Does Your Hydrangea Look This Ugly? Don't Fret! It's the Frost!

If your hydrangeas look as awful—don't fret. It's probably not your fault, and give them some time.

My poor hydrangeas look something awful.

At first I thought it was just me. I have been dumping generous heaps of coffee grounds on them hoping this is the year I can finally get the soil pH where I want it to make my blooms nice and blue. (Higher acid soils will turn pink hydrangeas blue. Coffee grounds are said to be a natural way to make that magic happen.)

Then I noticed my friend's hydrangea in Grosse Pointe looked equally as bad — skimpy leaves with browned edges. And my mom, who lives across town, mentioned hers wasn't looking so hot. Ah, so it's not just me, it's all of metro Detroit.

Then it hit me: the April frosts! It's not some mysterious hydrangea disease, it was the April frost that nipped the leaves.

This was confirmed by a gardening column in the Detroit News this week. Columnist Nancy Szerlag says: "Be patient." 

Thank you, Nancy. I already see some nice healthy leaves coming out, and some buds forming. I'm not sure if they'll be blue (fingers crossed), but I'll be patient.

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Kate Bernas May 15, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey May 15, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Kate, your mom scooped me! I love her lesson about resisting the urge to prune it back: "I need to learn I'm not in charge of the universe." Amen, Ament!
Garden Love May 15, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Thank you for the information! Love the ideas about using coffee grounds!
Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey May 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
You are welcome. My neighbor in Grosse Pointe Woods promises it works. I'll keep you posted if it does!
Linda Baker May 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM
now I know about the hydrangeas but I wonder if there is any hope for the hostas that have leaves deformed and decomposing on the plant due to the frost in April!


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