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4 Reasons Why Your Hydrangea Turns Green

In my gardening journey, I keep coming across some pretty unique stuff. You know, plants are alive and they can change in surprising ways. Like green flowers – they can really surprise you, even if you’ve been gardening for ages.

Take hydrangeas, for example. They go green as they get older. It’s totally normal for them to shift from green to brown eventually.

But there are more reasons why hydrangeas might turn green. Let’s dive into that in this article.

1. Maturation

Hydrangea turning green

Hydrangea turns green over the course of the life cycle.

No matter what color your hydrangea starts off as, it’s always changing. Typically, the blooms are bright and vivid when they’re young. But as summer approaches, they tend to fade a bit. During the peak of summer, the flowers might even get a bit sunburnt and turn brown.

As the season winds down, some hydrangeas will shift to pink before they all eventually turn brown and dry up when early winter hits.

Sometimes, you might notice the petals of hydrangeas, especially the white ones like Incrediball and Annabelle, taking on a greenish tint. But this isn’t a sign of trouble or sickness in the plant. It’s just part of the flower’s natural life cycle, so there’s no need to stress over it.

2. Inadequate Lighting

Hydrangeas typically don’t start turning green until the later part of summer. That’s when they begin to form seeds and the days start to get shorter. The plant then diverts its energy to seed production, and the petals pitch in with photosynthesis to help out.

Not all hydrangeas go green in the same manner. The strong ones, with plenty of energy to produce seeds, usually keep their flower colors intact. It’s the less vigorous ones that might need an extra boost from chlorophyll in their petals to help along.

But don’t think that just giving your hydrangea more sunlight will stop the flowers from going green.


Annabelle and Incrediball hydrangeas turning green

Annabelle and Incrediball hydrangeas turning green.

3. Weather

Weather also plays a role in the color changes of hydrangeas. When the weather’s not great, hydrangeas can get stressed, and this might make the flowers turn a bit green.

Heat is a big factor here. In really hot conditions, the flowers might start turning green and then eventually brown.

And when you throw high humidity into the mix, things can get even trickier. If you’re in a humid area, you might see the petals go green during hot spells. It’s just the hydrangea’s way of dealing with the stress.

Read also: How to Give Your Hydrangea Proper Care

4. Natural Green Coloration

Limelight and Little Lime hydrangeas turning green

Limelight Hydrangea and Little Lime Hydrangea.

It’s also worth noting that some hydrangea varieties naturally produce light green blooms.

Take the ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea, for instance. It thrives just as well in full sun as it does in partial shade. The blooms usually carry a charming lime tint. If you’re aiming for this color in your garden, ‘Limelight’ is a solid pick.

Then there’s the ‘Little Lime,’ a compact counterpart to ‘Limelight.’ It rarely grows beyond two feet in both height and spread. Its petals are a tad more green, and it grows at a slower pace. For those with limited space, ‘Little Lime’ is ideal.

And let’s not overlook certain types of Hydrangea macrophylla known for their striking green flowers. They’re so vibrant they almost seem out of the ordinary, making them a prized find for collectors.

What to do when a hydrangea turns green?

If the blooms on your hydrangea go green, there’s no quick fix to revert them to their original color right away. However, mimicking the plant’s natural environment can help avoid such color shifts in the future.

First off, aim to give your hydrangea some dappled sunlight. It should bask in a mix of indirect and some direct sunlight each day. This is particularly crucial for the bigleaf varieties, and somewhat for the paniculata types as well.

Next up, water is key. Make sure your hydrangea gets enough water to reach all parts of its root system. Let the soil dry out about 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings, but not more. Steer clear of shallow, frequent waterings, as they might lead to root issues and leaves turning yellow.

Finally, when you’re planting a hydrangea, mix in 2-3 buckets of compost or peat into the planting hole. This not only loosens up the soil but also enhances drainage and enriches the soil, setting a perfect stage for your hydrangea to thrive.