How to Identify and Treat Hydrangea Diseases

There are few things more beautiful than lush hydrangea bushes. Unfortunately, their beauty can be sullied by a number of fungal and viral diseases (and two bacterial diseases).

Close up of hydrangea leaves showing brown spots caused by disease.

However, there are steps you can take to keep your beauteous shrubs from falling victim to one of these diseases.

We will introduce you to the major hydrangea diseases, so you know what to look for and how to prevent and treat them.

Fungal Diseases

Botrytis Blight (Botrytis cinerea)

This fungus can severely affect the flower buds and even kill them before they open. In addition, infected flower parts can fall on the leaves and infect them.

The first symptoms are water-soaked spots on the flowers. However, these grow into reddish brown lesions.

Blue hydrangeas with red lesions on leaves indicating The reddish lesions on the leaves indicating a Botrytis Blight infection.
The reddish lesions on the leaves are a sure sign of Botrytis Blight.

Botrytis is more likely to be a problem under cool and damp conditions, such as several days of cloudy, humid, and rainy weather.

You can take steps to try and prevent this infection. Keep the humidity low. Don’t water late in the day, and only water at the roots, so you don’t get the flowers and leaves wet.

If you can, keep good airflow around your plants. Space them properly, and prune branches that are closely spaced. Treat your pruning shears with bleach as you prune, so you don’t accidentally spread any disease.

Also remove dead or damaged flowers and leaves to prevent the fungus from gaining egress into the plant. Clean up debris around the plant, so that Botrytis can’t live on the dead tissue.

If you have a persistent problem, you may need to use fungicides. Options include mancozeb, iprodione, or thiophanate-methyl.

Leaf Spots (Cercospora species and Phyllosticta hydrangea)

Cercospora manifests as circular purple or brown spots on the bottom of the plant. As the lesions get larger, the leaves can turn yellow and fall off the plant.

Close up of hydrangea leaves showing a leaf spot fungal infection.

Watering without getting the leaves wet will help to prevent these diseases. If your hydrangeas do get infected, you have several options, including compost tea, hydrogen peroxide, garlic oil, or liquid kelp.

You can also apply the fungicides chlorothalonil or thiophanate-methyl.

Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

Plants that have been heavily fertilized are more likely to contract this common fungal pathogen.

A hydrangea leaf showing heavy signs of anthracnose infection.

Continued rainy weather or heavy fog produces the conditions that favor infection.

The fungus produces large brown spots on the leaves or flowers that will become more lightly colored in the centers. One distinctive symptom is that spots by the veins develop at an angle.

You can also treat this disease with liquid kelp, garlic oil, hydrogen peroxide, or compost tea.

Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe polygoni)

Powdery mildew manifests as a white powdery substance on the surface of the leaves. You can see white, cottony growth on the bottom of the leaves.

A severe case of powdery mildew. Photo via Alamy.

Left unchecked, the fungus can infect the newly developing buds and stunt their growth.

Powdery mildew is most likely to be a problem on hydrangeas when the days are warm and the nights cool.

You can prevent the disease by reducing humidity and increasing air circulation.

One way to control this disease is to apply a fungicide as soon as you discover it. Another option is to use neem.

Rust (Pucciniastrum hydrangea)

Like other rusts, hydrangea rust needs two hosts to survive and does not kill either of them. This rust only infects the smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens, and hemlock as its alternate host.

The first symptoms are orange pustules on the bottoms of the hydrangea leaves and yellow spots on top.

This disease is difficult to control, but you can manage it by cleaning up infected leaves and debris that has fallen to the ground around both hosts. Thin inside the hydrangea making sure to disinfect your pruning shears.

If you know that rust is likely to be a problem, you can grow the cultivar ‘Frosty,’ which is resistant to this disease.

Bacterial Diseases

Bacterial Wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum)

This important bacterial disease first manifests as blight in the leaves and flower clusters. However, more severe infestations can cause both wilting and root rot.

