How To Turn Hydrangeas Different Colors

This traditional favorite is a must-have in any garden, and new cultivars have made hydrangea cultivation simpler than ever.

Generally speaking, blue or lavender-blue hydrangea flowers are produced by acidic soil, which has a pH lower than 6.0. Pinks and reds are encouraged by alkaline soil, which has a pH above 7.0. The blossoms turn purple or bluish-pink at a pH of 6 to 7.

Add aluminum sulfate or garden sulfur to your soil to reduce pH levels. Use ground lime to increase the pH. To ensure that the pH of your soil is within the desired range, retest it according to the instructions on the product you’re using.

Do hydrangeas’ colors alter when coffee grinds are added?

Coffee has always been amazing to me. If not magical, then pretty close. I mean, I’m a writer, and I’m pretty convinced that writers account for at least half of the sales in the coffee industry. But this also means that every day, we throw away tons of used coffee grounds. Although coffee grounds alone are not very harmful to the environment—in fact, I’ll teach you how to use them in your yard in a moment—they do add to the volume of landfills. Coffee, ever the sociable drink, mixes with other trash in foul trash heaps to produce methane, which as we all know is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. So the next time, try something a little different rather than simply throwing the grinds in the trash.

If you just drink one pot of coffee per day, you will have a lot of wonderful, mineral-rich grounds left over after you finish your first pot of the day, which you can use to enhance your garden. We coffee aficionados enjoy the strong coffee fragrance, but insects that harm flowers respond negatively to it. Coffee grounds not only deter ants and snails, but they also stop neighborhood cats from digging in your flowerbeds. Therefore, pile the material high around your preferred plants to ward off slimy, stingy, or fluffy pests.

Use coffee grinds to alter the color of your hydrangeas. The soil around hydrangeas becomes more acidic thanks to coffee grinds. Chemically speaking, the plant can more readily absorb naturally occurring aluminum in the soil as a result of the increased acidity. Pretty blue flower clusters are the result. Coffee grinds let you play with the color to transform pinker blossoms into other shades of blue, or perhaps a shade of purple in between, even if coffee won’t influence the brilliance of the flowers (pale blue flowers will remain pale blue, for example).

Coffee contains nitrogen, which helps plants grow, so give your plants a boost by turning the grinds into a natural fertilizer. Add a quarter cup of coffee grounds to four or five liters of water to make a “tea of coffee grounds.” Pour the liquid over all of your plants the next morning for a nutrient boost after letting it set overnight.

Is it possible to modify the hue of every hydrangea?

A hydrangea’s color can fluctuate drastically, and occasionally, they even display various colors on the same bush. Ulrich Doering/Alamy Stock Photo provided the image.

Only certain hydrangea species, primarily those related to H. macrophylla or H. serrata, can change the color of their flowers. The typical belief is that soil pH and flower color are connected. Although the quantity of aluminum a plant can access in the soil—which is governed by pH and phosphate levels—determines the color, as Michael Dirr describes in his book Hydrangeas for American Gardens.

Unless phosphorus levels are high, a lower pH permits aluminum to be soluble and absorbed by plants, and blue flowers are more common. Aluminum is locked up at a higher pH, and pink flowers are more common. When blossoms first open, shades of cream to green are also visible, and as flowers get older, the tones might alter.

Will hydrangeas’ color be altered by epsom salt?

A: I’ve been considering the idea of using Epsom salts to intensify the blue hue of hydrangeas. I would like to attempt this as I have an old box of Epsom salts, but the term “salt” raised a cautionary signal. What percentage should I use?

A bitter salty spring in Epsom, England, where the water includes magnesium sulfate in solution, is where the name “Epsom salt” originates.

The term “salt” in chemistry simply refers to the outcome of an acid-base reaction. By combining sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid, sodium chloride (table salt) is created. The reaction between sulfuric acid and magnesium metal produces epsom salt.

Some salts, such as salt cod or Virginia ham, are particularly hydrophilic; they dry and preserve the materials they are placed with. Epsom salt does not absorb water from its surroundings since it is already hydrated.

