Hydrangea planting and care

Hydrangea Care Guide

Following just a few simple growing tips for hydrangea will produce healthy plants with fluffy colorful blooms year after year.

Planting Your Hydrangea

Planting your Hydrangea in early spring or in the fall is ideal. When you are planting a Hydrangea, remember that the blooms and stems must be protected from strong winds and the hot afternoon sun. Avoid planting in open areas where strong winds could break stems. Planting on the eastern side of a building ensures that, in the afternoon, when the sun is at its hottest, your plants are in the shade.
Make sure your plant has good drainage. If the soil is too wet, the roots might rot, and the plant will die. Incorporate a lot of organic matter and an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer into the soil to give your hydrangea a strong start.

General Hydrangea Care

  • If you plant them in the summer, they need a lot more water in the beginning to establish the root system.
  • Most varieties thrive in full sun to part shade, as long as they are planted in moist, rich soil.
  • Water deeply once a week, and maybe more, if the weather is particularly hot or dry.
  • Hydrangea fertilization needs vary greatly, depending on your intended bloom color. Certain elements of the fertilizer affect the soil pH, which is a major determinant of bloom color in the pink/blue Hydrangea varieties.

Pruning Hydrangea

Hydrangeas can live for many years without ever needing to be pruned, but if your shrubs grow out of bounds or lose flowering vigor, then there are some essential pruning guidelines you must follow to ensure bountiful blooms the next year!

Hydrangea macrophylla and H. quercifolia:

These generally bloom on old wood and require little pruning. Prune spent blooms immediately after flowering (midsummer), or remove only dead, damaged or unsightly wood.

Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf, Mophead, or Lacecap Hydrangeas)
These Hydrangeas begin blooming in early to midsummer and can continue until summer’s end, so they set their bloom buds during late summer or early fall. When pruning mopheads, you have two options, and will probably end up doing a combination of both:

  1. Cut back the flowering shoots to the next bud, thus giving the branches a trim that removes the spent blooms without damaging the buds that will bloom next year. Do this right after flowering, but before midsummer.
  2. On older shrubs that have lost flowering vigor, cut up to a third of entire stems at the base in late winter to improve flowering vigor. Ideally, you should cut the oldest stems, leaving younger mature stems that are loaded with buds for next year, but sometimes you have a lopsided or crowded Hydrangea that must be pruned to maintain a pleasing shape. The main purpose of cutting off entire stems is to do away with elderly or poorly flowering parts of the shrub, thus letting in more air and light AND encouraging the growth of healthy new branches.In mild climates that may experience warm spells in winter, be careful of the urge to get out in the garden and start pruning before late winter. If you prune too early, you could encourage dormant buds to break, leaving tender growth susceptible to frost and freeze damage.

Exception: If you have a reblooming variety such as Penny Mac that flowers on new wood as well as old wood, you’ll want to prune a little every year just to keep the new wood coming.

Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)
You can get away without pruning Oakleaf Hydrageas at all, but if you want to keep them well-shaped, cut dead stems back at the base in late winter or early spring.

Hydrangea arborescens and H. paniculata:

These shrubs bloom on new wood and actually produce larger blooms if cut back to the ground in late winter.

Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)
This is one of the easiest Hydrangeas to prune. Because it blooms only on new wood, you can just cut it back to the ground in late winter, before any new buds appear. If you experience some flopping of flowering branches, then leave a framework of old growth to help support the branches by only cutting stems back to 2 feet from the ground.

Hydrangea paniculata (Pee Gee or Panicle Hydrangeas)
Prune this Hydrangea in late winter to keep the plants from becoming overgrown and encourage more new growth, more flower buds, and larger blooms. You can remove dead flowers, as soon as they become unattractive and clean up the overall shape of the plant.

Hydrangea petiolaris:

Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea)
Climbing Hydrangea requires little to no pruning, but if you need to trim it to keep it in bounds, you should prune it just after flowering. Cut back last year’s flower shoots to 1 to 2 inches and pruning out shoots that fail to cling or have pulled away from their support. Remember, Hydrangeas are shade tolerant, but they do require adequate sunlight and irrigation to bloom properly. In northern climates and coastal areas, Hydrangeas will grow beautifully in full sun, but in warmer southern areas, a location in part shade where the shrub receives full to partial morning sun with protection from harsh afternoon sun is ideal.Placed in the right location, given ample moisture, and pruned using the guidelines above, your Hydrangeas will be an abundant source of gorgeous blooms long into the future.