Bacterial wilt occurs mainly in hot weather and heavy rains. There are no chemical options to control this disease.

Bacterial Leaf Spot (Xanthomonas campestris)

The bacteria that cause this disease can enter the plant through natural openings like stomata or through wounds.

Top down view of of an oak leaf hydrangea leaf showing splotches of bacterial leaf spot.
Bacterial Leaf Spot (Xanthomonas campestris) on oak leaf hydrangea. Photo (cropped) by Elizabeth Bush, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, via via CC 3.0.

The first symptoms are water-soaked spots. The spots darken and become angular in shape. These spots become larger lesions and can kill the leaves.

If you have a susceptible plant, you can protect it with copper hydroxide (Kocide).

Viral Diseases

Fifteen different viruses afflict hydrangeas! Hydrangea macrophylla is the most susceptible.

Transmission can occur by knives, leaf contact, and insects like aphids. In some cases, plant parasitic nematodes can transmit the viruses.

Prevention is the key in these cases. Quickly remove infected plants and their parts. Sterilize your pruning shears before cutting the plants, and plant clean stock in soilless media to avoid the viruses that are transmitted by nematodes in the soil.

These three are the most common viral infections that you are likely to encounter:

Hydrangea Ringspot Virus

If your hydrangea has brown spots or rings on its leaves, there is a good chance that it is infected with hydrangea ringspot virus. Then the leaves of the plant will start to be distorted and rolled, and the growth of the plant will be stunted.

Close up of brown spots and rings on hyrdrangea leaf indicitive of Hydrangea Ringspot Virus.

Aphids do not spread this disease. However, it spreads mechanically, so tools can transmit this virus. Sanitizing your pruning tools will help to prevent the spread of this disease.

Unfortunately, if your hydrangea contracts this disease, you will have to purge it. Varieties that are tolerant to this virus are available.

Hydrangea Mosaic Virus

Hydrangeas infected with this virus will have a pattern of yellow mosaics on their leaves.

Top down close up of yellow rings on a hydrangea leaf indictive of Hydrangea Mosaic Virus.

This is another virus that is not transmitted by aphids. However, once again, you can spread the virus with your tools. So be sure and disinfect your pruning shears to avoid inadvertently spreading this virus.

Tomato Ringspot Virus

This virus causes the leaves to turn yellow and become distorted, and the growth of the plant will be stunted.

Nematodes, not pruning tools, spread this virus.

If you are growing your hydrangeas in containers, you can avoid tomato ringspot virus by using a soil mix that is free of nematodes.

Such Beautiful Plants and So Many Diseases

There are a number of different organisms that can infect hydrangea plants and sully their beauty.

However, you can take steps to keep your plants from becoming infected:

  • Prune your plants, so that the insides are open and will not accumulate moisture. (And disinfect your pruning shears or flower-cutting knives whenever you use them!)
  • Pick up dead flowers and leaves, since they can harbor fungi.
  • Water your plants at the bottom, so the tops will not get wet.
  • Control insects, since they spread many of these diseases.

Have you encountered a disease on your hydrangea? If so, let us know in the comments.

© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

About Helga George, PhD

One of Helga George’s greatest childhood joys was reading about rare and greenhouse plants that would not grow in Delaware. Now that she lives near Santa Barbara, California, she is delighted that many of these grow right outside! Fascinated by the knowledge that plants make chemicals to defend themselves, Helga embarked on further academic study and obtained two degrees, studying plant diseases as a plant pathology major. She holds a BS in agriculture from Cornell University, and an MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Helga then returned to Cornell to obtain a PhD, studying one of the model systems of plant defense. She transitioned to full-time writing in 2009.

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Amanda James
Amanda James (@guest_5215)
7 months ago

I have a problem fungus that I can’t seem to identify or treat properly. These hydrangeas are heirloom, 7th generation plants, and they’re dying quickly. Help!!

