Over-fertilized hydrangeas, HELP!

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Lemonfruit, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. Lemonfruit

    Lemonfruit Member

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    Hi Everyone!

    I have a beautiful 'Endless Summer" hydrangea, with tons of green foliage and numerous heads of pink flowers popping up everywhere.

    I did a very bad thing, about 10 days ago. On a whim, I decided I wanted the flowers to turn blue, so I bought some 'Growmore' brand Hydrangea Blueing Formula, followed the directions, and applied a teaspoon of the powder around the base of my plant.

    The next day, my plant looked "fried", leaves started falling off, and the frying spread to the entire plant. Almost all the leaves have turned brown and fallen off. However, the flowers are staying put, and I'm noticing many new buds appearing on the stalks and base. The new flowers have turned the blue color I was hoping for, but leaves keep falling off.

    My question is: will my plant recover and regain the lush leaves, or is it dying a slow death, caused by my stupidity? I keep my plant in a pot, as I have no yard, only a patio. Should I keep applying this fertilizer in smaller increments? I've attached two photos. The first was taken the day before fertilization, and the second taken an hour ago.

    Thank you in advance!
    Lemonfruit
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

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    Give the pot a couple of plunge treatments (in a larger container) and let it drain out to remove most of whatever it was in the bluing formula (probably aluminum sulphate). It certainly looks fried, but it will probably survive. Bloom color in natural soil (containing some aluminum) is pH related with the lower pH (acid) soil making the Al more available. If you want to try it again, go really easy with it!

    Ralph
     
  3. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The label on that product reads that it is for soil or potted plants. Did you follow all of the instructions on the label, e.g. were you supposed to mix the powder in solution, then apply it to the potted plant? Typically for potted plants, they should be watered well before fertilization, then fed with a water-soluble fertilizer in solution, unless of course one is using slow-release granules. If you sprinkled the powder and left it, or if you sprinkled the powder and then watered it in, the application to the roots was uneven, and they likely burned. Plunging the pot in water several times is a great idea to help wash all of the salt away. If this is the scenario, I wouldn't fertilize again this season, but rather nurse the plant along while it develops new roots. Removing all of the buds and flowers may help this along by allowing all of the plant's energy to go to the roots. I would await a second opinion on that, however. All should be well next season.
     
  4. Lemonfruit

    Lemonfruit Member

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    Here are the official directions on the side of the fertilizer container:

    Container Plants: "May also be used on above the ground container plants. Use every 4 to 6 weeks or as needed. Use one level teaspoon per 6-8" of container diameter. Sprinkle formula around the base of the plant under the drip zone of the leaves and water thoroughly in the soil".

    It was scary to see my plant go from supreme health, to oven-fried in less than 24 hours.
     
  5. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks for sharing that information as it was difficult to find any other information about the product's instructions or ingredients online. Since you followed the instructions for application, I would fill out the form at the company's contact page, and ask them to explain what happened and what they offer as a remedy. Let us know what their response is. I would be leery of using that particular package of fertilizer again. http://growmore.com/pages/contact.html. I would still plunge the plant in water several times to wash out the salt, since it really appears as if the roots were burned. If it is too heavy to lift, then water it for a really long time.
     
  6. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Here is a link just posted by Durgan in another thread, which reads that one can add coffee grounds (or tea leaves) to a potted hydrangea to lower the pH: http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/colorchange.html. This can be done safely while you determine the problem with the Grow More product.
     
  7. Lemonfruit

    Lemonfruit Member

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    Thank you Laurie!

    I think my best bet will be to just water it for a long time. I will contact the Growmore company and let them know my situation. Thanks again everyone!
     
  8. Lemonfruit

    Lemonfruit Member

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    Unbelievable!

    I've tried submitting a complaint to Growmore, and the contact page is unavailable. Oh well, I'll just cross my fingers and keep watering.
     
  9. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I see what you mean. The contact page comes up, but when I filled out a claim and clicked to submit it, "not found" is the message. The Grow More, Inc. website, in general, is really poor and, of course, there is no toll-free telephone number.
     
  10. GRSJr

    GRSJr Active Member 10 Years

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    That should tell you something! I'd dump the remaining product and never use anything by them again.

    Flushing the salts out of the pot and waiting until next year is good advice.
     
  11. Hermitian Operator

    Hermitian Operator Member

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    I have used the Grow More Hydrangea Blueing formula for several years and never had a problem. I do check the soil pH before applying -- as with any soil acidifier. Also note that applying an acidifier at the same time as other fertilizers can definitely "fry" plants.

    The company has a toll-free phone number which has been in operation for decades: 800-338-7160.

    If the contact page (http://www.growmore.com/pages/contact.html) does not work for you, just send email to the address listed at the top of that form: apismoclam@growmore.com
     

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