Hydrangea Magic: Changing Bloom Colors

by Amanda

blue and pink hydrangea bloomsblue and pink hydrangea blooms

Hydrangeas: Color-changing Magic?

A common question we get from gardeners each year is: "Why are my blue Hydrangeas pink, or, Why are my pink Hydrangeas blue?" The answer is really quite simple (and no, it's not magic). The color of your Hydrangea blooms are directly linked to the PH levels of your soil.

Knowing this important information means you can easily (well, somewhat easily) change the color of your Hydrangea blooms! Alkaline soil produces pink blooms and acidic soil produces blue blooms. The first step in determining the PH of your soil is to do a soil PH test to determine the acidity of your soil.

Blue to Pink:

A test result below 7 means that your soil is acidic (blue blooms). To raise the PH of your soil (to turn blooms pink), try adding limestone – most packages will tell you how much to add to increase your PH to the correct levels.You can also try using a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus in it. This helps keep the aluminum in your soil from entering the root system of your plant. If you can't seem to lower the acidity in your garden beds, consider planting in pots.

colorful hydrangea bouquetcolorful hydrangea bouquet
blue hydrangeablue hydrangea
pink and white hydrangeapink and white hydrangea

Pink to Blue:

A test result above 7 means that your soil is alkaline (pink blooms). To lower the pH of your soil (to turn blooms blue), you can add things such as sulfur, compost, pine needles, or pine bark. This will help to add some acidity to your soil. You can also try an organic fertilizer that is low in Phosphorus and high in Potassium.

  1. Pink Sunset Hydrangea with bright bubblegum pink blooms, and rich green foliage

    Pink Sunset™ Hydrangea produces an abundance of intense pink blooms for months of summer color. Mophead blooms open pale pink, and darken to a vibrant bubblegum pink color. Flower ...

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    Pink Sunset™ Hydrangea Pink Sunset™ Hydrangea PP#28,907 Hydrangea Pink Sunset™ PP#28,907
    $34.98 Sale $26.24
    Per Plant - 3.5" Pot
    Pink Sunset™ Hydrangea produces an abundance of intense pink blooms for months of summer color. Mophead blooms open pale pink, and darken to a vibrant bubblegum pink color. Flower coloration can vary with soil pH: alkaline soil is required for rich pink hues - acidic soils will produce clear blue flowers. A delightful compact habit is excellent for large containers, centerpieces, or patio plants. In the garden, a sturdy structure and strong root system produce vigorous plants and support oversized blooms. (Hydrangea macrophylla)
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  2. Mophead Hydrangea Everlasting Revolution PP22,260, Hydrangea macrophylla

    Everlasting® 'Revolution' Mophead Hydrangea delivers a medley of colorfully blended blooms to the summer garden. Expect to see varying shades of pink, purple and blue (depending on ...

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    Everlasting® Revolution Hydrangea Everlasting® Revolution Mophead Hydrangea Hydrangea macrophylla Everlasting® Revolution
    $29.98 Sale $19.49
    Per Plant - 3.5" Pot
    Everlasting® 'Revolution' Mophead Hydrangea delivers a medley of colorfully blended blooms to the summer garden. Expect to see varying shades of pink, purple and blue (depending on your soil type) flowerheads on this compact shrub, all highlighted with bright green accents. 'Revolution' is a heavy bloomer that was bred to produce extra-sturdy stems, making it an excellent choice for cut flowers. Container friendly. (Hydrangea macrophylla)
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  3. Hydrangea, Oak Leaf Hydrangea Ruby Slippers

    'Ruby Slippers' Oak Leaf Hydrangea delivers oversized, cone-shaped blooms that arrive in light pink and deepen to a reddish-magenta as they age. A compact shrub, 'Ruby Slippers' is a...

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    Ruby Slippers Oak Leaf Hydrangea Oak Leaf Hydrangea Ruby Slippers Hydrangea quercifolia Ruby Slippers
    $29.98 Sale $22.49
    Per Plant - 3.5" Pot
    'Ruby Slippers' Oak Leaf Hydrangea delivers oversized, cone-shaped blooms that arrive in light pink and deepen to a reddish-magenta as they age. A compact shrub, 'Ruby Slippers' is a fine choice for small spaces and planting in containers, or training into a low hedge. Its lobed, oak-like leaves change to burgundy as fall appoaches, bringing another layer of vibrant color to the landscape. (Hydrangea quercifolia)
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  4. White Climbine Hydrangea Vine, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

    Climbing Hydrangea Vine pairs the blooms of white lacecap hydrangeas with the vertical coverage of a foliage-rich vine. Unlike other climbers, this flowering vine also produces horiz...

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    Climbing Hydrangea Vine Climbing Hydrangea Vine Hydrangea anomala petiolaris
    $25.98 Sale $22.09
    Per Plant - 4" Pot
    Climbing Hydrangea Vine pairs the blooms of white lacecap hydrangeas with the vertical coverage of a foliage-rich vine. Unlike other climbers, this flowering vine also produces horizontal branches that showcase even more blooms and a thicker cover of glossy green leaves. Cinnamon-red bark is shaggy and textured, providing winter interest. A bit slow to start, but expect a growth spurt once established. (Hydrangea Anomala Petiolaris)
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The best success rate comes from gardeners who grow their Hydrangeas in containers, which allows for them to completely control the acidity of the soil with no outside factors.

Also note that it is easier to change a pink Hydrangea to blue than blue to pink. Other colors of Hydrangea cannot change colors with soil acidity.

What experience do you have changing the colors of your Hydrangeas? Please post in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.

Happy Gardening!

Interested in learning more about Hydrangeas?

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