How to Adjust Hydrangea Color

Hydrangeas may produce pink, blue, or lavender blooms, depending on where it’s planted and how it’s fed. The presence of aluminum in the plant ultimately determines the color, and pH affects the uptake of aluminum. Alkaline soils, pH of 6.0 or more, are more likely to produce pink blooms, and more acidic soils, pH 4.5 to 5.5, produce blue flowers.

Pink hydrangeas can be turned blue by applying aluminum sulfate to lower the pH and add aluminum to the soil. Applying lime to raise the pH level will help blue hydrangeas turn pink. If your soil naturally produces very blue or very pink hydrangea flowers, you may need to grow your hydrangeas in containers or raised beds to achieve the desired color. If you do attempt to change the color of your blooms by adding these minerals, dilute them well, and add sparingly. It is very easy to scorch your plants by adding too much. White hydrangeas are not affected by efforts to change bloom color.

Using Hydrangeas for Cut-Flower Arrangements

  • Cut them just as blooms fully develop.
  • Cut your flowers in the early morning, before the sun comes up to evaporate some of their moisture.
  • Cutting at diagonal will allow the stem to take in the most amount of water, some people will even cut slits or fray the ends of the stems a little.
  • Place your freshly cut flowers in a bucket of cool water to soak for an hour or two before arranging your final product.
  • Use a commercial floral preservative to get the best results. This will feed your flowers, maintain a constant pH, and will serve as an anti-microbial to prevent premature decay. You should be able to find this at a local nursery.
  • Keep in mind that many gardeners and florists complain that hydrangeas wilt faster than other cut flowers and may require a little extra planning.
  • Keep it out of drafty areas and direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from drying. Finally, you can just sit back and admire your new décor or enjoy your special moment.

To download this How-To for yourself, with complete information, please follow this link. Because the file is in PDF format, you will require the Adobe Reader to be able to view it. We hope that you will enjoy this guide and refer to it for years to come.

How to Care for Hydrangeas to Get the Most Beautiful Blooms on the Block

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Hydrangeas may be just about everywhere, but these pretty flowers take a little bit of care to grow into the big blooms you know and love. Whether they’re in a vase, a bouquet, blooming in the backyard, or flourishing anywhere thanks to a little container gardening magic, these beautiful, lush blooms are classic. As with any flower, though, hydrangea care is so important—these flowers certainly need their fair share of TLC.

Learning how to take care of hydrangeas isn’t difficult, though. These hydrangea care guidelines came straight from the pros, and they’ll help you care for your blooms in a vase, potted, in the ground, or wherever else they take root. Pick up some trusty gardening tools and get ready to get your hands dirty—your hydrangeas will thank you.

How to Care for Hydrangeas in Vases

1. Examine the Blooms

When you’re choosing your hydrangeas at the store, look for healthy, bright green leaves with bouncy blooms. “Check for any browning spots on the petals, which would indicate sun damage,” says Callie Bladow, production director at BloomThat. “Also, due to cold storage of cut flowers, keep an eye on dark petals which could indicate the blooms have touched the side of a refrigerator. You want a flowering hydrangea that feels sturdy and not soft or spongy.” If you choose a healthy bouquet, it should last up to two weeks.

2. Use Your Garden

If you’re lucky to have garden hydrangeas, it’s easy to bring them indoors for a beautiful arrangement. Using a sharp floral knife or clean kitchen shears, cut them on a bias (a 45-degree angle) and place them in a bowl of lukewarm water while you’re working outside. “The best time of the day to cut your hydrangea blooms is in the morning,” Bladow says. “Choose the most mature and full-looking blooms and leave the others to keep blooming. Fully-bloomed hydrangeas will look more ‘papery’ than the young-budded blooms.”

3. Prep Them

Hydrangeas produce a sap at the bottom of the stems that needs to be sealed off so they can soak up water. “After you cut the stem on a bias, dip the stem in alum powder, which is an onion powder that you can pick up at your local grocery store in the spice aisle,” Bladow says. “All it takes is a simple dip of the bottom of the stem, and then straight into the vase.” If you don’t have alum powder, you can dip the stem in boiling water for about 10 seconds, which will produce the same effect. You’ll also want to remove the leaves from the stem, since they’ll hog all the water in the vase.

