Hydrangeas are among the most popular of garden plants and also some of the most confusing. What color will the flowers be? How can I change colors? How can I use them for arrangements?
The first step in answering these questions is to determine what sort of hydrangea you have. Cone-shaped blooms occur on hardy hydrangeas. Brightly colored mophead (round) or lacecap (flat) flowers are usually bigleaf hydrangeas, although mountain hydrangeas also produce lacecap blooms. Bigleaf hydrangeas will have thicker, glossier foliage.
Only bigleaf and mountain hydrangea blooms are affected by soil pH, which affects the bloom color. The flowers of other hydrangeas will not change color. Blue flowers appear in more acidic soils, where aluminum is more available to the plant. In more basic soils, where aluminum is less available, the flowers will be pinker. Blooms can range from deep blue to purple to hot pink, with different varieties having a tendency to be either pinker or bluer. You can adjust the color of the blooms by adding aluminum sulfate to the soil for more blue flowers and lime to soils to encourage pink blooms. It may take a couple of seasons to see the desired color.
Many gardeners like to enjoy their hydrangeas year-round by cutting and drying them for arrangements. This is easy to do. First, cut the flowers when they are slightly past their peak. Next, place them in a vase and allow them to dry while in water. Drying them in water helps them to hold their shape and color as they dry.
Types of Hydrangeas:
How to Care for Hydrangeas:
Caring for Hydrangeas is relatively simple. When planting choose a spot that receives dappled sun to shade. These plants like moist, but not wet, soil so they will need to be watered regularly, especially as the temperature starts to rise. They are deciduous plants, which means in the winter time the foliage will turn brown after the first hard freeze. Simply strip the dead foliage off and leave the plant alone. You will see new buds forming in mid to late spring. You can use aluminum sulfate, coffee grinds, pine straw or Miracid to acidify the soil if your desired color of the bloom is lavender or blue. Leave the soil alone if you want it to be pink.