Amanda James
Amanda James (@guest_5217)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 months ago

It’s not responding to any of the fungicides I try

amanda james
amanda james (@guest_5219)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 months ago

This is what it looks like

amanda james
amanda james (@guest_5220)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 months ago

I can’t seem to get them to upload, or delete the comments that uploaded without the pics

Mike Quinn
Mike Quinn (@mike20)
Active Member
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 months ago

 Helga George, PhD

Here are Amanda’s photos of her hydrangeas:

Diseased Hyrdangea 1.jpg

Diseased Hyrdangea 2.jpg

Diseased Hyrdangea 3.jpg

amanda james
amanda james (@guest_5230)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 months ago

I’ve thinned the plants and actually have been using the neem oil on it for a few weeks and it hasn’t helped. Is there anything a bit stronger that may work?

Amanda James
Amanda James (@guest_5236)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 months ago

I will try that. Thanks so much! Sorry for the technical issues 🙂

Japjeet Aulakh Maan
Japjeet Aulakh Maan (@guest_7734)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
4 days ago

My hydrangea leaves are getting folded and looks different in colour

Christine French
Christine French (@guest_5383)
6 months ago

I purchased a hydrangea tree about 3 months ago. I potted it with the idea of bringing it into my home this winter (always bring my tree hibiscus in). However, the hydrangea is not doing well. Not sure if I did not give it enough water, but there are spots on the leaves. Will I make a mistake to bring it into my home? We live in Indiana.

Tina (@guest_5405)
6 months ago

Have browning leaves and flowers turn brown also

Andy Tanguay
Andy Tanguay (@guest_5510)
5 months ago

Can you tell me what is killing my hydrangeas? They have not flowered in a long time & have been planted in front yard for 5+ yrs


Andy Tanguay
Andy Tanguay (@guest_5513)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
5 months ago

thank you

Harriet (@guest_5733)
3 months ago

Please help, Helga! We have had an ongoing problem with dieback on certain plants in our yard for years. I’m not sure it is the same disease in all the plants, but it acts the same. The branches wilt and then die back, usually in the fall, and the brown leaves cling after the other leaves drop. It affects both our oakleaf and mophead hydrangeas, our pawpaws, dogwood, and azaleas. We have heavy shade and heavy soil in our yard, and hot summers here in Columbia, SC. Our yard stays quite dry due to a combination of the heat, a… Read more »

Harriet (@guest_5756)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
3 months ago

A million thanks, Helga! I was afraid that might be what has been going on. I will just plan on replacing the plants with other selections as it becomes necessary. 😘😘😘

Dan Green
Dan Green (@guest_5816)
3 months ago

I planted my first hydrangea a couple of months ago and I’m afraid it’s not doing well at the moment. It is still small and today I went in the backyard where it is and noticed spots on many of the leaves as well as several leaves having large sections missing. I fertilized the plant a month or so ago with Miracle Gro and it gets watered weekly by my sprinklers. I don’t want to lose this plant that I hope to be a beautiful addition to my back yard. Any guidance you could give me would be much appreciated!!

Dan Green
Dan Green (@guest_5817)
Reply to  Dan Green
3 months ago

Here are the photos I attempted to attach to the original message. Thank you!!



Dan Green
Dan Green (@guest_5826)
Reply to  Dan Green
3 months ago

Here are a couple of photos.




Gary (@guest_6107)
1 month ago

Hello, thanks for the very informative article. I have around one hundred hydrangeas throughout my yard. I’m used to seeing and treating many of the listed diseases or just letting the hydrangeas be hydrangeas in the fall with the brown spot. This is the first spring I’ve really noticed a white spotting of the leaves. It’s only on the macrophyllas I notice it. Panicle, arborscens, querciflora and anamola aren’t showing the spotting and mild leaf distortion. It’s been cool here and just a storm the past couple weeks don’t seem to be conducive to most diseases I deal with during… Read more »

Ryan (@guest_6124)
1 month ago

Hi Helga,
Every year I have problems with oak leaf hydrangeas. I can never find info online of anyone having the problem. I get them with the leaves curled and crunchy, some varieties more then others. I take off the bad leaves, but throughout the growing season they keep getting ugly leaves. I’ve had another grower say “they just don’t like being potted” but I’m not sure if it’s another reason.