4. Get Creative With Arranging

You can go with a classic all-hydrangea flower arrangement, or experiment with mixing in different flowers or using unique vases. “I love using glass apothecary jars that have larger bases and small vase necks,” Bladow says. “The other way that we love designing with hydrangeas is to use them as grids for other flowers. There are multiple stems on the hydrangea head that keep other flowers secure, so just stick them into the flower head.” You can arrange with all types of flowers—she recommends roses, dahlias, and freesia, with some greenery like lemon leaf or variegated pittosporum.
5. Provide Some TLC

“Hydrangeas like cool water and it should be changed every other day with a fresh snip of the stems,” Bladow says. “You can use the boiling water trick again after you cut them to increase vase life, or add in a little flower food or simple cane sugar from your pantry in the vase.” Make sure to keep your arrangement out of direct sunlight. And if your flowers are looking sad, Bladow suggests soaking the entire hydrangea in cool water for about 45 minutes. Shake them off, cut the bottom of the stem, and place them in water with flower food. It might help revive your hydrangeas and increase their shelf life.

How to Take Care of Hydrangeas That Are in the Ground

1. Know When to Plant Them

“The best time to plant hydrangeas is when temperatures are mild in spring and fall,” says Ryan McEnaney, a spokesperson for Endless Summer Hydrangeas. “In spring, wait until you’ve passed your final frost and the ground is thawed enough to dig easily. In fall, be sure not to wait until late, when a frost could damage the plant.” If you want to plant in the summer, avoid doing so on very hot and bright days. These blooms are at their peak in mid-summer through fall.

2. Choose the Right Location

Hydrangeas grow best in partial shade areas. “Make sure that there is enough space for the hydrangea to grow into, that the soil is amended as needed, and that there is the proper amount of sunlight,” McEnaney says. He recommends placing the hydrangeas in an area that gets about five to six hours of morning sun, followed by dappled (or patchy) shade. If you live in warmer regions, plant where the blooms can get two to three hours of morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon.

3. Plant Carefully

“Dig a hole slightly larger than the pot your hydrangea came in, keeping in mind that you want to leave enough space in the garden for the hydrangea to mature to its full size,” McEnaney says. “Add a small amount of high-phosphorus fertilizer to the bottom of the hole, then remove the plant from its container and slightly loosen the roots with your fingers. Place the plant in the hole, making sure that the crown of the plant (where the base of the stem meets the soil) is even with the ground level.” After you put the hydrangeas in the ground, cover with soil and water. Hydrangeas prefer loamy (mixture of sand and silt with a bit of clay) and moist soil, so make sure you frequently check it in the beginning to ensure that it isn’t dry or soaking wet.

4. Opt for a Shrub, Instead of Seeds

It’s okay to cheat and buy a shrub from your local gardening center, instead of trying to grow your hydrangeas from a seed—especially since seeds are hard to come by. “If you’re able to obtain seeds, you must sow or scatter the seeds in the soil, taking extra care until they’re germinated,” McEnaney says. “To get the same size shrub as you would in your local garden center, it could take 2-3 years.”

5. Don’t Forget to Water Them

These flowers love water—so you’ll want to keep them hydrated. “One common misconception, though, is that they need constant water,” McEnaney says. “You want to ensure that the soil is moist, but not wet. Overwatering can actually cause the plant to grow without flowers. It’s better to give it a heavy soaking once a day (or whenever the soil needs it), preferably in the morning or early afternoon, than various applications of less water.” To find out if you need to water the plant, stick your fingers into the soil about an inch or two deep to see if it feels dry or wet.

6. Give Them Some Extra TLC During Winter

Along with pruning dead stems and blooms, you’ll want to protect your hydrangeas during the winter. “Add an extra layer of mulch, leaves, or pine straw up to six to eight inches high to provide tender buds protection from drastic temperature changes, cold nights, and high winter winds,” McEnaney says. “It’s sometimes helpful for younger plants to add a cage to add more protection—and keep the bunnies out.”

