I love hydrangeas!
They are my favorite flower. I have hydrangeas planted in my front and back yard. When I first planted them many years ago they were a brilliant purple pink.
Not quite blue, not quite purple, not quite pink – they were just right.
Imagine how disappointed I was last summer when they bloomed a pale yellow blue color. The blooms looked anemic. It made me sad that I would not get to enjoy my favorite flower and their vibrant color for the summer.
To make sure this summer that they come back to their colorful glory I did a little research last Fall on how to turn hydrangeas pink or blue.
I knew that the pH acidity of the soil changes the color of the hydrangea blooms, but since mine have always been the color I desired, I never paid much attention.
I read that pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. Pure water has a pH very close to 7.
Reading that made my head spin – say what? I flunked chemistry in high school and any subject that dealt with numbers. Then I remembered my mother-in-law telling me she buried pennies around her plants to change the color, but I could not remember what color it turned the flowers. More research was needed. I found that garden lime = pink blossoms. Soil sulfer = blue blossoms. Since I like purple pink blooms – I think I needed a mix of both.
I had lime in the garage that I bought to experiment with to make DIY chalk paint. Now it was time to experiment again, but this time on the hydrangeas. I sprinkled about a cup all around the plants and watered the soil.
Fast forward to last week when it was time to start spring cleaning the yard. It was also time to give the hydrangeas another treatment of lime, but I had to get more.
I went to my local hardware store and picked up a few garden supplies. It was there I found out that there are products that take the guesswork out of the hydrangea color equation for you. The label on the package simply says Pink Blossoms or Blue Blossoms. A no-brainer for a visual person like me. No head-spinning chemistry calculations to make.
I bought Espoma Garden Lime to hopefully turn my hydrangeas pink again. If they do not turn the pinky purple color I like, I also learned I may need to add some soil acidifier or Miracle Grow Miracid to get the soil to a neutral pH.
I also learned that Bonide makes fertilizers for each color. Color Me Blue™ acidifies, the soil to the right pH (5.0-5.8) . Color Me Pink™ raises the pH of the soil to the right pH (6.5-7.0) for pink-flowering blooms. A neutral to acidic pH can make these shrubs bloom purple instead of pink – pH (7.0)
I am not exactly sure why, but you can’t buy it in CA, FL, HI, MN, MO, NV, OR, PA, WA .
Using any of these products takes the guesswork out of figuring out what to add for the color you want your blooms.
I also bought a shrub rake. I never even knew these existed. I could have saved myself lots of effort as I used to remove the leaves in tight places by just getting on my hands and knees and digging them out with my hands.
This was the perfect tool to get all the leaves out of the dense base of each plant.
Once I got all the leaves and junk that settled into the bed over the winter I needed a regular size rake to put all the leaves in piles and then bag them up for disposal.
I cleaned up the small debris and then sprinkled the lime around each plant. After the lime is down you need to wet it. I used a garden hose to evenly wet the soil.
I covered the bed with 2 bags of brown mulch. I like using colored mulch as it does not fade to grey as fast.
…now I have to be patient and wait for the shoots to start up the branches. I think the new shoots grow on old wood. You can see a few of the base shoots have started.
They look pretty unattractive right now. The azalea on either side of the front steps are in full bloom, but will be faded in a week. The pink geraniums add color until the hydrangeas start to bloom.
I will keep you posted – I hope they are pink…
…so I can enjoy them inside the house this summer, too.
I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.