to watering. You might need to water your hydrangeas every two to three days if you live in a dry, warm climate.

I rarely need to water my hydrangeas because I live in a temperate region with abundant spring and summer rainfall. I make sure to irrigate if the weather gets too warm without rain.

Give Your Hydrangeas a Nutrient Boost

Your hydrangeas' yellow leaf tips can be prevented in a big way by applying the right fertilizer. To meet the nutrient requirements of my hydrangeas, I apply organic fertilizers two or three times during the growing season.

Higher mineral and nutrient uptake results from growth and blooming. Additionally, you need to add supplements if the soil lacks these.


What to Do When Leaves Are Falling Off

Fixing the issue of yellow leaves is similar to fixing the issue of yellow leaves that are falling. Both of these issues could have the same underlying causes and solutions, and more often than not, they are synonymous.

There is no reason why your lovely plant shouldn't come back to life if you adhere to the advice mentioned above.

Should You Cut Off Yellow Leaves?

The yellow leaves should be removed, of course. Even though you would want to keep the leaves of your hydrangea plant, it is important for you to prune them down,

As was previously stated, yellow leaves are made up of dead cells and are therefore useless to the plant. Additionally, they will ruin your hydrangea plant's overall appearance.

To encourage the growth of new leaves, it is advised that you remove the damaged leaves with scissors or pruning shears.

Ensuring that your hydrangea plant remains healthy and beautiful is not that hard. All you need to do is understand the proper care for your plant. Taking precautions should not be overlooked either.


Yellow leaves in hydrangeas aren't usually a cause for immediate concern, but it's best if you address potential issues early on.

Changes in leaf color can be attributed to a variety of causes, but most of the time the problem is as straightforward as too much light or a lack of water.

The causes I listed above can be used as a guide to find the root of the problem and solve it as soon as possible.

After some practice, you'll be able to quickly identify any problems that arise and become familiar with your hydrangea's needs.