Potted Hydrangea Care

1. Choose the Right Pot

“Make sure that the bottom of your container has holes to allow excess water to flow though,” McEnaney says. “If there’s no drainage and too much water collects around the roots, it can prevent blooms from developing and cause the leaves to wilt.” For pot size, it ultimately depends on how many hydrangeas you want to plant inside and if you want to use any other kinds of flowers. With larger containers, because they hold more soil and more water, you won’t have to water them as frequently.

2. Plant

When it comes to the planting process, it’s similar to what you would do with in-ground hydrangeas, but you’ll use pre-mixed, bagged potting soil. “Fill the decorative container with potting soil, leaving roughly eight inches open on top,” McEnaney says. “Place the hydrangea in the center of the container and fill with soil.” Leave one inch of space between the soil and top of the container so nothing will overflow when you water the plant. If you have a larger container, you can also mix in other flowers for a colorful look—check out some container gardening ideas for inspiration.

3. Don’t Forget to Water

Like in-ground hydrangeas, the ones in planters need a lot of water. To determine if your flowers need water, you can use the same method of sticking your fingers in the soil to gauge dryness. McEnaney says container hydrangeas might need more water since they’re not established in the ground and have less soil to soak up the water.

Easy Does It: Best Hydrangeas for Beginners to Grow

Find out even more about hydrangea care in our Complete Hydrangea Guide!

Oakleaf varieties are the easiest type of hydrangeas for beginners to grow.

Why are oakleaf hydrangeas so easy? They aren’t picky! Oakleaf hydrangeas can tolerate colder weather, handle more sun, withstand drought, are more disease/pest resistant and grow in sandy soil better than other hydrangeas.

The catch? All oakleaf hydrangea varieties are white.

Here are the best hydrangeas for beginners to grow.

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Alice Hydrangea – Big, strong and beautiful! Alice was dubbed the most robust and trouble-free hydrangea by the University of Georgia. Be warned, Alice is a big gal and can grow to be 15’ tall with a 15’ spread.

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-partial sun

Size: 5-15’ H x 5-15’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: June-July. Giant, cone-shaped blooms that smell great and fade to pink

Features:

  • Native
  • Beautiful burgundy and bronze fall foliage
  • Somewhat deer resistant.

Soil: Not picky about soil type or soil pH

Photo courtesy of Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Snowflake Hydrangea – Enjoy the beauty of snowflakes in the middle of summer. Snowflake hydrangeas have the longest bloom time of any oakleaf hydrangea. Plus, its double blossoms make it really stand out! It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular hydrangeas.

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Partial sun. Can adapt to full-sun if watered often

Size: 5-10’ H x 5-10’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: June-late summer. Stark white, double blossom blooms that look like snowflakes and fade to pink then brown

Features:

  • Fast growing
  • Native
  • Double blossom
  • Intense maroon fall foliage

Soil: Rich, moist soil

Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Ruby Slippers Hydrangea – Tiny but mighty! Growing no taller than 4’, this compact hydrangea explodes with 9” flower blooms. And those blooms can last up to two months. If you think you don’t have room for a hydrangea, think again. Ruby Slippers will fit in even the smallest garden!

Hydrangea Type: Oakleaf

Shrub Type: Deciduous

Light: Full-part sun

Size: 3-5’ H x 4-5’ W

Zone: 5-9

Blooms: Early-mid-summer. Gigantic white blooms that quickly transform into a rosy color

Features:

  • Compact
  • Long-lasting, pink blooms
  • Thrives in heat, drought and poor soil
  • Striking crimson fall foliage that stays on through early winter

Soil: Well-drained soil

Once established, fertilize your oakleaf hydrangea with Espoma’s Plant-tone every spring.

Hydrangea Care: 5 Things You Didn’t Know (But Should)

1. THERE’S A GARDENING HINT IN THE NAME

For a planted shrub, the soil should be moist –- not wet, or this can stunt the hydrangea’s growth — about 8 to 10 inches deep. Do a manual test with your finger. A bouquet of cut blooms can be easily rehydrated if you float them in a sink or tub filled with cold water for three to four hours. It also helps to refresh your hydrangeas this way every few days to make them last longer in a vase.