Ryan McMullin
Ryan McMullin (@guest_6236)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
1 month ago

I’m sure I can soon. I just received these hydrangeas the day I sent them to you. I’ve gotten them from three suppliers in the past. All normally come with the leaves like that. I’ve only had one variety in the past that has not. I normally take off any bad foliage and pick up any in the pot but eventually it always comes back. I planted one in my personal garden and it ended up being fine. It’s always the ones I have in pots. As the season goes on I’ll try to get more pictures. But typically it… Read more »

Ryan McMullin
Ryan McMullin (@guest_6237)
Reply to  Ryan McMullin
1 month ago

I just noticed another person describing the same problem below.
I just got fresh water hooked up to my main water this season because I hate having a constant fertilizer for my plants. I’m hoping it has just been over fertilized.

Ruth McHugh
Ruth McHugh (@guest_6140)
1 month ago

Hello, I’m having serious problems with two plants I bought last summer for large containers. They survived the winter with no obvious problems but over the last few weeks have started going brown at the leaf edge and the new buds. Please help




nancy (@guest_6171)
1 month ago

I received a beautiful hydrangea plant for Easter and the blue blooms were beautiful. Now I noticed the blooms are starting to die from the inside out. I live in Michigan and have the plant in my house. What do you think the problem is?

Shonda M
Shonda M (@guest_6194)
1 month ago

Hi! Thank you for this article, as it is hard to find information related to ALL of the diseases that affect hydrangeas. I recently purchased two Oakleaf hydrangeas from a local nursery. They looked fine at first but since they’ve been planted (about 2 weeks) the leaves have started looking awful. They are turning black around the edges and have some black spots in the middle. Not all the leaves have black spots in the middle of them though. The nursery is not very willing to work with me. I have already experienced one diseased plant from them that I… Read more »

Shonda M
Shonda M (@guest_6221)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
1 month ago

They don’t have flowers yet, so I’m not sure about the first problem. I do think it could be cercospora leaf spot because the circular spots on the veins do look purple. Do you think the purple and dead patches on the edge could be frost damage? A couple days after I planted them we had frost for about 3 mornings.

Shonda M
Shonda M (@guest_6195)
1 month ago

Here are some pictures:




Shonda M
Shonda M (@guest_6196)
1 month ago

A few more:



Julie Morris
Julie Morris (@guest_6211)
1 month ago

I have beautiful endless summer hydrangeas. The 1st blooming in early June is always gorgeous! However, the second blooming in late summer is really ugly. The blooms all look sort of dead… They don’t have any color. They are sort of tan colored. Why does this happen? I am in zone 7 (East Texas) and we have sandy soil. These plants are 8 yrs old. The leaves are always green and healthy – it’s just the blooms during the 2nd bloom period that are a light brownish color.

Brian (@guest_6273)
1 month ago

My hydrangea has something going on and it is not good! Please take a look at the pics and advise! Thank you!




Monica (@guest_6364)
1 month ago

Hi Helga, my hydrangea Nikko has these abnormal spots on them.




jerry santucci
jerry santucci (@guest_6644)
30 days ago

My ydrangea is starting to bloom in some places, but on other branches it is all dead with a dark brown leaf. If I remove the dead portion it just looks like the plant is dead, yet there are flowers blooming on other branches. I don’t understand. Help.

Michele Buckley
Michele Buckley (@guest_6668)
29 days ago

My hydrangeas have some kind of disease, I can not seen to find any pictures of it on the web. Do you have any idea what it is please?




Victoria (@guest_6684)
28 days ago

Hi Helga, please help. My hydrangea has some illness that I cannot identify. We have had it for many years and it was a healthy plant. I am worried that it would be too late to save it.

