We inherited two Hydrangea macrophyllas when we bought our house.
Both had been here since the house was built in 1992 and were doing well. But, unfortunately for my taste, one was pink and the other white.
I longed for a true blue Hydrangea…you know, the kind you see by the dozen at the Jersey shore! I had never tried to grow one in the Hudson Valley as everyone said it was a losing battle. Hmmmm. I’m not too sure that was true.
Nevertheless, in my partly shaded courtyard I am the proud Mama to a pink and a white.
Do you know why they can be different colors? It depends on the pH of your soil: my soil is, obviously, high pH and thus has little or no aluminum. A soil with high amounts of aluminum (and low pH) will produce blue flowers.
This spring I decided to track my large, voluptuous, almost decadent, pink Hydrangea over time. Here are four time images:
I am thinking about trying to change the color to blue. Yes, it is easier, and possible , to change pink to blue and very difficult to do the reverse. But adding aluminum to the soil is tricky: too much and you risk burning the roots and you may get a year or two of some intermediate color. It might also be hard to maintain that blue depending on your natural soil. A container would be much easier to control, but this plant is huge so that is a no-go! There are many helpful articles out there, but take a look at this one.
I just found this picture taken when we bought the house in 2010! The plant looks just about the same only a bit larger now..
And, for the last two years I had NO FLOWERS AT ALL due to the cold winters. So last winter I covered the plants with a very light fabric for just that purpose. And it worked.
Here’s a shot I took this morning showing both original plants along the fence:
Tell us about your experiences with Hydrangea macrophyllas. Have you ever tried to change the color?
Libby, your hydrangeas are beautiful. I too have pink when blue would suit better, but I haven’t gotten around to adding aluminum.
I love them all! We just returned from Atlanta, Nikko Blue Hydrangeas were everywhere! Good luck with your project. Our lupines were in several colors when planted last year, they all came back blue!
Cindy: I see the Nikko Blue around my village, so it must certainly be my garden that is producing the pink. Frustrating. I hope to try this color change, but I am afraid they will look sort of gray for a few years until it really takes hold! We will see…
Look at that gorgeous shade of pink!! I’ve only grown Limelights and Annabelles. Lately I’m craving a blue hydrangea…..thinking of planting a couple in Maine. I’ve heard of gardeners changing the soil PH but I’ve never tried it. Seems like they have to do it frequently to maintain it?? Good luck. Keep us posted.
Hi Loi: Oh yes, I love the lacecap variety. So beautiful. Well, I’m running out of space in my gardens so have to hold off on that for a while! And the Annabelles take up too much room for me, but I love seeing them! Have a wonderful time up in (much cooler…) Maine!
PS – Also, I’ve recently fallen in love with the lacecap varieties. They are not as showy, but more delicate.
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Your hydrangeas are beautiful! We used to live in Oklahoma on a shady lot and we had lots of this type of hydrangea. They were pink but did not bloom consistently due to the cold winters. We had then, and also have now, Oak Leaf Hydrangeas which we love! They are large and a little unruly but so pretty.
So glad you shared this pretty post at the garden party. It’s nice to find your blog. :)
Hi Stacey: Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! I love the Oak Leaf but really don’t have room for them in my gardens; I have just about run out of space. Only areas I have left are the hot and very sunny and dry ones…not good for hydrangeas. Hope to see you back soon; I post about flowers and gardens each Friday.
Hello everybody. What a beautiful sampling of your community and local area’s for all to enjoy. I’m pretty new at all this Blogging Stuff. So please bare with me. I so enjoyed reading each and every comment visitors were sharing about their impressions as well. Especially when it came to the Hydrangeas. I must admit. It did cross my mind a few times that I was beginning to feel like a fly buzzing about. Listening to all of you discussing the beauty, diversity and overall passion each homeowner expressed in their selections of materials of the planting material to the hard scape and even the placement of furniture. I actually chuckled to myself a few times that it was alright to be reading your conversations. And even now telling myself that it’s even okay to be sharing my comment as well. Thank you all. I sincerely enjoyed it. Have a lovely day. Janine kistler Walker.
Janine: Thank you for visiting and commenting! Glad you have enjoyed all the buzz about hydrangeas!!
Love Hydrangeas, but neither the pretty pink or blue do well here. We have to stick to varieties like Limelight, Annabelle, etc. I usually buy one each spring and enjoy it in a pot. I love both the pink and the blue! I would enjoy as is, rather than risk losing it. Thanks for sharing with the garden party.
I find this so interesting since you deal with harsh Winter’s and I have harsh Summers.
Your hydrangeas are glorious!
You won’t believe what I have done to protect mine from the sun-I built a little tent out of some sheets and used rebar as the frame!
Thank you for sharing this with us. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to hydrangeas so yours are there now!
I love this post. I have been struggling to grow hydrangeas for over a year. You have given me hope. Your post was truly like a lovely rose.Thank you for linking up to the garden party.
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