Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Hydrangea Plant

I have a beautiful hydrangea plant in my yard.

It used to be blue.

Now it’s pink.

I know it’s not my imagination because when I bought it, I remember thinking that it was the most beautiful shade of blue ever.  So I decided to figure out why and how the color of the flower could change once planted.

Architect suggested I research why and write this post because I was complaining about lamenting the color change....perhaps to shut me up.

I am not a horticulturalist so following my extensive Internet research I found that the color of a hydrangea is determined by the pH level in the dirt and by adjusting the pH (potential Hydrogen) acid/alkaline balance you can turn your budded beauty into a chameleon.  

I read that it is much easier to change a hydrangea from pink to blue than it is to change it from blue to pink so I guess I am lucky in that regard!  A blue hydrangea means the soil contains aluminum and it is easier to add aluminum than to extract it!  

To change the color of your hydrangea to BLUE make a mixture of water (1 gallon) and aluminum sulfate (1 tablespoon) and feed to the plant.  In order for this to work, the pH in the soil must be low.  To check the acidity, scoop some soil into a container. Then, add a half-cup of vinegar. If the soil bubbles or fizzes, it has high acidity…thank you!

Apparently burying steel wool under your blue hydrangeas will make the blue more vivid.  Who knew, but I guess that makes sense.

To change the color of your hydrangea to PINK adjust the amount of aluminum in the soil by adding dolomitic lime (limestone that is partially calcium magnesium carbonate) several times a year or fertilize with phosphorus to keep aluminum away from the hydrangea.

Both aluminum sulfate and dolomitic lime are available at your local garden center.

Does Home Depot count as a garden center?

To change the color of a white hydrangea….well, you can’t change the color of a white hydrangea.  Sometimes a hint of green or pink will peek through but that’s because it’s what the plant wants to do.  Nature rules.

And the root of hydrangea – hydra – indicates that the plant requires a lot of water to maintain its vibrant petals!

Your hydrangea should be at least 3 years old before attempting any color modification.  BTW…these are not abracadabra alterations… just as when a woman changes her hair color, to maintain the hydrangea color of choice, you must continue the regimen several times per year.

Maybe we should just be happy with the color we have.  Of the hydrangea, I mean.

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