Victoria (@guest_6729)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
27 days ago

Hi Helga, many thanks for getting back to me. I have pruned yesterday the most affected leaves and branches.
The flowers are too small yet to see if they are attacked, however to me they look as they are.
There are no grey mildew and there are no circular lesions on the leaves. They all start to drying out from the end of the leaf.
I am attaching more pictures. Could you please kindly look again if it would help to identify the disease?

Victoria (@guest_6837)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
25 days ago

Hi Helga,
Thank you. I have fertilized it couple of weeks ago. If this diagnosis is is correct, what shall I do next? Will it go away by itself?
In case it is anthracnose, what is best to buy to prevent it in the future? How often to use?
Thank you.

Ann (@guest_6736)
27 days ago

I hope you can offer some advice concerning my hydrangeas. Last year, I started noticing the brown spotting. I treated with an organic anti-fungal spray that seemed to help, but I noticed I had to use it more often than the every two weeks recommended on the bottle. This year, I have been doing the same about once a week, but now I’m also noticing browning around the edges of leaves. This appears days after the anti-fungal spray and I’m wondering if the brown edge is a different problem than the spot fungus I was originally treating. I am spraying… Read more »

Ann (@guest_6793)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
26 days ago

Hi Helga,
Thank you for your response and suggestions. I’m currently using Natria Disease Control. I will look for something different and perhaps stronger. I think I read Hydrogen Peroxide could help for Anthracnose. Is that correct? If so, are we talking the typical strength found at the drug store or some other strength/diluted formula for plants?

Jorge (@guest_6787)
26 days ago

Hi Helga… Look at the pic. I planted two limelight hydrangeas last year, and last year they developed the same lesions. I’ve treated with fungicide daconil, but haven’t seen any reduction in the lesions… I’m inclined to think it is due to over fertilization… I did use fertilizer spikes, what confuses me is that I have another limelight (a year older) that I also fertilized using spikes and it’s fine… they are planted next to each other, maybe 5 feet apart. What do you think? Fungus or chemical injury? Thanks, Jorge


Jorge (@guest_7835)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
4 hours ago

Hi Helga… I applied mancozed per instructions but I haven’t been able to control the disease. I cut the affected leaves/branches and now I can see new lesions in other sections of the plant. I ordered Bonide’s “Infuse”, which is a systemic fungicide… I’ll hit using both types, contact and systemic… hopefully that will get the situation under control. I’ll let you know how things work out. Jorge

Veronica (@guest_6788)
26 days ago

Hi Helga
We bought these Hydrangeas few weeks ago, transplanted them and a week ago or so, they started to look bad. We don’t know if it is a fungus or something or if it could be the result of cat urine. We have seen cat present around our flower beds. What do you recommend?




Terence C
Terence C (@guest_6805)
26 days ago

I have four endless summer hydrangeas planted in front of my shed. They have been there for seven years. This year I took a lot of the deadwood off early in spring. Also did a little bit of pruning. Fertilized on March 31. Mulched a week later. They were beautiful and green. Two days later I started noticing some browning on some of the leaves. Thought maybe it was due to a very cold night close to freezing. But it continued to get worse. Had to heavily prune the other day. Having trouble identifying what is going on. From my… Read more »

Terence C
Terence C (@guest_6866)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
25 days ago

Thank you so much Helga! Will see how they look after first week of neem oil treatment. Going to order other fungicide you suggested and have it standing by. Will let you know how it goes.

Wende Sima
Wende Sima (@guest_6806)
26 days ago

Hi Helga ~ I can’t tell you how pleased I was to find your site, as it’s thorough and clear without being dauntingly technical & long. So, I’ve been involved in some indoor projects recently, and hadn’t been out paying much attention to my hydrangeas as they were coming back to life. Yesterday, I was shocked to find that my pride and joy seems to have (tentatively diagnosed using your site) a case of Anthracnose (?) I am sending a couple of photos. I also realized this a.m. that in addition to the leaves browning and dying around the edges,… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-schultz)
Noble Member
Reply to  Wende Sima
13 days ago

Azaleas are unfortunately susceptible to anthracnose as well, Wende, transmitted by Colletotrichum acutatum. You can read more about growing azaleas in this article, and feel free to post any additional questions you may have there. Thanks!

