Something about hydrangeas are so full of life. They seem equally at home in memories of your grandmother’s garden and rustic-chic centerpieces decorating May garden parties. Hydrangeas evoke the timeless, classic charm of life in the South. Unfortunately, their finicky petals make many gardeners overlook them for “what you see is what you get” blooms.

The good news is it’s easy to change the color of your hydrangeas. All you need is a pH test and the right soil supplement.

How to Change the Color of Hydrangeas

pink and blue hydrangeasUnlike many plant varieties, the color of hydrangeas has nothing to do with genetics. Unless you go for an unusual breed (white hydrangeas will always be white hydrangeas, unless you decide to pull a Queen of Hearts and paint them), the color of your hydrangea blooms depends solely on the pH of your soil. Want to know if your hydrangeas will be blue, pink, or purple hued? Buy a basic home soil kit and test the acidity of your soil. Don’t like what you see? Lime and wood ash decrease the acidity of soil while sphagnum peat and elemental sulfur make alkaline soil more acidic.

A Quick Guide to Hydrangea Color

  • Hydrangeas bloom blue in acidic soil (pH below 6)
  • Pink or red hydrangeas grow in alkaline soil (pH above 7)
  • Neutral soil (pH of 6 or 7) strikes a healthy balance, giving hydrangeas purple petals or blue and pink blooms on the same bush
  • French hydrangeas are sensitive to pH changes in the soil, while varieties like Ami Pasquier hydrangeas require highly acidic soil to relinquish their crimson hue.

Ready for a little choose-your-own-adventure gardening? Stop by Autumn Hill Nursery to buy fresh hydrangeas and other plants from our garden center.

photo from flickr

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