2. YOU CAN THANK THIS WOMAN FOR YOUR LOVE OF THEM.

Harriet Kirkpatrick is the woman who allegedly discovered Hydrangea arborescens (the “Annabelle”) and shared their beauty among her community. According to local legend, Harriet was horseback riding out in the woods of Union County, Illinois, when she came across a hydrangea bush in full bloom. She was immediately enamored with these flowers reminiscent of fluffy, white snowballs.

Excitedly, she told her sister Amy about the discovery and they returned to the secluded spot to transplant them into their garden. The Kirkpatrick family, of the famous Anna Pottery, shared them with family and friends. Word spread, popularity grew, and soon hydrangeas were blooming all over town.

Now, more than a century later, the name Annabelle honors the two “belles” from the town of Anna who discovered it. And to the joy of local hydrangea lovers and horticulturalists, the town mayor officially declared the second Saturday of June as Annabelle Hydrangea Day.

Image zoom H. macrophylla ‘Izu-nohana,’ is a Japanese lacecap, which features striking pointed summer blooms with double petals in pink to blue, depending on soil acidity. ANDREA JONES

3. YOU CAN CHANGE THEIR COLOR.

The secret is in the soil, or more specifically, the soil’s pH level. Adjusting the measure of acidity or alkalinity in the soil can influence the color of your hydrangea blossoms. Acidic soils (pH 0 to 7) tend to deepen blue shades, while alkaline environments (pH 7 to 14) tend to brighten pinks.

If you want to try it for yourself, you can check the pH of your soil with a simple test kit available from your local nursery. You can adjust the soil’s pH at the time of planting (increase the acidity by adding peat moss and sulfur, or increase the alkalinity by adding lime). The colors won’t change overnight, but when they do, it’s like magic.

4. PRUNE, BUT ONLY PRUDENTLY.

It is true for many species (of the 70-plus varieties that exist) that hydrangeas produce their big, clustered blooms from the tips of shoots that were pruned in the previous season. But not all species make the cut, so to speak. To know whether or not your hydrangeas need pruning, first determine the species and whether it blooms on new or old wood. If your hydrangea blooms on old wood (stems cut during the previous season), the shrub should be pruned immediately after the flowers fade, or expect a bloomless next season. If your hydrangea blooms on new wood (stems cut during the current season), the shrub should be pruned later, prior to the new growth.

Species H. arborescens and H. paniculata both bloom on new wood. Conversely, species like H. macrophylla and H. serrate bloom on old wood. And then there are “reblooming” hydrangeas like H. macrophylla cultivars flower on both old and new growth, so no timed pruning is required. If you’re unsure, ask your local gardening supply store for the proper pruning of your hydrangea.

5. BOILING WATER IS A SECRET FOR REVIVING CUT HYDRANGEAS.

To prevent your cut blooms from wilting prematurely, try this tip: Cut them early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and place the ends of each stem in boiling water for 30 seconds, making sure that the steam does not burn the flower head. Then, plunge the cuttings up to the flower head in cold water. Drape paper towels across the tops of the blossoms to cover them completely. Tuck paper towels down into the container (don’t squash the flowers), and mist. Do not allow the paper towels to dry out. In four hours, your hydrangeas will be fully conditioned and ready for arranging.

Read All About Hydrangeas

  • By Alexandra Churchill

Caring For Your Hydrangea Plants

Hydrangea Plant Care:

Hydrangeas are popularly seen in many gardens, grown as shrubs, and now showing a rise in popularity among floral designers. After receiving potted hydrangeas from a local florist, there are a few excellent hydrangea plant care tips that can maintain the health and vibrancy of your plant until time to transplant your hydrangeas. Before transplanting your hydrangeas, check hardiness and zone compatibility as these may cause your plant to prefer remaining a houseplant.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Light Requirements

Hydrangeas thrive as garden plants and shrubs so house them in areas exposed to full sun or partial shade. However, protect your hydrangea plants from cool, drying winds which could quickly reduce the amount of moisture in the soil.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Water Requirements

Hydrangeas absorb water quickly. Keep the soil of hydrangea plants evenly moist and well drained, though this can take watering your plants possibly more than once per day. Hydrangeas grown outdoors as shrubs and garden plants do not need as much attention to watering. However, grow hydrangeas in areas with partial shade and away from drying winds to facilitate moisture retention. Do not keep the sepals (showy part) of hydrangeas moist as this can quickly lead to Botrytis (gray mold) in many species.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Fertilizer Requirements