Wende Sima
Wende Sima (@guest_6807)
26 days ago

Sorry~ I couldn’t figure out how to add the photos on my first comment, so they’re coming separately. 🙂




Wende Sima
Wende Sima (@guest_6830)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
26 days ago

Thank you so much for all the information! Normally, it would have taken me weeks to learn what it was and how to treat. Now, I can get get started immediately! 🙂

Ruth Joffe
Ruth Joffe (@guest_6911)
23 days ago

I’ve had several different varieties of hydrangea in my yard that have done well for 15+ years and am now having problems with most: 1. (not sure of variety): Last spring stems became leggy and foliage discolored. I sprayed with an organic insecticide/miticide and cut back most leggy stems. This spring began with abundant new foliage from the roots but in the last few weeks leaves are again discolored. 2. Maybe Endless Summer (not sure): spring began well but leaves are again discolored, brown and dry. 3. Oak Leaf-purple-reddish leaves dispersed throughout plant at a rate of about one per… Read more »

Ruth Joffe
Ruth Joffe (@guest_6913)
23 days ago

Attached are photos of Oak Leaf and Lace cap, described in earlier post.



Ruth Joffe
Ruth Joffe (@guest_6915)
23 days ago

I made an error in my post about my hydrangea problems. Last year I sprayed a broad spectrum insecticide/fungicide/miticide: Monterey Lawn and Garden Fruit Tree Spray Plus. Thanks.

Ruth Joffe
Ruth Joffe (@guest_6978)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
21 days ago

Thank you so much for this wonderfully specific and helpful information. I have already put in an order with Amazon for Mancozeb. I have a few more questions and an answer to your question: 1. Does it make sense to use the fungicide on the hydrangeas that are planted close to the ailing ones or will it hurt them? I have some, including a variegated variety, that don’t look awful but not especially healthy either. 2. We have had an unusually cool spring with some nights in the 40s. Do you think this is a factor? 3. The hydrangea with… Read more »

Ruth Joffe
Ruth Joffe (@guest_6979)
Reply to  Ruth Joffe
21 days ago

P.S. The stems got leggy last spring/summer just before the leaves became discolored.

Phyllis Patch
Phyllis Patch (@guest_6925)
23 days ago

Hi Helga,
I have hydrangea that I planted a year ago and they came back, however some leaves have a yellow discoloration. The plants themselves look fine.
I also have two hydrangeas that I planted from pots a week ago. The picture shows the leaves are crumbled and dead looking, however the plants are showing tiny leaf growth. The new leaves look green and wrinkled, so I thought that it might be a fungus. What do you think?
Phyllis P.




Tina Patel
Tina Patel (@guest_7076)
19 days ago

We have 4 hydrangeas that have done well for 10+ years. This year one has not come out “well,” its leaves are small and “scrunched up.” Oddly, we lost a Japanese maple (one of 6) that was almost 20 years old, and one of our ginkgo trees looks weird too. I do not see any insects or borers or fungus on them… Sevin dust didn’t help.




Kathy Chestnut
Kathy Chestnut (@guest_7291)
14 days ago

One of my hydrangeas have just started blooming but the little flower heads have turned black and are drying up. It is only this plant that has this condition. The others are blooming normally. What can be causing the blooms to dry up and turn brown and wither up? Thank you.

