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How to Get the Hydrangea Flower Color You Want in Your Garden

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Copyright 2011 Joan Harrison

Hydrangeas have the unique tendency to change flower color depending on the pH of the soil in which they are planted. The home gardener will have good luck achieving the color desired if these steps are followed.

Select a variety that is likely to produce the flower colors you desire. If you want blue flowers, for instance, choose varieties known to produce shades of blue, and not purple.

Plant the hydrangea in a location where it will get several hours of sunlight every day. Morning sun is better than afternoon sun which is stronger and can fade the flowers more quickly. Hydrangeas planted in deep shade will produce few, if any, flowers.

Amend the soil, if needed, to achieve the desired color. If you want blue flowers you need an acidic soil. If you already have blue hydrangeas in your garden, this is a sign that your soil is already acidic and no amendments are necessary. If blue hydrangeas predominate in your neighborhood, you probably have acidic soil. But if most of your neighbors have pink flowers on their hydrangeas your soil is probably alkaline and needs to be amended. Add aluminum sulfate, following package directions, to make your soil more acidic.

For pink flowers, add lime to the soil if needed. If most of your neighbors have blue hydrangea flowers, you probably have an acidic soil and need to add lime for pink flowers.

Add the soil amendments, in controlled amounts according to package directions, every spring to control the flower color for that growing season.

White hydrangeas will always stay white; you can't change them to blue or pink by adding soil amendments. They may fade to pinkish colors but that happens naturally.

NOTE: Too much of the soil amendments can be toxic. Make sure you follow the package directions.

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Copyright 2011 Joan Harrison