Changing The Color Of Your Hydrangea Flowers Changing The Color Of Your Hydrangea Flowers
Hydrangea flowers are produced by the Hydrangea genus of flowering plants, which are native to South-East Asia. These flowers are notable for the color changes they produce, depending on soil composition and pH level. However, it is important to note that all hydrangea flowers do not change color. Most of the species of hydrangea plants produce white flowers, which are unaffected by the acidity or alkalinity of the soil in which they grow.
Step 1: Select a Suitable Species of Hydrangea
Hydrangea flowers will only change color if they are pink or blue to start with. It is also a good idea to talk to the staff at the nursery or garden center, and confirm that the flowers will change color according to the soil pH.
Step 2: Test the Soil pH
Use a test kit to determine the natural pH of the soil in your backyard. In areas with alkaline soil, hydrangeas tend to be pink in color. If the pH is lower, hydrangeas are generally blue. The presence of aluminum in the soil, and its absorption by the plant are the deciding factors in the color changes produced by hydrangeas. It is easiest to cultivate hydrangeas in pots or containers, so that you can manipulate the pH and control the aluminum level in the soil.
Step 3: Change Hydrangeas to Pink
Hydrangeas produce pink blooms if they do not absorb aluminum from the soil. To reduce the aluminum intake of the plant, the soil pH must be increased. You can do this by planting the hydrangeas close to concrete structures, which will secrete lime on a regular basis. Alternately, you can add dolomite lime to the soil, which will increase the pH. However, be careful to maintain the pH below 6.4, or the plant may be affected adversely. A pH between 6.0 and 6.3 is usually ideal for reducing aluminum absorption. Fertilize the plant with a suitable high phosphorus fertilizer. High levels of phosphorus also keep the plant from absorbing aluminum.
Step 4: Change Hydrangeas to Blue
It is usually easier to change hydrangeas to blue, because all you have to do is increase the aluminum content in the soil. This can be done as easily as adding some aluminum nails in the soil surrounding the hydrangea plant. Adding organic material such as compost is also beneficial in lowering pH levels, thereby increasing absorption of aluminum. You can also lower the pH by applying aluminum sulfate, at a ratio of 1 tbp. per gallon of water. However, this method is only suitable for established plants. Use the solution sparingly, to avoid burned roots. Halve the concentration if you have a potted plant. Use a fertilizer that is low in phosphorus.
Step 5: Maintain the Required Conditions
If you have planted your hydrangeas in the soil, you must regularly check the soil pH and provide the plant the appropriate nutrients, so that it will maintain the desired color. Never water the plants with treated water, as it may alter the pH and undo all your hard work.