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When you put in a lot of effort to keep your hydrangeas healthy and happy, it can be upsetting to see the leaves curling. But what is the cause and how do you fix it?

When your hydrangea leaves are curling it can be a handful of things.

Transplantation Issues

If you have recently transplanted your hydrangea, the leaves could be showing signs of inadequate water. This can be particularly problematic if you purchased your hydrangea from a nursery because the potting soil that nurseries use is often very high in peat moss and dries out very quickly. In many cases when you look at the bottom of a plant you procure from a nursery the roots are woven together and coming out the bottom of the container. It’s important to loosen the roots before you transplant and make sure that you keep the soil uniformly moist from there on out.

If you have recently transplanted whether from somewhere else in your garden or from a nursery, paying attention to a regular water schedule can rectify wilting and curling leaves quite quickly. You might also notice the leaves turning brown around the edges and eventually turning brown all the way across, but again, regular water can fix this. This is especially true for hydrangeas grown in pots


A fungal infection could be a problem as well. If you notice that the leaves are curling but they also have brown spots, you might want to avoid watering in such a way that you got any water on the leaves. The best way to water your hydrangea is to do so at the base of the plant. Any leaves that have dark spots and are curling should be removed. You should also remove large branches if the problem has spread significantly.

Fungus requires dark, moist areas to grow which is why you might find it in parts of your garden that are overgrown, or areas where you put multiple hydrangeas together, in any situation where there might be inadequate airflow and sunlight.


If the leaves are curling and turning brown at the same time it could be a problem with toxicity poisoning. This is most often the result of too much fertilizer. It is recommended that you only use up to 2 cups of fertilizer for every 9.2 square meters of your garden and that fertilizer should be a 10-10-10 mixture. If you have used too much fertilizer, a common problem for smaller gardens or container-grown hydrangeas, just make sure you stop the use of any fertilizer for the rest of the season. There is a particularly high risk of this toxicity in the summer when your hydrangeas get the highest level of sunlight so be aware of how much you are adding in the summer months.


If you see that your leaves are curling, shrivelling, and eventually turning brown it could be a problem with aphids or scale insects. You want to remove any insects you find with a powerful stream of water or a mixture of water and dish soap. If this doesn’t solve the problem you can use a pesticide. This is something you want to get rid of immediately.

Overall, there are a handful of reasons why the leaves on your hydrangea leaves might be curling and it’s important to be aware of their causes so that you can eliminate the reasons that might not fit your situation.

Image credits – Shutterstock.com


Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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