The pH of the soil is left unchanged by the dissociation of the ions in Epsom salt. Since the metal that gives hydrangeas their blue hue is only present in acidic soil, adding Epsom salt won’t modify the color of your blossoms. Two tablespoons of alum (aluminum sulfate), which is acidifying, would have the desired impact on each plant.

Will hydrangeas become blue in vinegar?

In alkaline soil, hydrangea blossoms will be pink; in acidic soil, they will turn blue.

If great French wine is not properly stored, it will turn into vinagre, which we translated into vinegar in English. Vinagre is a combination of the Old French words “vin” (wine) and “aigre” (sour).

There are certain advantages to using vinegar in gardening, especially apple cider vinegar. A few vitamins and minerals are present in apple cider vinegar because it is only fermented apple juice. However, vinegar’s 5% acidity makes it an excellent remedy for any acid-loving plants, including rhododendrons, azaleas, northern bayberries (Myrica pensylvanica), blueberries, and cranberries. Conifers and pecans are two examples of trees that favor acidic soil.

Along with feeding your garden plants, you may use apple cider vinegar on houseplants that prefer acidic soil, such gardenias and camellias. Some houseplants thrive in acidic soil.

You must measure the pH of your soil before fertilizing it or adding any amendments. The soil pH test determines how acidic or alkaline the soil is.

A very acidic pH of 3 corresponds to a very alkaline pH of 10. Seven is regarded as the neutral pH. Your soil’s acidity or alkalinity has an impact on a number of chemical processes, including which nutrients are locked up in the soil and which nutrients are available to your plants.

There are several garden plants that do well in acidic soil, despite the fact that the ideal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.5. It is not surprising that many plants that thrive near pine trees, such as blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons, also prefer acidic soil because pine needles make soil acidic.

The best apple cider vinegar to put on plants is raw, organic apple cider vinegar that hasn’t been filtered. Ensure “with the mother” is written on the label.

The mother is a brown mass that is composed of yeast and bacteria that were left behind during fermentation.

Apple cider vinegar should never be poured directly over plants since it will damage them. Of course, undiluted vinegar will work well if your purpose is to kill plants like weeds in walkways, sidewalks, or driveways.

Use apple cider vinegar diluted with water (20 parts water to 1 part vinegar). Water the plants at the base of them. The vinegar-and-water mixture might burn the leaves, so try to avoid getting it on them.

The ability to transform the color of hydrangea blossoms from pink to blue is another trick apple cider vinegar has up its sleeve. In alkaline soil, hydrangea blossoms will be pink; in acidic soil, they will turn blue.

Give the acid-loving plants a treat by combining apple cider vinegar and water. Or abruptly switch the hue of your hydrangeas from pink to blue. Oh, and what about pearls dissolved in vinegar?

Pearls were dissolved in vinegar and consumed by Cleopatra to display her wealth, likely making the acidic beverage the most expensive beverage ever. Speaking of bittersweet.

Paul Barbano, who lives at Rehoboth Beach, writes about gardening there. You can write to him at PO Box 213 in Lewes, Delaware 19958.

Will hydrangeas’ color be altered by baking soda?

One of the best things about summer is the large, gorgeous hydrangea blooms. (Right up there, in my opinion, with outdoor barbecues, entertaining pool floats, and cool ros!) There are countless varieties to admire, ranging from sky blues, lavenders, and whisper-pale pinks to rich, brilliant fuchsias and intense, purple-blue hues. Whether placed in a vase indoors or as part of the landscape, they instantly improve mood.

You understand what I mean if you’re fortunate enough to have these beauties blossoming in your yard. But did you know that you may alter the blossoms’ color to your preference, even on an existing hydrangea bush that has perpetually bloomed in pink or blue? a magic trick, sort of! But actually, it’s just elementary science: The pH of the soil that hydrangeas are planted in affects the color of its blossoms. Pink flowers grow in alkaline soil, which has a higher pH, whereas blue blooms grow in more acidic soil, which has a lower pH. Alter the pH, alter the hue!