Janet Waters
Janet Waters (@guest_7338)
13 days ago

Hello, I wonder if you can help me with my hydrangea. Some of the leaves have curled up and have gone brown and dry on the ends of the leaves. Is this a viral disease, I wonder? Is there anything I can do for the plant? Should I cut off the stems with the curled up leaves, leaving the healthy looking ones in place? Thanks for your help.
Janet Waters

Kayla (@guest_7362)
13 days ago

Hi there Dr. Helga! My family has two oak leaf hydrangeas that have yellow spots and are not doing very well. This post was very informative. My dad tried a broad spectrum fungicide and that has not helped them bounce back. Based on your post I am thinking maybe bacterial? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Please and thank you! We also have a ruby red slippers hydrangea and that one is blooming fine with no problems or spots.




Kayla (@guest_7573)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
8 days ago

Hi Dr. Helga, We are now thinking it might be an armored insect problem! I have not seen any white flies hanging around them, but we started noticing our Ruby Slippers with the same spots on lower leaves closer to the ground, after it has exploded with blooms this spring so when the fungicide didn’t work we looked to some other potential problems. We have a company coming to treat around the plant and hopefully save it!

Susanna (@guest_7378)
12 days ago

Hi Helga,

What do you think is wrong with the leaves of my hydrangeas? They spots appear to have a hint of red and they start from the leaf tips. The white in the photo is from a fungicide my dad used, but I think the overall problem could still be powdery mildew. Let me know what you think. Thanks.



ainemcelhinney (@guest_7448)
11 days ago

My very healthy hydrangea went from a lush green bush to this mess in a matter of weeks. We had weeks of beautiful weather but then some frosty nights. Could this have caused the decline? TIA.
Aine in Ireland


ainemcelhinney (@guest_7464)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
11 days ago

Thank you Helga. I will do that and hopefully will be able to save it.

DLyn Finley
DLyn Finley (@guest_7465)
11 days ago

Hi There! Three weeks ago, I transplanted a few hydrangea paniculata pillow talk. I live in Nor Cal in warm inland temps. The leaves of the plants were green and flourishing. We had some rain on sunday and then humid weather. Today I had to clip the leaves off by 50%. Can you please help?

Hydrangea Leaves aftermath.jpg

Hydrangea Pre Cut.jpg

Hydrangea plant 2 Pre Cut.jpg

DLyn Finley
DLyn Finley (@guest_7842)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
33 seconds ago

Thanks Helga! The product just arrived and I used it Saturday. However, the bacteria is continuing to spread. I just pruned more leaves and feel defeated. Not sure if I really have a green thumb. I will continue to treat the hydrangeas and try not to give up. I’ll keep you posted.

Summer (@guest_7474)
10 days ago

Hi Helga, have discovered this sticky problem on my 5+ year old hydrangea bush in my front garden. I am in the UK, it’s been unseasonably sunny and dry so far this year, but this fungus has appeared – I’m worried it’s honey fungus but no mushrooms are apparent. Any ideas? Thanks so much in advance for your help!  Helga George, PhD




Kay (@guest_7487)
10 days ago

This is happening on a limelight and a strawberry vanilla hydrangea. The are maybe half of the leaves not fully developing. I’m not sure what could be causing it.

Alan Clay
Alan Clay (@guest_7513)
9 days ago

Hi, I live in south of UK with a small garden. Our borders grow shrubs vigorously so we tend to plant in pots. We acquired 2 hydrangeas last year and planted in fairly large pots. We had a Wonderful display of flowers and vigorous growth. Feed: Miracle-Gro. In the Autumn (Fall) we pruned the branches back by 2/3rds. The Spring brought early growth with one plant doing better than the other, both started leaf production and is still fine but the other plant leaves have withered as though lacking water, both plants have been watered the same, usually once a… Read more »

Alan Clay
Alan Clay (@guest_7580)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 days ago

Thanks Helga, this makes sense as I have lost a rhododendron recently with similar problems. I have ordered up some Flairform Pythoff to enable me to treat all shrubs nearby.

Courtney (@guest_7523)
9 days ago

Thank you for the informative article! I’m still struggling to identify and therefore treat my two hydrangeas. Can you help? They get morning sun and pm shade. It’s been a very wet spring. Zone 6b Pennsylvania. Thank you!




