Limelight hydrangea

(Question)

I was given a limelight hydrangea two months ago, it is still in the pot and seemed to be doing well. It has suddenly started wilting and the leaves are falling off, I have kept it moist and am about to plant it but it looks so sick? What could be the matter? I cannot see any bugs or fungus on the leaves.

(Answer)

The wilting may be caused by excessive heat or by too much water.Hydrangeas need to be kept moist, but not too wet.  You can pull the plant out of the pot and if the roots are still healthy, let the soil become drier between waterings. You should only water if the soil feels slightly dry, when you put your finger into the soil.  Don’t water if the soil feels moist.  As with many plants, longer, less frequent watering is best.
If hydrangeas are watered too much, they are susceptible to several kinds of root rot.  The first is armillaria root rot, which can cause the leave and the wood to turn brown. Unfortunately, once this has infected your plant it is unlikely to recover.  The other is phytophthora root rot, which in addition to wilting, will cause yellow stunted leaves. It is quite common in potted hydrangeas. You can try carefully unpotting the plant, trying to remove most of the soil and any damaged rootsand replanting in new soil.