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Do hydrangeas like acid or alkaline soil?

Do hydrangeas like acid or alkaline soil?

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?

In order to change the color of your hydrangeas if you have a big leaf variety like a mop head or lacecap you can use ericaceous compost. Ericaceous compost will make your soil more acidic. Acidic soil produces blue flowers. Not all hydrangeas will produce blue flowers so make sure that you have a big leaf variety, like a mop head or lacecap. In general, white hydrangeas cannot change their colours.

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

Hydrangea macrophylla"Renate Steinger" | Blue Flowered schrubs | Height 20-30cm | Pot Ø 14cm
  • 3 FLOWERING SCHRUBS - The Hydrangea macrophylla is a flowering plant which belongs to the family Hydrangeaceae. It is known for the size of its leaves and the beauty of its flowers and sometimes called hortensia or bigleaf hydrangea.
  • BLUE FLOWER - The "Renate Steinger" provides blue flowers that shine in a garden They bloom all summer long from around June to October. The hydrangea looks festive and blooms spherically. It is therefore also wonderful for a bouquet.
  • CARE - The hydrangea grows best in a moist and humus rich soil. Improve the garden soil by adding compost. Place the plant in a partially shaded place. Water regularly because the hydrangea cannot stand dry periods or soils.
  • WINTERHARDY - The plant is winterproof. The plant can be planted all year round as long as it is not freezing.
  • HIGH QUALITY AND FAST SHIPPING - At Bakker we help you to make your house and garden, terrace and balcony green. For over 70 years, our customers have trusted the excellent quality of our extensive range of plant products. This makes Bakker the number 1 in shipping plants in Europe
Hydrangea macrophylla"Doppio Nuvola" | Pink and Yellow Flowered schrub | Height 10-20cm | Pot Ø 12cm
  • FLOWERING SCHRUBS - The Hydrangea macrophylla is a flowering plant which belongs to the family Hydrangeaceae. It is known for the size of its leaves and the beauty of its flowers and sometimes called hortensia or bigleaf hydrangea.
  • PINK-YELLOW FLOWERS - The "Doppio Nuvola" gives light pink flowered with a small yellow heart. They bloom all summer long from around June to October. The hydrangea looks festive and blooms spherically. It is therefore also wonderful for a bouquet.
  • CARE - The hydrangea grows best in a moist and humus rich soil. Improve the garden soil by adding compost. Place the plant in a partially shaded place. Water regularly because the hydrangea cannot stand dry periods or soils.
  • WINTERHARDY - The plant is winterproof. The plant can be planted all year round as long as it is not freezing.
  • HIGH QUALITY AND FAST SHIPPING - At Bakker we help you to make your house and garden, terrace and balcony green. For over 70 years, our customers have trusted the excellent quality of our extensive range of plant products. This makes Bakker the number 1 in shipping plants in Europe

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-coloured flowers.

Changing the color of your hydrangeas

In order to change the soil for pink blooms you can add powdered garden lime. This should be applied in the fall because it can take several months for the soil to change. Dolomitic limestone is another option as it increases magnesium in the soil.
Adding lime to acidic soil to low the ph and encourage pink flowers
Elixir Gardens ® Garden Lime Granular Soil Conditioner 25kg
  • Here at Elixir Gardens we supply to many professional growers as well as a range of garden centres, nurseries and landscaping businesses.
  • Suitable for all garden soil, however not potting media, fertilisers or manures.
  • Contains calcium carbonate to keep plants healthy and strong. Also contains some magnesium to encourage strong and vibrant leaves.
  • Lime coagulates the tiny clay particles which makes the soil more friable and easy to work. Breaking up heavy clay soil improves drainage.
  • Enables good bacteria to flourish and releases plant foods. Reduces acidity of the soil by increasing the pH level.

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 lime 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.

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.

Garden Tutor Soil pH Test Strips Kit (3.5-9 Range) 100 Tests
  • Calibrated specifically for soil pH testing
  • Fast, accurate results
  • Optimize soil pH to plants specific needs
  • Enough test strips for 100 soil pH tests
  • Includes detailed 16 page full color pH testing handbook with lime and sulfur application charts

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 ericaceous compost.

J. Arthur Bowers Ericaceous Compost, 50 litres
  • Reduced peat compost specially formulated with the correct pH balance for lime-hating plants.

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.

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.

NPK Industries Raw Phosphorus Fertilizers, 2-Ounce
  • Soluble plant supplement that is used for horticultural purposes
  • Contains 61% available phosphate
  • Highest concentration of fully water soluble phosphorus available to the home gardener
Westland Garden Lime Soil Conditioner, 4 kg, Natural
  • Use garden lime to bring the soil in your garden to a more optimum pH level improving soil structure and plant root efficiency
  • This ready to use product provides an immediate change to the pH level of your soil once worked in
  • Monitor your soil pH throughout the growing season to ensure an ideal level is maintained
  • This product can be used all year round to provide soil with calcium to keep plants healthy and strong and magnesium to encourage strong and vibrant leaves
  • Apply 10g per sq.m to reduce soil acidity, for heavy clay soil we recommend upping this to 15g per sq.m

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Image credits – Shutterstock.com

Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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