Standard potting soil is excellent for hydrangeas. However, the color of hydrangeas is determined by the acidity (pH level) of the soil. A large presence of aluminum ions in the soil produces blue hydrangeas. A soil level of 6.0 and above produces pink hydrangeas. The pH levels of soil do not affect white hydrangeas. Non-alkaline food such as rhododendron fertilizer should be applied once weekly during the growing season to maintain color while providing adequate nutrition.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Pests and Diseases

Hydrangea plants and flowers can be affected by several pests and pathogen (fungal and bacterial) infections. The most common pathogen infection in hydrangeas is Botrytis (gray mold) which is caused by a mild ethylene sensitivity or excessive moisture near the blooms. Powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust and ringspot virus may also affect hydrangeas. Pest problems that hydrangea plants may experience include infestation from slugs and other garden bugs.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Propagation and Potting

When propagating hydrangeas, root softwood cuttings in early summer or hardwood cuttings in the winter. Root semi hardwood cuttings of non-flowering shoots of evergreens with bottom heat during the summer. In the spring, sow seeds in containers in a cold frame. Pot on your hydrangea houseplants in the late spring or early summer before the growing season. Always allow the plant to adjust to the new soil and container before continuing fertilization and heavy watering treatments.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Pruning

Hydrangeas are a pruning class IV which includes other deciduous shrubs flowering in mid or late summer to autumn on the previous year’s growth. Hydrangea macrophylla produce new blooms on the current season’s wood. Because of this, damage from cold or incorrect pruning is not as likely to cause a loss of flowers.

Pruning hydrangeas should occur in the early or mid spring, just before the growing season. To prune hydrangea plants, trim off the flower heads that were produced during the last season’s growth. Trim these flower heads to the first bud or bud pair beneath the flower head. For older plants, encourage replacement growth by trimming one-third to one-quarter of older shoots, trimming each to the base of the plant.

Hydrangea Plant Care: Interesting Facts

Hydrangeas are listed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a toxic/poisonous plant to cats and dogs. Hydrangeas contain the toxin cyanogenic glycoside which may lead to vomiting, depression, anorexia, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and increased body temperature in your animal.

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

First, get a handful of dirt. It only takes a small amount of soil to test the pH level. (Bonus points if you know what “pH level” refers to; I looked it up and learned that “pH” stands for “potential of hydrogen” or, in layman’s terms, the concentration of hydrogen ions in soil. The higher the concentration, the more alkaline your soil. In retrospect, I’m not sure I needed to know this, but thanks anyway Internet.)

What is used to test soil pH?

Next, place the soil sample in a container. Pour distilled white vinegar over it. If the solution fizzes, the pH level is high and your soil is alkaline. (If it doesn’t fizz, then the soil is neutral or acidic; you will not have to amend it as much to made your hydrangeas blue.)

How do you change soil pH for hydrangeas?

Add organic materials to your soil to make it more acidic. Coffee grounds are good. So is ground-up citrus peel. Work the mixture into the soil around the base of your hydrangea plant, and then water it in.

How often should you do this? Save your peels and your grounds in a little bowl on the countertop and whenever the bowl is full, take it outdoors to feed the hydrangeas.

The acidity of the of the soil will slowly increase; by next year, your hydrangeas should look a lot more blue.

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Lowering Soil pH with Coffee Grounds

Crushed egg shells will also increase the acidity of the soil. Work them into the ground along with citrus peel and coffee grounds.

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

As they decompose, the organic materials will add aluminum to the soil (making it more acidic). You can also add diluted Aluminum Sulfate to increase the acidity level, a 4-pound box is $16.18 from Amazon.

Above: Photography by Nathan Fried Lipski of Nate Photography.

Can hydrangeas turn too blue? I suppose it’s possible you’d prefer pink. If so, you can make your soil more alkaline by adding Garden Lime; a 6.75-pound bag is $9.95 from Gardener’s Supply.

For more hydrangea inspiration, see:

  • Hydrangea: A Field Guide
  • Everything You Need to Know About Hydrangeas
  • A Master Class in Pruning Hydrangeas from White Flower Farm

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