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How to Change the Color of Hydrangeas

By Charlotte Harris

Do you have a blue mophead hydrangea that you would like to be pink? Or, do you have a pink hydrangea that you want to turn blue?

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Hydrangea Macrophylla, also known as French Hydrangea, or Mopheads because of their large clusters of flowers, are beautiful and easy to grow, and you can "play with" their colors.

You can change the color of their blossoms by changing the acidity of the soil in which they are growing. The color is actually determined by the availability of the aluminum in the soil to the plant. If the pH is low (pH 5-6, acidic) the blooms will be blue. If the pH is high (pH 6.8-7.2, alkaline) the blooms will be pink. If your hydrangea has both pink and blue flowers at the same time, the soil is at, or near neutral.

So how do you change the pH of the soil?

For pink blooms:

  • Add dolomic lime, 3-8 cups around the base of a large plant
    (less around a small one) 2 or 3 times between the blooming seasons.
  • Or try a bit of superphosphate around the base of the plant.

For blue blooms:

  • Aluminum sulfate, 3 to 4 Tablespoons per gallon of water,
    applied 2 times, 2 weeks apart, 4 to 6 months prior to blooming.
  • You can also add egg shells, coffee grinds, ground-up Orange
    or Grapefruit peels

Be patient. It sometimes takes a year or two to see the results, and you will need to continue the treatment, or the plant will revert back to the color it was.

Have fun with your hydrangeas. The white varieties, such as Peegee, Silver Leaf, and Hills of Snow, DON'T respond to the pH change, they stay white.

About The Author: Charlotte Harris is the author of "Charlotte's Garden", a Monthly Gardening website. For more information about growing Hydrangeas and other flowers visit her site at http://www.charlotteswebb.biz

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May 6, 2009
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