Pam (@guest_7552)
8 days ago

I have 4 snowball hydrangeas that were started from a bush at my parents’ house. These particular plants are about 6 years old. I knew last year there was a problem with one of them and I treated it with a fungicide. This year we transplanted them and apparently the problem was worse than I anticipated. When we transplanted we started with 2 plants and one of them was divided into 3. The one that is all sticks was the one that was iffy last year and they have not bloomed in 2 years. Am I too late to save… Read more »

Joel (@guest_7555)
8 days ago

Maybe Helga can help with this hydrangea problem we are having now for the second year. The leaves have this odd deformed and curly appearance. Last year the blooms it tried to put out we even stranger looking. Almost looked like mini grapes. Anyway here is a photo of what we are now seeing.



Marniecooke (@guest_7566)
8 days ago

Hi Helga- thank you for your expertise. We have two limelight hydrangea trees that are three years old. I pruned them both back this spring and one of them is already growing some full leaves. The other is struggling to push out new buds and looks like the other did 4 weeks ago- bare with small leaf buds. There is also some brown sap running from some cut branches. Photo is attached. Do you have any guidance? Thank you!!



Roger Dilts
Roger Dilts (@guest_7589)
7 days ago

Dr George. Thanks for the great website. I have a couple of shirobana gaku ajisai that are being hit really hard with what looks like Anthracnose and some kind of leaf curl. I’m going to cut off the impacted leaves and spray the rest with fungicide. I didn’t fertilize but it’s pretty wet this year. Any more advice? How about the leaf curl?




Roger Dilts
Roger Dilts (@guest_7598)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
7 days ago

Thanks for the quick answer! It’s raining here in Portland so I’ll wait a couple of days on the spray. Maybe drier weather and the spray will work.

Angela Folea
Angela Folea (@guest_7756)
3 days ago

Hi, Helga! Two of my hydrangeas are dying. It seems like their stems are stung by an insect which suckles the juice, the stem shrinks and then dies! Thank you for your answer

Jiyu Zhang
Jiyu Zhang (@guest_7781)
3 days ago

I bought two pots of endless summer hydrangeas last year from Lowe’s. They were doing great with abundant nice green leaves and lots of flowers. However, they got frost damage last winter from a freezing night because I forgot to bring them inside. Since then I moved the pots indoor to protect them from further damage. The leaves/blossoms were all dry and dead, but I gave them a chance to recover. This spring I removed all the dead flowers and leaves and I was surprised to see some new shoots and flower buds. They were doing fine at the beginning,… Read more »

Jiyu Zhang
Jiyu Zhang (@guest_7826)
Reply to  Helga George, PhD
1 day ago

Hi Helga! Thank you very much for your reply. I live in Michigan, which has very cold winter. Now the outside temperature have gone up around 50-80 degrees, is that good for hydrangeas? I thought hydrangeas loved partial shade so I kept my plants indoor but near a south-facing window. Actually I did try to move my damaged hydrangeas outside one day in the balcony when it was nice and sunny but the tiny new leafs soon got sunburned, the leafs became pale and quickly died. However by that time they already got some leaf and bud damage, so they… Read more »

Tina B.
Tina B. (@guest_7812)
1 day ago

Hello Helga! I have an Oakleaf Hydrangea that is about 12 years old that I am concerned about. While the leaves on my other Oakleaf are getting large and full, the leaves on this hydrangea have stopped growing. They are also a very dark green and powdery looking. They feel a little spongy. The underside is also powdery looking. There are no spots. I will attach some pictures.









Rosemarie Berkau
Rosemarie Berkau (@guest_7823)
1 day ago

My hydrangea has “rust-like” spots on the stems of the plant….. they are currently getting ready to bloom. They are blue, pink and white in color! I am aware of the “rust” blight that hydrangeas sometimes have but I thought that was specifically a leaf issue.