Do hydrangeas like acid or alkaline soil?

Do hydrangeas like acid or alkaline soil?

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You may have heard a bit about how you can change the color of your hydrangea flowers based on changing the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Effectively this is very true. To that end, hydrangeas like both acid and alkaline soil.

Are hydrangeas acid loving plants?

Not necessarily however they will thrive just fine in acidic soil. It’s difficult to say that they absolutely love it but there are very flexible and easy to cultivate shrub which will grow just as well in highly acidic soil or highly alkaline soil.

Do hydrangeas like acid soil?

Many hydrangeas do like acid soil and in fact with a highly acidic soil you will get a specific color of blooms if you have planted varieties like mop heads and Lace caps.

Not every hydrangea naturally produces blue flowers or pink flowers. There are some hydrangeas which produce white flowers or cream-colored flowers and these will never change in color. However, the bigleaf hydrangeas like the mop heads and the lace caps have colorful flowers that range from pink hues all the way through blue hues even upwards of purple. The color of the flower is based upon the chemistry of the soil which means that alkaline soil produces pinker colored flowers while acidic soil produces blue colored flowers.

Changing the color of your hydrangeas

In order to change the color of the hydrangea flowers you have to change the soil mineral content as well as pH level and it’s not something that you do just one time. If you want to keep your flowers blooming pink you may have to keep applying features to the soil throughout the growing season.

Growing in pots

If you truly want to control the color of your hydrangea blooms it is recommended that you plant the hydrangea bushes in pots because it will be significantly easier for you to control the soil chemistry with a smaller amount of soil which you will get if you are growing in a large pot.

To do this you start by testing the soil pH levels with an at-home test kit. These are kits that you can use regularly so you can start to slowly but surely change the soil pH. It’s going to be difficult on your plant if you do it drastically so incremental changes are recommended.

Growing blue hydrangeas

In order to cultivate blue colored flowers in your hydrangea your plant needs to have a pH level between 5.2 and 5.5. The higher the alkalinity love your soil, the more soil acidifier you will need to add to lower the pH. You can use a regular soil acidifier that you purchased at a nursery or garden store for faster results. You can slowly alter the pH with acidic organic mulch like pine bark or pine needles if you have it or even ericacuos compost.

Growing pink hydrangeas

If you want pink blooms you want to deprive the soil of aluminum by maintaining a highly alkaline soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.2. To achieve this you can apply high phosphorus fertilizers and that will stop your hydrangea or at the very least inhibit it from absorbing the aluminum. If you want to do it naturally and much more slowly you can apply garden lime regularly.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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