If your soil is alkaline and your hydrangeas are pink instead of blue, you can increase the acidity of the soil by adding aluminum sulfate or a soil-acidifying treatment, both of which can be found at any garden center. The soil can also benefit from the addition of pine needles, compost, and even coffee grounds. If you want your hydrangeas to turn pink instead of blue (which indicates your soil is acidic), do the opposite: Make your soil more alkaline by removing aluminum rather than adding it. Applying garden lime, which is readily available at any garden center, will do this.

If you’re unsure about the type of soil you have, you can conduct a simple, at-home test using purified water, which has a pH of 7, white vinegar, which has an acidic pH, and baking soda, which has an alkaline pH: Just follow these straightforward directions from Garden Therapy. Although it won’t happen immediately, the hue will alter. So have a good summer and happy gardening!

How can I maintain a blue hydrangea?

Although most plants may grow in a variety of soils, others require particular kinds of soil to thrive. Rhododendrons, azaleas, and other ericaceous plants require acidic soils in order to thrive. The soil in your garden must be acidic if they flourish there or in the gardens nearby. Rhododendron leaves turning yellow or disappearing from the area indicate that your soil is likely alkaline. In addition to affecting what you may grow, your soil type can also affect some plants’ leaf and blossom colors; hydrangeas are a well-known example.

Some hydrangea cultivars grow pink or red in alkaline soil and blue or purple in acidic soil. Therefore, if you plant a beautiful blue lacecap or mophead hydrangea in your garden and your soil is neutral to acidic, it will continue to produce blue flowers every year. Even if it was clear blue when you got it, it will flower purple-red or pink if you plant it in alkaline soil the next year.

It is challenging to keep beautiful blue blossoms alive in the open ground, but it is doable if you grow it in a pot; hydrangeas make wonderful topics for pots and containers. Select a pot that is attractive and big, at least 40 cm (15 cm) in diameter. Vitax Ericaceous Compost is the best growing medium for it; plant it there. If you consistently feed your hydrangea, it will thrive on this fertilizer that is specifically made for rhododendrons, azaleas, and other lime-hating plants.

Even though the growing medium begins out being free of lime, repeated watering in places with hard water tends to make it more alkaline. Therefore, add Vitax Hydrangea Colourant, a powder containing aluminum that you may mix with the compost, to ensure that your hydrangea stays truly blue. Each spring, you can also incorporate a small amount into the soil’s top layer and add it to the can when watering your plant.

White hydrangeas, incidentally, don’t change color depending on the type of soil, but they can blush pink in the light.

Feeding and watering

In pots, containers, and during dry spells in the open ground, regular watering is necessary since hydrangeas detest dry environments. When you plant your hydrangea in a bed or border, add lots of garden compost or farmyard manure, and make sure to water well both before and after planting.

The presence of food in the soil is necessary for hydrangeas to grow and produce flowers, even if they are not very demanding plants. In the open ground and in pots and containers, Vitax Conifer and Shrub Fertilizer should be used annually. This is ideal for acid-loving plants and won’t change the hydrangea’s color.

How can hydrangeas be made to turn blue?

The chemistry of the soil, not what is sprayed to the blooms, is what determines how colored hydrangea blossoms turn out to be. The color of the blossoms will increase with soil alkalinity. Some types stay pink at a neutral pH, while others begin to display exquisite lavender hues with undertones of blue. Acidic soils, usually with a pH of 5.5 or less, are ideal for blue hydrangea blooming.

Aluminum sulfate, which is readily accessible at practically any garden center, is the simplest way to acidify your soil and turn those babies blue. In the spring, as soon as the plant starts to grow, saturate the soil around your hydrangeas with a solution of 1/4 oz. aluminum sulfate in a gallon of water. Reapply in 4 weeks and again in 8 weeks because you’ll need to keep that acidity throughout the growing season.

Another, more organic way to increase soil acidity is to add organic materials like coffee grounds, egg shells, or citrus fruit peels. Simply break them up and till the soil with them. It can take a full year of doing this continuously for the changes to occur gradually, resulting in the proper acidity.